Project: Webinterface II - (Fidonet) Messagepacket Structure: QWK

AMBROSIA60-Portal  Webinterface II Project

                         QWK Mail Packet File Layout
                              by Patrick Y. Lee

Version 1.0 - February 23, 1992
     First release.
Version 1.1 - March 15, 1992
     Minor fixes here and there to make everything just right.
Version 1.2 - May 31, 1992
     Added a few items to the DOOR.ID file that is being supported by Qmail
     DeLuxeż version 1.25.
Version 1.3 - July 6, 1992
     Added changes to the QWK format adopted by Qmail door.  Specifically
     line 10 of CONTROL.DAT file and bytes 126-127 of MESSAGES.DAT file. 
     Please refer to the appropriate section for the changes.

This document is Copyright 1992 by Patrick Y. Lee.

The QWK-format is Copyright 1987 by Sparkware.

All program names mentioned in this document are either Copyright or Trade-
mark of respective owner(s).

The author provides this file as-is without warranty of any kind, either
expressed or implied.  You are using the information in this file at your
own discretion.  The author assumes no responsibilities for damages, either
physically or financially, from the use of this information.

This document may be freely distributed by any means (electronically, pa-
per, etc.), provided that it is distributed in its entirety.  Portions of
this document may be reproduced without credit.

                              Table of Contents

1.  Introduction
    1.1.  Intent
    1.2.  History
    1.3.  Questions, corrections, etc.
2.  Conventions & overview
    2.1.  The BBS ID
    2.2.  Packet compression
    2.3.  Packet transfer & protocols
    2.4.  Limitations
3.  QWK files
    3.1.  Naming convention
    3.2.  Control file (CONTROL.DAT)
    3.3.  Welcome file
    3.4.  Goodbye file
    3.5.  News file
    3.6.  Qmail DeLuxeż menu file
    3.7.  New uploads listing (NEWFILES.DAT)
    3.8.  Bulletin file(s) (BLT-x.y)
    3.9.  Message file (MESSAGES.DAT)
    3.10.  Index files (*.NDX)
        3.10.1.  Conference indices
        3.10.2.  Personal index (PERSONAL.NDX)
    3.11.  Pointer file
    3.12.  SESSION.TXT
4.  REP files
    4.1.  Naming convention
    4.2.  Message file (BBSID.MSG)
    4.3.  Door control messages
    4.3.1.  DOOR.ID file
    4.3.2.  Qmail
    4.3.3.  MarkMail
    4.3.4.  KMail
    4.3.5.  RoseMail
    4.3.6.  Complete Mail Door
    4.4.  Turning off the echo flag
    4.5.  Tag-lines
5.  Net mail
A.  Credits & contributions
B.  Sample Turbo Pascal and C code
C.  Sample message
D.  Sample index file


To search for a specific section, look for "[x.x]" using your editor or
viewer.  For example, to jump to the tag-lines portion of this file, search
for "[4.5]" with your editor or text viewer.


[1]  Introduction

[1.1]  Intent

This document is written to facilitate programmers who want to write
QWK-format mail doors or readers.  It is intended to be a comprehen-
sive reference covering all areas of QWK-format mail processing. 
Detailed break down of each file is included, as are implementation
information.  In addition, door and reader specific information may be
included, when such information are available to me.

[1.2]  History

The QWK-format was invented by Mark "Sparky" Herring in 1987.  It was
based on Clark Development Corporation's PCBoard version 12.0 message
base format.  Off-line mail reading has become popular only in recent
years.  Prior to summer of 1990, there were only two QWK-format off-
line mail reader programs.  They were Qmail DeLuxe by Mark Herring and
EZ-Reader by Eric Cockrell.  Similarly for the doors, there were only
two -- Qmail by Mark Herring and MarkMail by Mark Turner.  They were
both for PCBoard systems.

A lot has changed in both off-line reader and mail door markets since
summer 1990.  Now, there are more than a dozen off-line mail readers
for the PC.  Readers for the Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari exist as
well.  There are over a half dozen doors for PCBoard, and QWK-format
doors exist for virtually all of the popular BBS softwares.  All of
these happened in less than two years!  More readers and doors are in
development as I write this, keep up the excellent work.  In addition
to doors, some BBS softwares has QWK-format mail facility built in.

Off-line mail reading is an integral part of BBS calling.  Conference
traffic and selection on all networks have grown dramatically in re-
cent years that on-line reading is a thing of the past.  Off-line mail
reading offers an alternative to reading mail on-line -- It offers
speed that cannot be achieved with on-line mail reading.

The reason why QWK-format readers and doors seem to have gained popu-
larity is probably dued to its openness.  The format is readily avail-
able to any programmer who wishes to write a program that utilize it. 
Proprietary is a thing of the past, it does not work!  Openness is
here to stay and QWK-format is a part of it.

[1.3]  Questions, corrections, etc.

Most of the message networks today have a conference/echo devoted to
discussion of off-line readers and mail doors.  The ones I know are on
FidoNet, ILink, Intelec, and RIME.  If you have questions after read-
ing anything in here, feel free to drop by any of the above conference
/echo and I am sure other QWK authors will try to help.

I can be reached in the Off-line conferences on RIME, ILink, and In-
telec, as well as the Common conference on RIME.  Mail can be routed
to node RUNNINGB.  I can be reached on the Internet at
"".  Any corrections, extensions, comments, and
criticisms are welcomed.

[2]  Conventions & overview

All offsets referenced in this document will be relative to 1.  I am
not a computer, I start counting at one, not zero!

Words which are enclosed in quotes should be entered as-is.  The quota-
tions are not part of the string unless noted.

You may have noticed I use the phrase "mail program" or "mail facili-
ty" instead of mail doors.  This is because some BBS softwares offer
the option of creating QWK-format mail packets right from the BBS. 
With those, there is no need for an external mail door.

[2.1]  The BBS ID

The BBS ID (denoted as BBSID) is a 1-8 characters word that identifies
a particular BBS.  This identifier should be obtained from line 5 of
the CONTROL.DAT file (see section 3.2.1).

[2.2]  Packet compression

Most mail packets are compressed when created by the mail door in
order to save download time and disk space.  However, many off-line
reader programs allow the user to unarchive a mail packet outside of
the reader program, so the reader will not have to unarchive it.  Upon
exit, the reader will not call the archiver to save it.  It is up to
the user to archive the replies.  This is useful if the user has limit-
ed memory and cannot shell out to DOS to run the unarchive program. 
For readers based on non-PC equipment, the user may be using less
common compression program that does not have command line equivalent.

[2.3]  Packet transfer & protocols

There is no set rule on what transfer protocol should be used.  Howev-
er, it would be nice for the mail program on the BBS to provide the
Sysop with options as to what to offer.  This should be a configura-
tion option for the user.

[2.4]  Specifications & limitations

There aren't many known limits in the QWK specification.  However,
various networks seem to impose artificial limits.  On many of the PC-
based networks, 99-lines appears to be the upper limit for some soft-
wares.  However, most of the readers can handle more than that.  Read-
er authors reading this may want to offer the option to split replies
into n lines each (the actual length should be user definable so when
the network software permits, the user can increase this number).

[3]  QWK files

[3.1]  Naming convention

Generally, the name of the mail packet is BBSID.QWK.  However, this
does not have to be the case.  When the user downloads more than one
mail packet at one time, either the mail program or the transfer proto-
col program will rename the second and subsequent mail packets to
other names.  They will either change the file extension or add a
number to the end of the filename.  In either case, you should not
rely on the name of the QWK file as the BBSID.  The BBSID, as men-
tioned before, should be obtained from line 5 of the CONTROL.DAT file. 
In addition, mail packets do not have to end with QWK extension ei-
ther.  The user may choose to name them with other file extensions.

[3.2]  Control file (CONTROL.DAT)

The CONTROL.DAT file is a simple ASCII file.  Each line is terminated
with a carriage return and line feed combination.  All lines should
start on the first column.

Line #
 1   My BBS                   BBS name
 2   New York, NY             BBS city and state
 3   212-555-1212             BBS phone number
 4   John Doe, Sysop          BBS Sysop name
 5   20052,MYBBS              Mail door registration #, BBSID
 6   01-01-1991,23:59:59      Mail packet creation time
 7   JANE DOE                 User name (upper case)
 8                            Name of menu for Qmail, blank if none
 9   0                        ? Seem to be always zero
10   999                      Total number of messages in packet
11   121                      Total number of conference minus 1
12   0                        1st conf. number
13   Main Board               1st conf. name (13 characters or less)
14   1                        2nd conf. number
15   General                  2nd conf. name
..   3                        etc. onward until it hits max. conf.
..   123                      Last conf. number
..   Amiga_I                  Last conf. name
..   HELLO                    Welcome screen file
..   NEWS                     BBS news file
..   SCRIPT0                  Log off screen

Some mail doors, such as MarkMail, will send additional information
about the user from here on.

0                             ?
25                            Screen length on the BBS
JANE DOE                      User name in uppercase
Jane                          User first name in mixed case
NEW YORK, NY                  User city information
718 555-1212                  User data phone number
718 555-1212                  User home phone number
108                           Security level
00-00-00                      Expiration date
01-01-91                      Last log on date
23:59                         Last log on time
999                           Log on count
0                             Current conference number on the BBS
0                             Total KB downloaded
999                           Download count
0                             Total KB uploaded
999                           Upload count
999                           Minutes per day
999                           Minutes remaining today
999                           Minutes used this call
32767                         Max. download KB per day
32767                         Remaining KB today
0                             KB downloaded today
23:59                         Current time on BBS
01-01-91                      Current date on BBS
My BBS                        BBS network tag-line
0                             ?

Some mail doors will offer the option of sending an abbreviated con-
ference list.  That means the list will contain only conferences the
user has selected.  This is done because some mail readers cannot
handle more than n conferences at this time.  Users using those read-
ers will need this option if the BBS they call have too many confer-

[3.3]  Welcome file

This file usually contains the log on screen from the BBS.  The exact
filename is specified in the CONTROL.DAT file, after the conference
list.  This file may be in any format the Sysop chooses it be -- usu-
ally either in plain ASCII or with ANSI screen control code.  Some
Sysops (notably PCBoard Sysops) may use BBS-specific color change code
in this file as well.  Current mail programs seem to handle the trans-
lations between BBS-specific code to ANSI based screen control codes.

Even if the CONTROL.DAT file contains the filename of this file, it
may not actually exist in the mail packet.  Sometimes, users will
manually delete this file before entering the mail reader.  Some off-
line readers offer the option to not display this welcome screen; some
will display this file regardless.  Some doors, similarly, will offer
option to the user to not send this file.

[3.4]  Goodbye file

Similar to the welcome file above, the filename to the goodbye file is
in the CONTROL.DAT file.  This is the file the BBS displays when the
user logs off the board.  It is optional, as always, to send this file
or to display it.

[3.5]  News file

Many mail doors offer the option to send the news file from the BBS. 
Most will only send this when it has been updated.  Like the welcome
and goodbye files, the filename to the news file is found in the CON-
TROL.DAT file.  It can be in any format the Sysop chooses, but usually
in either ASCII or ANSI.  Like the welcome screen, current mail facil-
ities seem to handle translation between BBS-specific control codes to
ANSI screen control codes.

[3.6]  Qmail DeLuxeż menu file

This file is of use only for Qmail DeLuxeż mail reader by Sparkware. 
The filename is found on line 8 of the CONTROL.DAT file.

[3.7]  New uploads listing (NEWFILES.DAT)

Most mail programs on the BBS will offer the option to scan new files
uploaded to the BBS.  The result is found in a file named
NEWFILES.DAT.  The mail program, if implementing this, should update
the last file scan field in the user's profile, if there is such a
field, as well as other information required by the BBS.  The mail
program should, of course, scan new files only in those areas the user
is allowed access.

[3.8]  Bulletin files (BLT-x.y)

Most mail programs will also offer the option to include updated bulle-
tin files found on the BBS in the mail packet.  The bulletins are
named BLT-x.y, where x is the conference/echo the bulletin came from,
and y the bulletin's actual number.  The mail program will have to
take care of updating the last read date on the bulletins in the user

[3.9]  Message file (MESSAGES.DAT)

The MESSAGES.DAT file is the most important.  This is where all of the
messages are contained in.  The QWK file format is based on PCBoard
12.0 message base format from Clark Development Corporation (maker of
PCBoard BBS software).

The file has a logical record length of 128-bytes.  The first record
of MESSAGES.DAT always contain a copyright notice saying "Produced by
Qmail...Copyright (c) 1987 by Sparkware.  All Rights Reserved".  The
rest of the record is space filled.  Actual messages consist of a 128-
bytes header, plus one or more 128-bytes block with the message text. 
Actual messages start in record 2.  The header block is layed out as

Offset  Length  Description
------  ------  ----------------------------------------------------   
    1       1   Message status flag (unsigned character)
                ' ' = public, unread
                '-' = public, read
                '+' = private, unread
                '*' = private, read
                '~' = comment to Sysop, unread
                '`' = comment to Sysop, read
                '%' = password protected, unread
                '^' = password protected, read
                '!' = group password, unread
                '#' = group password, read
                '$' = group password to all
    2       7   Message number (in ASCII)
    9       8   Date (mm-dd-yy, in ASCII)
   17       5   Time (24 hour hh:mm, in ASCII)
   22      25   To (uppercase, left justified)
   47      25   From (uppercase, left justified)
   72      25   Subject of message (mixed case)
   97      12   Password (space filled)
  109       8   Reference message number (in ASCII)
  117       6   Number of 128-bytes blocks in message (including the
                header, in ASCII; the lowest value should be 2, header
                plus one block message; this number may not be left
                flushed within the field)
  123       1   Flag (ASCII 225 means message is active; ASCII 226
                means this message is to be killed)
  124       2   Conference number (unsigned word)
  126       2   Logical message number in the current packet; i.e.
                this number will be 1 for the first message, 2 for the
                second, and so on. (unsigned word)
  128       1   Indicates whether the message has a network tag-line
                or not.  A value of '*' indicates that a network tag-
                line is present; a value of ' ' (space) indicates
                there isn't one.  Messages sent to readers (non-net-
                status) generally leave this as a space.  Only network
                softwares need this information.

Fields such as To, From, Subject, Message #, Reference #, and the like
are space padded if they are shorter than the field's length.

The message text starts in the next record.  You can find out how many
blocks make up one message by looking at the value of "Number of 128
byte blocks".  Instead of carriage return and line feed combination,
each line in the message end with an ASCII 227 (pi character) symbol. 
There are reports that some (buggy) readers have problems with messag-
es which do not end the last line in the message with an ASCII 227. 
If a message does not completely occupy the 128-bytes block, the re-
mainder of the block is padded with space or null.

Note that there seems to exist old doors which will use one byte to
represent the conference number and pad the other one with an ASCII 32
character.  The program reading this information will have to deter-
mine whether the ASCII 32 in byte 125 of the header is a filler or
part of the unsigned word.  One method is to look in the CONTROL.DAT
file to determine the highest conference number.

Even though most mail programs will generate MESSAGES.DAT files that
appear in conference order, this is not always the case.  Tomcat!
(mail door for Wildcat! BBS) generates MESSAGES.DAT that is not in
conference order.  This is due to how Wildcat! itself stores mail on
the BBS.

Note that some mail doors offer the option of sending a mail packet
even though there may be no messages to send -- thus an empty
MESSAGES.DAT file.  This was tested with Qmail 4.0 door and it sent a
MESSAGES.DAT file that contains a few empty 128-bytes blocks.  Other
mail doors seem to be able to produce QWK files without the MESSAG-
ES.DAT file at all!  Apparently, there was no standard established in
this procedure.

[3.10]  Index files (*.NDX)

[3.10.1]  Conference indices

The index files contain a list of pointers pointing to the beginning
of messages in the MESSAGES.DAT file.  The pointer is in terms of the
128-bytes block logical record that the MESSAGES.DAT file is in.  Each
conference has its own xxx.NDX file, where xxx is the conference num-
ber left padded with zeroes.  Some mail programs offer the user the
option to not generate index files.  So the mail readers need to cre-
ate the index files if they are missing.

EZ-Reader 1.xx versions will convert the NDX files from Microsoft MKS
format into IEEE long integer format.  The bad part about this is that
the user may store those index files back into the QWK file.  When
another reader reads the index files, it will be very confused!

Special note for BBSes with more than 999 conferences: Index files for
conferences with four digit conference numbers is named xxxx.NDX,
where xxxx is the conference number (left padded with zeroes).  The
filenames for three digit conferences are still named xxx.NDX on these
boards.  I would assume filenames for conferences in the five digit
range is xxxxx.NDX, but I have not seen a BBS with 10,000 or more
conferences yet!

Each NDX file uses a five bytes logical record length and is formatted

Offset  Length  Description
------  ------  ------------------------------------------------------
    1       4   Record number pointing to corresponding message in
                MESSAGES.DAT.  This number is in the Microsoft MKS$
                BASIC format.
    5       1   Conference number of the message.  This byte should
                not be used because it duplicates both the filename of
                the index file and the conference # in the header.  It
                is also one byte long, which is insufficient to handle
                conferences over 255.

Please refer to appendix B for routines to deal with MKS numbers.

[3.10.2]  Personal index (PERSONAL.NDX)

There is a special index file named PERSONAL.NDX.  This file contains
pointers to messages which are addressed to the user, i.e. personal
messages.  Some mail door and utility programs also allow the selec-
tion of other messages to be flagged as personal messages.

[3.11]  Pointer file

Pointer file is generally included so that the user can reset the last
read pointers on the mail program, in case there is a crash on the BBS
or some other mishaps.  There should be little reason for the reader
program to access the pointer file.

The pointer files I have seen are:

Qmail          BBSID.PTR
MarkMail       BBSID.PNT
KMail          BBSID.PNT
SFMailQwk      BBSID.SFP

Additions to this list are welcomed.


This file, if included, will contain the message scanning screen the
user sees from the door.

[4]  REP files

[4.1]  Naming convention

The reply file is named BBSID.MSG, where BBSID is the ID code for the
BBS found on line 5 of the CONTROL.DAT file.  Once this file has been
created, the mail reader can archive it up into a file with REP exten-

[4.2]  Message file (BBSID.MSG)

Replies use the same format as the MESSAGES.DAT file, except that
message number field will contain the conference number instead.  In
other words, the conference number will be placed in the two bytes
(binary) starting at offset 124, as well as the message number field
(ASCII) at offset 2.

The first 128-bytes record of the file is the header.  Instead of the
copyright notice, it contains the BBSID of the BBS.  This 1-8 charac-
ter BBSID must start at the very first byte and must match what the
BBS has.  The rest of the record is space padded.  The replies start
at record 2.  Each reply message will have a 128-bytes header, plus
one or more for the message text; followed by another header, and so

The mail program must check to make sure the BBSID in the first block
of the BBSID.MSG file matches what the BBS has!

[4.3]  Door control messages

These messages allow the user to change their setup on the BBS by
simply entering a message.  The goal is to allow the user to be able
to control most areas of the BBS via the mail door.  Different mail
doors have different capabilities.  Most all of them offer the ability
to add and drop a conference, as well as reset the last read pointers
in a conference.

[4.3.1]  DOOR.ID file

The DOOR.ID file was first introduced by Greg Hewgill with Tomcat!
mail door and SLMR mail reader.  Since then, many other authors have
picked up this idea and use the format.  This file provides the neces-
sary identifiers a reader needs to send add, drop, etc. messages to
the mail door.  It tells the reader who to address the message to and
what can be put in the subject line.

DOOR = <doorname>             This is the name of the door that creat-
                              ed the QWK packet, i.e. <doorname> =
VERSION = <doorversion>       This is the version number of the door
                              that created the packet, i.e.
                              <doorversion> = 2.9.
SYSTEM = <systemtype>         This is the underlying BBS system type
                              and version, i.e. <systemtype> = Wildcat
CONTROLNAME = <controlname>   This is the name to which the reader
                              should send control messages, eg.
                              <controlname> = TOMCAT.
CONTROLTYPE = <controltype>   This can be one of ADD, DROP, REQUEST,
                              or others.  ADD and DROP are pretty
                              obvious (they work as in MarkMail), and
                              REQUEST is for use with BBS systems that
                              support file attachments.  Try out SLMR
                              with CONTROLTYPE = REQUEST and use the Q
                              function.  (This seems to be a Wildcat!
                              BBS feature.)
RECEIPT                       This flag indicates that the door/BBS is
                              capable of return receipts when a mes-
                              sage is received.  If the first three
                              letters of the subject are RRR, then the
                              door should strip the RRR and set the
                              'return-receipt-requested' flag on the
                              corresponding message.
MIXEDCASE = YES               If this line is found then the reader
                              will let you use upper and lower case
                              names and subjects.  This is first found
                              in Qmail DeLuxeż 1.25 version.  Most
                              other QWK readers permit the use of
                              mixed case subject lines but force the
                              names to upper case only.
FIDOTAG = YES                 If this line is found then the reader
                              will automatically use FidoNet compliant

None of the lines are actually required and they may appear in any
order.  Of course, you would need a CONTROLNAME if you have any

[4.3.2]  Qmail

Send a message addressed to "QMAIL" with a subject of "CONFIG".  Then,
enter any of the commands listed below inside the text of your mes-
sage.  Remember to use one command per line.

ADD <confnum>            Add a conference into the Qmail Door scanning
                         list.  "YOURS" can also be added to the com-
                         mand if the user wishes to receive messages
                         only addressed them.  i.e. "ADD 1 YOURS"
DROP <confnum>           Drop a conference from the Qmail Door scan-
                         ning list.
RESET <confnum> <value>  Resets a conference to a particular value.
                         The user can use "HIGH-xxx" to set the confer-
                         ence to the highest message in the base.
CITY <value>             Changes the "city" field in the user's
                         PCBoard entry.
PASSWORD <value>         Changes the user's login password.
BPHONE <value>           Business/data phone number
HPHONE <value>           Home/voice phone number
PCBEXPERT <on|off>       Turns the PCBoard expert mode ON or OFF.
PCBPROT <value>          PCBoard file transfer protocol (A-Z).
PAGELEN <value>          Set page length inside PCBoard.
PCBCOMMENT <value>       Set user maintained comment.
AUTOSTART <value>        Qmail Door autostart command.
PROTOCOL <value>         Qmail Door file transfer protocol (A-Z).
EXPERT <ON or OFF>       Turns the Qmail Door expert mode ON or OFF.
MAXSIZE <value>          Maximum size of the user's .QWK packet (in
MAXNUMBER <value>        Maximum number of messages per conference.

[4.3.3]  MarkMail

Send a message addressed to "MARKMAIL" with the subject line saying:

ADD [value]         in the conference you want to add
DROP                in the conference you want to drop
YOUR [value]        in the conference you want only your mail sent
YA [value]          in the conference you want only your mail + mail
                    addressed to "ALL"
FILES ON or OFF     in any conference to tell MarkMail whether to scan
                    for new files or not.
BLTS ON or OFF      to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
OWN ON or OFF       to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
                    messages you sent
DELUXE ON or OFF    to turn on and off, respectively, of receiving
                    DeLuxe menu
LIMIT <size>        to set the maximum size of MESSAGES.DAT file can
                    be, it cannot exceed what the Sysop has set up

An optional number can be added onto the commands "ADD", "YOUR", and
"YA".  If this number is positive, then it will be treated as an abso-
lute message number.  MarkMail will set your last read pointer to that
number.  If it is negative, MarkMail will set your last read pointer
to the highest minus that number.  For example: "ADD -50" will add the
conference and set the last read pointer to the highest in the confer-
ence minus 50.

[4.3.4]  KMail

Send a private message addressed to "KMAIL" in the conference that you
want to add, drop, or reset.  The commands are "ADD", "DROP", and
"RESET #", respectively.  The "#" is the message number you want your
last read pointer in the conference be set to.

[4.3.5]  RoseMail

The RoseMail door allows configuration information be placed in either
the subject line or message text.  The message must be addressed to
"ROSEMAIL".  For only one command, it can be placed in the subject
line.  For more than one changes, the subject line must say "CONFIG"
and each change be placed in the message text.  Every line should be
left justified.  Valid commands are:

Command                                           Example
ADD <Conference> [<Message #>] [<Yours>]          ADD 2 -3 Y
DROP <Conference>                                 DROP 2
RESET <Conference> <Message #>                    RESET 12 5000
PCBEXPERT <ON | OFF> - PCBoard expert mode        PCBEXPERT ON
EXPERT <ON | OFF>    - RoseMail expert mode       EXPERT OFF
PCBPROT <A - Z>      - PCBoard protocol           PCBPROT Z
PROT <A - Z>         - RoseMail protocol          PROT G
PAGELEN <Number>     - Page length                PAGELEN 20
MAXSIZE <Kbytes>     - Max packet size in Kb      MAXSIZE 100
MAXNUMBER <max msgs/conference>                   MAXNUMBER 100
JUMPSTART <Sequence or OFF>                       JUMPSTART D;Y;Q
MAXPACKET <max msgs/packet>                       MAXPACKET 500
AUTOSTART <Sequence or OFF> - same as jumpstart   AUTOSTART OFF
OPT <##> <ON | OFF>  - set door option            OPT 2 OFF

[4.3.6]  Complete Mail Door

Send message to "CMPMAIL", the commands are "ADD" and "DROP".  This
message must be sent in the conference that you want to add or drop.

[4.4]  Turning off the echo flag

In order to send a non-echoed message (not send out to other BBSes), a
user can enter "NE:" in front of the subject line.  The mail program
will strip this "NE:" and turn off the echo flag.  This feature may
not be offered in all mail doors.

[4.5]  Tag-lines

The most common format for a reader tag-line is:

 ž My reader v1.00 ž The rest of the tag-line.

The three dashes is called a tear-line.  The tag-line is appended to
the end of the message and is usually one line only.  It is preferred
that tag-lines conform to this format so that networking softwares
such as QNet and RNet will not add another tearline to the message
when they process it.

Softwares on FidoNet does not like mail readers adding a tear-line of
their own, so if your mail reader offers a FidoNet mode, you will need
to get rid of the tear-line.  Another item which differs between the
FidoNet and PC-based networks is that FidoNet does not like extended
ASCII characters.  So your reader may want to strip high ASCII if the
user has FidoNet mode on.  Acceptable tag-line style, I believe, is
just this:

 * My Reader v1.00 * The rest of the tag-line.

[5]  Net mail

I do not have complete information of net-mail implementation using
QWK-format.  Someone please fill me in the details.


[A]  Credits and Contributions

Mark "Sparky" Herring, who originated the QWK-format.

Tim Farley, who started this documentation back in the summer of 1990. 
The general outline here is the work of Tim.  I filled in the blanks.

Jeffery Foy, who gave us the format for Microsoft single binary versus
IEEE format.

Greg Hewgill, who (if I remember correctly) wrote the Turbo Pascal
routines (included in here) to convert between MKS and TP LongInt.

Dennis McCunney, who is the host of the Off-line conference on RIME,
is very knowledgeable in off-line reading concept and programs.  His
goal is to have one reader that can read mail packet from any source.

All those who have been around the Off-line conferences on ILink (the
oldest of the three I participate), RIME, and Intelec, who have provid-
ed great help over the past two years.  The bulk of the information
presented here are from messages in those conferences.  These people
include, but are no limited to, the followings: Dane Beko, Joseph
Carnage, Marcos Della, Joey Lizzi, Mark May, and Jim Smith.

[B]  Sample Turbo Pascal and C code

Here are a few routines in Turbo Pascal and C to convert Microsoft
BASIC MKS format to usable IEEE long integer.  These are collected
over the networks and there is no guarantee that they will work for

Turbo Pascal (Greg Hewgill ?):

     bsingle = array [0..3] of byte;

{ converts TP real to Microsoft 4 bytes single }

procedure real_to_msb (preal : real; var b : bsingle);
     r : array [0 .. 5] of byte absolute preal;
     b [3] := r [0];
     move (r [3], b [0], 3);
end; { procedure real_to_msb }

{ converts Microsoft 4 bytes single to TP real }

function msb_to_real (b : bsingle) : real;
     preal : real;
     r : array [0..5] of byte absolute preal;
     r [0] := b [3];
     r [1] := 0;
     r [2] := 0;
     move (b [0], r [3], 3);
     msb_to_real := preal;
end; { procedure msb_to_real }

Another Turbo Pascal routine to convert Microsoft single to TP LongInt
(Marcos Della):

index := ((mssingle and not $ff000000) or $00800000) shr (24 -
((mssingle shr 24) and $7f)) - 1;

C (identify yourself if you originated this routine):

/* converts 4 bytes Microsoft MKS format to long integer */

unsigned long mbf_to_int (m1, m2, m3, exp)
unsigned int m1, m2, m3, exp;
     return (((m1 + ((unsigned long) m2 << 8) + ((unsigned long) m3 <<
     16)) | 0x800000L) >> (24 - (exp - 0x80)));

Microsoft binary (by Jeffery Foy):

   31 - 24    23     22 - 0        <-- bit position
| exponent | sign | mantissa |

IEEE (C/Pascal/etc.):

   31     30 - 23    22 - 0        <-- bit position
| sign | exponent | mantissa |

In both cases, the sign is one bit, the exponent is 8 bits, and the
mantissa is 23 bits.  You can write your own, optimized, routine to
convert between the two formats using the above bit layout.

[C]  Sample message

Here is a sample message in hex and ASCII format:

019780  20 34 32 33 32 20 20 20 30 32 2D 31 35 2D 39 32   4232   02-15-92
019790  31 33 3A 34 35 52 49 43 48 41 52 44 20 42 4C 41  13:45RICHARD BLA
0197A0  43 4B 42 55 52 4E 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 53 54  CKBURN        ST
0197B0  45 56 45 20 43 4F 4C 45 54 54 49 20 20 20 20 20  EVE COLETTI     
0197C0  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 51 45 44 49 54 20 48 41 43         QEDIT HAC
0197D0  4B 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20  K               
0197E0  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 34 30 33 36              4036
0197F0  20 20 20 20 37 20 20 20 20 20 E1 0A 01 00 00 20      7     į
019800  2A 20 49 6E 20 61 20 6D 65 73 73 61 67 65 20 64  * In a message d
019810  61 74 65 64 20 30 32 2D 30 39 2D 39 32 20 74 6F  ated 02-09-92 to
019820  20 53 74 65 76 65 20 43 6F 6C 65 74 74 69 2C 20   Steve Coletti, 
019830  52 69 63 68 61 72 64 20 42 6C 61 63 6B 62 75 72  Richard Blackbur
019840  6E 20 73 61 69 64 3A E3 E3 52 42 3E 53 43 20 AF  n said:ććRB>SC Æ
019850  20 65 64 69 74 6F 72 20 69 6E 20 74 68 65 20 28   editor in the (
019860  6D 61 69 6E 66 72 61 6D 65 29 20 56 4D 2F 43 4D  mainframe) VM/CM
019870  53 20 70 72 6F 64 75 63 74 20 6C 69 6E 65 20 69  S product line i
[ etc. ]
019A00  6E 6F 74 20 61 20 44 6F 63 74 6F 72 2C 20 62 75  not a Doctor, bu
019A10  74 20 49 20 70 6C 61 79 20 6F 6E 65 20 61 74 20  t I play one at 
019A20  74 68 65 20 48 6F 73 70 69 74 61 6C 2E E3 20 20  the Hospital.ć  
019A30  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  
019A40  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  
019A50  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  
019A60  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  
019A70  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  
019A80  E3 50 43 52 65 6C 61 79 3A 4D 4F 4F 4E 44 4F 47  ćPCRelay:MOONDOG
019A90  20 2D 3E 20 23 33 35 20 52 65 6C 61 79 4E 65 74   -> #35 RelayNet
019AA0  20 28 74 6D 29 E3 34 2E 31 30 20 20 20 20 20 20   (tm)ć4.10      
019AB0  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 48 55 42 4D 4F 4F 4E           HUBMOON
019AC0  2D 4D 6F 6F 6E 44 6F 67 20 42 42 53 2C 20 42 72  -MoonDog BBS, Br
019AD0  6F 6F 6B 6C 79 6E 2C 4E 59 20 37 31 38 20 36 39  ooklyn,NY 718 69
019AE0  32 2D 32 34 39 38 E3 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20  2-2498ć         
019AF0  20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20                  

[D]  Sample index file

Here is a sample index file in hex format:

000000  00 00 28 87 19 00 00 30 87 19 00 00 38 87 19 00
000010  00 7E 87 19 00 00 07 88 19 00 00 0B 88 19 00 00
000020  0F 88 19 00 00 14 88 19 00 00 19 88 19 00 00 1E
000030  88 19 00 00 22 88 19 00 00 27 88 19 00 00 2C 88
000040  19 00 00 31 88 19 00 00 3B 88 19 00 00 40 88 19
000050  00 00 46 88 19 00 00 49 88 19 00 00 4D 88 19 00
000060  00 52 88 19 00 00 55 88 19 00 00 59 88 19 00 00
000070  60 88 19 00 00 66 88 19 00 00 70 88 19

© 2003-2024 by Ulrich Schroeter   01868