MBSE BBS FAQ and Howto.

Last updated 31-Jan-2005
Authors: P.E. Kimble aka King Kimerud            kimerud@bayhaus.org
         Michiel Broek                           2:280/2802
         Rick van Ruth                           3:640/954
	 David Gonzalez                          4:930/1


This FAQ is a work in progress. It is not complete, nor does its author claim that it is complete. This FAQ only answers questions pertaining to using MBSE BBS on your GNU/Linux box. It is a compilation of previous questions that Michiel Broek has recieved and answered from us newbies in getting MBSE up & running.

  1. Installation

    1. Why do I have to install MBSE in the /opt directory?
    2. What other operating systems will MBSE run on?
    3. Will MBSE ever be ported to DOS/Windows or OS/2?
    4. What does the quest switch in the bbs user setup mean?
    5. How do I monitor as the things happen?
    6. How do I start mbsebbs from inetd or xinetd?
    7. I just installed mbse, now I get a Socket send failed error 2

  2. Fidonet Setup

    1. The nodelist compiler crashes, why?
    2. What is the purpose of the "Comment" line in the tic area setup?
    3. How do I poll a node?
    4. I created a filerequest but mbcico doesn't call out.
    5. Does MBSE support fidonet via ftp feeds?
    6. The tosser and mbmsg program are slow, why?
    7. How can I use an external netmail tracker with MBSE?
    8. I am having problems with dates when unarchiving .arc files.

  3. Internet Setup

    1. Posting newsmessages to the newsserver fails.
    2. FTP fidonet feeds how-to.
    3. Polling a internet node fails
    4. Dialup script examples for MBSE
    5. BBS users cannot get their email on Debian

  4. BBS Setup

    1. How do I to set up MBSE for ISDN?
    2. How do I use GoldED together with MBSE?
    3. How do I use MsgEd together with MBSE?
    4. How do I adopt a directory full of files to the bbs?

  5. Doors Setup

    1. How do I run DOS doors under MBSE BBS?
    2. Dosemu compile tips
    3. Setting up for InterBBS games.
    4. Door Maintenance.

BackGo Back

1. Installation.

Q 1.1 Why do I have to install MBSE in the /opt directory?
A 1.1 The /opt is for extra applications, when mbse is installed there it is easier to upgrade the OS. If you insist on installing in /usr/local the choose /usr/local/mbse.

Q 1.2 What other operating systems will MBSE run on?
A 1.2 Currently only on most GNU/Linux distributions, FreeBSD and NetBSD. The author, Michiel Broek, has made a valiant effort ensuring that MBSE will recognize and install on the major distributions of GNU/Linux.

Q 1.3 Will MBSE BBS ever be ported to DOS/Windows or OS/2?
A 1.3 No.

Q 1.4 What does the guest switch in BBS user setup mean?
A 1.4 Nothing yet.

Q 1.5 How do I monitor as the things happen?
A 1.5 tail -f /opt/mbse/log/system.log or start mbmon.

Q 1.6 How to start mbsebbs from inetd or xinetd?
A 1.6 This is described in the documentation of the mblogin program.

Q 1.7 I just installed mbse, now I get a Socket send failed error 2.
A 1.7 With a normal system boot the mbtask daemon will be started by one of the systems init scripts. If you just installed mbse you need to do this for the first time manually. As user mbse issue the following commands:
mbstat open

This will start the daemon, the daemon creates the default databases. Then you can use mbsetup to configure your new system.

2. Fidonet setup.

Q 2.1 The nodelist compiler crashes, why?
A 2.1 Note: From previous experience, it is vital that you follow the docs closely. Also, ensure that you have a copy of a valid nodelist and nodediff file. I have ran into problems where either the noddiffs don't match the nodelist, the crc checks fail, or I have files from two different zones. I have even had to back up several months before finding a valid noddiff that would match the nodelist.

Q 2.2 What is the purpose of the "Comment" line in the tic area setup?
A 2.2 The downlinks will see this when receiving FileMgr replies. It is meant only as a description for the filearea.

Q 2.3 How do I poll a node?
A 2.3 mbout poll f2802.n280.z2

Q 2.4 I created a filerequest but mbcico doesn't call out.
A 2.4 You need to add a poll for that node to do the call.

Q 2.5 Does MBSE support fidonet via ftp transfers?
A 2.5 Yes, but only the passive side. Refer to 3.2.

Q 2.6 The tosser and mbmsg programs are slow, why?
A 2.6 Tossing mail and linking message areas are background tasks. When mbse was first developed the hardware was not fast enough to run these programs at full speed. The mailer could give CRC errors and the bbs seemed to stop now and then. To overcome this problem all programs started with the -quiet switch (background jobs) are stopping for short periods so that they would use less system resources. Systems with SCSI disks or other fast and well designed machines don't have a need for that slowdown. In mbsetup menu 1.5.17 is the setting for the speed of all utility programs, the default is slow. You might try this set to fast and see what happens on your system.

Q 2.7 How can I use an external netmail tracker with MBSE?
A 2.7 If the netmail tracker can work on .pkt files you could try to install it into mbfido. It can call a external program to process incoming .pkt files before mbfido does something with it. That option was built a few years ago for extra Y2K checks. (The pktdate program of Tobias Ernest).

Q 2.8 I am having problems with dates when unarchiving .arc files.
A 2.8 If you are experiencing a problem with the dates on arc files showing as January 1970 or similar when extracted using Arc v5.31 for linux then obtain "nomarch". MBSE will detect nomarch during configuration/install and set your archiver.data file accordingly. Nomarch extracts .arc files and keeps the original file date.

3. Internet setup.

Q 3.1 Posting newsmessages to the newsserver fails.
A 3.1 Check if you need the "mode reader" command for the newsserver. Set this flag in mbsetup 1.15.5

Q 3.2 How do I configure MBSE for my ftp filenet feeds?
A 3.2 Follow the next steps to setup your system for FTP clients.
  1. As root, add a new group to your system: groupadd bbsftp.
  2. Make sure there is a directory /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp. This directory should be owned by mbse, group bbs and have mode 0775.
  3. Add an invalid shell to /etc/shells, /usr/bin/false is good.
  4. Install an FTP server, the examples here are for ProFTPD.
  5. In /etc/proftpd.conf make sure there are the following lines:
    # Anonymous ftp and members of group bbsftp have a chroot environment.
    # DefaultRoot     ~ bbsftp
    This will make sure that users who are member of the bbsftp group have a chrooted directory structure for their ftp directories. Also make sure the line Umask 022 is changed to Umask 002.
  6. Add a username for the node you whish to give an FTP feed. Use the following as root:
    useradd -g bbs -G bbsftp -d /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username
        -s /usr/bin/false -c "FTP Account for username" -m username
    Note: this is one line! There will now be a user added and have a home directory of /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username. Make sure that directory has permission 0775 or 0770. Create in the username directory two other directories, inbound and outbound. They must be owned by the user and be a member of group bbs and have mode 0775. The modes 077x are needed because the user and mbse must be able to read and write to these directories.
  7. Try to login with ftp from some other system with the choosen username and his password and check the changes until now. You should not be able to escape from the directories of this user and you should be able to upload files, download and delete files. Check also if you uploaded a file if user mbse can delete that file and also put a file in the users ftp directory as user mbse, and check that you can download and delete is as ftp user.
  8. Make sure for the node you want to change there is no mail left in the outbound. Now start mbsetup, menu 7, open the setup of the node that will use ftp. In screen 3, items 7 and 8, set these to Directory. Now enter screen 8, here you will setup the directory session.
                Outbound settings
           1.   Files path      /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/outbound
           2.   Check for lock  Yes               3.   Wait clear lock Yes
           4.   Check lockfile  /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/lock.bsy
           5.   Create lock     Yes
           6.   Create lockfile /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/lock.bsy
                Inbound settings
           7.   Files path      /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/inbound
           8.   Check for lock  Yes               9.   Wait clear lock Yes
           10.  Check lockfile  /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/lock.bsy
           11.  Create lock     Yes
           12.  Create lockfile /opt/mbse/var/bbsftp/username/lock.bsy
    Save this and you are ready.
  9. A final note, since this user is in group bbs and not in the bbs userdatabase he can never telnet to your system with this account and get a shell. The user doesn't even have a valid shell.

Q 3.3 Polling a internet node fails.
A 3.3 There are several reasons why mbcico refuses to call an internet node, most problems are nodelist related. A internet node with binkp protocol should be listed with the flags CM,IBN before mbcico will make a call. Also, in the nodelist system name field there should be the hosts full qualified domainname so that mbcico can get that node's IP address. If one of these items are missing, the node will not be called. To correct this problem there are two options, make sure the node is listed with a dns name and proper flags in the nodelist. The second option is to add a setup record for that node and fill in the nodelist override fields. You can find these in menu 7.3, item 5 can be filled with the nodelist flags, ie. CM,IBN and item 6 can be used to give that node's fdn or IP address.

If the call still fails there are several things that must be right before mbcico makes any internet call. In mbmon, screen 2 (SERVER STATS) there are flags that indicate if the system is running, internet is available and the bbs is open. If one of these is No, then no call will be made. (For POTS the Internet flag does not matter of course).

In mbsetup, screen 18 (taskmanager), you need to set the maximum TCP sessions to allow. This is inbound and outbound together. So if you set this to 3 and 3 or more systems are already calling in via internet, your system will not call anymore until the amount of TCP sessions drops below 3.

If you set this to high on an average cable/adsl connection, you can get into trouble because you use up all upstream bandwidth. (We have seen a lot of errors at a busy when the upstream speed was 64K and downspeed 512K and about 4 sessions together). A good rule seems 1 TCP session for each 32K bandwidth.

Then turn in that same screen debug on. After a minute mbtask rereads his configuration.

Make a poll with mbout poll <node>.

Watch the mbtask logfile and see what it does for that node. It should be added to the calllist. If not, it might be still a nodelist problem.


Q 3.4 Dialup script examples for MBSE
A 3.4 Dialup Script using mclient:
# Dialup script for MBSE BBS.
# Copyright (C) 1997-2002
# Michiel Broek                FIDO:           2:280/2802
# Beekmansbos 10
# 1971 BV IJmuiden
# the Netherlands
# This file is part of MBSE BBS.
# This BBS is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
# under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
# Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any
# later version.
# MBSE BBS is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
# WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# General Public License for more details.
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with MBSE BBS; see the file COPYING.  If not, write to the Free
# Software Foundation, 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
# Enter commands to make the dialup connection and to hangup the connection.
DIALCMD="mclient -d -c DDS"
HANGUPCMD="mclient -k"
# Log to syslog
LOGGER="logger -p user.notice -t basename $0$$]"

if [ -z "$DIALCMD" ]; then
    echo "This script is not configured, edit this script to use it."
    exit 1

echo "Dial internet start" | $LOGGER
# Do 3 attempts to connect
connect=0; try=0;
while let 'connect == 0'
    # Count connect attepts
    let try=try+1
    if [ $try == 4 ]; then
        echo "No internet connection, giving up" | $LOGGER
        $HANGUPCMD >>/dev/null
        exit 1

    echo "Call attempt $try"    | $LOGGER
    $DIALCMD >>/dev/null
    while let 'i > 0' && let 'connect == 0'
        if [ -f $MBSE_ROOT/var/sema/is_inet ]; then
            echo "mbtask detected internet"     | $LOGGER
        let i=i-1
        sleep 1
    # Check if we have a connection
    if [ ! -f $MBSE_ROOT/var/sema/is_inet ]; then
        echo "Failed, 10 seconds pause ..."     | $LOGGER
        sleep 10

# Here we have a connection, now make all needed polls
$MBSE_ROOT/bin/mbout poll f5003.n280.z2 f19.n280.z2 -quiet

# Now we wait until the do_inet semafore appears, we
# timeout at 25 seconds, must be enough.
while let 'i > 0'
    if [ -f $MBSE_ROOT/var/sema/do_inet ]; then
        let i=i-1;
        sleep 1
        echo "wait do_inet $i"

# Now test until the do_inet semafore is gone.
# Timeout is one hour.
while let 'i > 0'
    if [ ! -f $MBSE_ROOT/var/sema/do_inet ]; then
        let i=i-1;
        sleep 1
        echo "wait ready $i"

echo "Internet sessions done, hangup"   | $LOGGER
$HANGUPCMD >>/dev/null
echo "Script ready"                     | $LOGGER
exit 0

Dialup Script using diald:

/ sbin:$PATH
cd /opt/mbse
if [ -f /opt/mbse/tmp/ip.up ] ; then
echo "up" > /var/run/diald.ctl
sleep 15

ping -c 10 -w 10 mail.iol.ie
if [ -e /var/run/ppp0.pid ]  ; then
        touch /opt/mbse/tmp/ip.up
   cd /opt/mbse
   echo "Fetching News"
   echo "Synching clock"
   telnet 9049
   bin/mbfido news
   echo "Fetching Mail"
   /usr/bin/fetchmail -f /opt/mbse/.fetchmailrc
        if [ ! 'cat /opt/mbse/irex/s/rexbusy.0 | xargs ps --no-header' ] ;
                rm /etc/ftn/irex/s/rexbusy.0

   fetchmail -f /opt/mbse/.fetchmailrc
   ./rexl -sf m

  echo down > /var/run/diald.ctl

  bin/bres.sh  # >> /dev/null 2>&1
rm /opt/mbse/tmp/ip.up

Q 3.5 BBS users cannot get their email on Debian
A 3.5 Debian Linux uses for normal users a security model with private user groups. The users of the bbs are all in group bbs. Some pop3 servers do not handle that situation well and don't show the email for bbs users that is delivered in /var/mail. If you choose to use qpopper it will work.

4. BBS setup.

Q 4.1 How to set up MBSE for ISDN.
A 4.1 Contributed by: J. Beekhuizen, 2:280/1018

Of course, you have to configure and build your kernel for ISDN support and the correct drivers for your card. It is beyond the scope of this document to explain how to do that.

To your /etc/inittab file add the following lines for your ISDN devices ttyI0 and ttyI1.

# ISDN lines
I1:23:respawn:/usr/local/sbin/mgetty -x 4 -i /opt/mbse/etc/issue ttyI0
I2:23:respawn:/usr/local/sbin/mgetty -x 4 -i /opt/mbse/etc/issue ttyI1
To your mgetty.config file [/usr/local/etc/mgetty_sendfax/mgetty.config on my system] set up the ttyI0 and ttyI1 ports. With AT&E you set the MSN/EAZ the device should listen to. This should for an MSN be your telephone number with the area code but without the leading 0. For an EAZ the last digit of your EAZ.

The ISDN ports

port ttyI0
modem-type data
init-chat "" ATZ OK
AT&E714015437&W0 OK 
AT&B512 OK

port ttyI1
modem-type data
init-chat "" ATZ OK 
AT&E714017198&W0 OK
AT&B512 OK
From the mbsetup menu #5 "Edit Modem types" configure the ISDN modem type.
	Modem type   ISDN Linux
	Init string  ATZ\r
	Init string
	Init string
	OK string    OK
	Hangup       \d\p\p\p+++\d\p\p\pATH0\r
	Info command ATI2\r
	Dial command ATD\T\r
	Connect      CONNECT 64000
	Connect      CONNECT
	Reset cmd    ATZ\r
	Error string BUSY
	Error string NO CARRIER
	Error string NO DIALTONE
	Error string NO ANSWER
	Error string RING\r
	Error string ERROR
	Error string
	Error string
	Error string
	Error string
	Cost offset  0
	EMSI speed   28800                   ! not relevant for ISDN
	Strip dashes No
	Available    Yes
And from #6 "Edit TTY lines info" the ISDN lines
	TTY name     ISDN Line 1
	Device name  ttyI0
	Phone or DNS 31-71-4015437
	Line speed   64 kbits
	Fido flags   CM,XA,MO,X75
	Equipment    ISDN
	Available    Yes
	Auth. log    No
	Honor ZMH    Yes
	Callout      Yes
	Modem type   ISDN Linux
	Locked speed 0                                 ! not relevant for ISDN
	EMSI name    The Wizard's ISDN line 1

	TTY name     ISDN Line 2
	Device name  ttyI1
	Phone or DNS 31-71-4017198
	Line speed   64 kbits
	Fido flags   CM,XA,MO,X75
	Equipment    ISDN
	Available    Yes
	Auth. log    No
	Honor ZMH    Yes
	Callout      Yes
	Modem type   ISDN Linux
	Locked speed 0
	EMSI name    The Wizard's ISDN line 2

T-t-that's all folks :))

Q 4.2 How do I use GoldED together with MBSE?
A 4.2 Since MBSE BBS version 0.33.12 GoldED and MBSE BBS can be used together without problems as long as you use it to read the sysop mail. The mbsetup program can export a file called /opt/mbse/etc/golded.inc which will contain your main Aka's, Aka matching, sysop name and all your mail areas. This file is only (re)created if you change the global settings or one of the mail areas. The first time you must force this by making a change somewhere.

Now create /opt/mbse/etc/golded.cfg, here is what I wrote:

; GoldED.cfg
; Internet Addressing
INTERNETADDRESS Michiel_Broek@f2802.n280.z2.fidonet.org
OUTBOUNDPATH /opt/mbse/var/bso/outbound
INCLUDE /opt/mbse/etc/golded.inc
; The end.
Put in /opt/mbse/.profile the following line: export GOLDED=$HOME/etc

When you now start GoldED you use it as the sysop. Make sure that the sysop's userrecord is the first user in the MBSE BBS userbase. If not, the lastread pointers are not right. The GoldED nodelist compiler can be added to the setup in menu 18.


Q 4.3 How do I use MsgEd together with MBSE?
A 4.3 Since MBSE BBS version 0.35.05 MsgEd and MBSE BBS can be used together without problems as long as you use it to read the sysop mail. The mbsetup program can export a file called /opt/mbse/etc/msg.txt which will contain your mail areas setup. This file is only (re)created if you change the global settings or one of the mail areas. The first time you must force this by making a change somewhere.
Q 4.4 How do I adopt (batch upload) a directory full of files to my BBS'es file base?
A 4.4 Written by: Russell Tiedt.

Easy using the script below, provided the file archives (*.zip, *.rar, *.arc, *.lha, etc.) all contain "file_id.diz" files.

Sort the files in tempory directries that correspond to the filebase area, ie. /dos4 (DOS files - filebase area no 4)

Then copy the script below to the directory, edit the number of the filebase that the files must be batch uploaded to, to the number that corresponds to the required filebase. (On my BBS system the DOS file section corresponds to the number 4, hence the name above for the tempory directory used above) I copy all files to be batch uploaded to the DOS file section, to the /dos4 directory, copy the script below to the /dos4 directory, edit the script so that it uploads to the DOS filebase (4) and run it.

for file in `ls` ; do
  mbfile adopt 4 $file "Dummy description"
NOTE: the 4 in the script above, indicates the filebase/filearea that the files will be batch uploaded to. For archives that have/contain a file_id.diz file, "Dummy description" will be replaced with the content of the "file_id.diz file of that archive, if no file_id.diz exists in the archive, then "Dummy descrition" will appear in the description field of the files.bbs file for the file area it gets uploaded to.

If the files don't have/contain file_id.diz files, then create and insert in the archive, a file_id.diz file having a suitable description of the content of the archive, then follow the instructions above.

For *.exe and *.com files, as well as other files that are not archived ie. in *.zip/*.rar/*.arc/*.lha/*.lhz/*.zoo etc. Create a file_id.diz file for the file, then make an archive using the archiver of your choice containing the file and the file_id.diz you created for it, then follow the instructions above.


5. Doors setup.

Q 5.1 How do I run DOS doors under MBSE BBS?
A 5.1
Written by: Redy Rodriguez, sysop of Parolas BBS 2:348/609
Fidonet:    Redy rodriguez 2:348/609
Email:      redy@users.sourceforge.net

Note: the next method is obsolete, with newer versions of dosemu it is possible to run the doors without sudo but with user privileges. See the doors page for details. The information below is for old versions of dosemu.


The information gathered here, works for the indicated intention. It is proven and working in PAROLAS BBS, however, I do not guarantee that it works correctly in all the cases. The author is not responsible for the damage this can cause. If you follow the instructions, and you get not the expected result, or as a result of it you get undesired results, you loose data or destroy your system, you you will be the only person in charge.


This document describes how I have been able to execute MS/DOS doors in MBSEBBS. Probably it is not the best way to do it, but this is the one that works for me. If somebody finds one more more effective, or simpler or safer a solution, then I like to hear this solution.


MBSEBBS is correctly compiled and working, in my case I have the version 0.33.19, that is at the moment the most recent and stable, I suppose that this method can be valid for newer versions. DOSEMU 1.0.2 I have tried previous versions, but these do not work correctly with virtual ports. You can download dosemu.1.02.tgz from www.dosemu.org , you may also need to download the freedos archive dosemu-freedos-bin-1.02.tgz. A partition with MS/DOS, I have on my disc a partition with installed MS/DOS, and that is the one that I use, but I'm sure that many doors could work correctly with the freedos. You also need sudo. Sudo is a utility that let's ordinary users execute certain programs as superuser, this is available with almost all GNU/Linux distributions.


Unpack dosemu in some directory, for example /usr/src, then changed into that directory and execute 'make'. When this is ready we have dosemu compiled. If we already had a previous version of dosemu it is advisable to uninstall it before continuing. Copy dosemu-freedos-bin-1.02.tgz to the toplevel directory of the dosemu source and execute:

./install_systemwide -fd dosemu-freedos-bin-1.02.tgz
In the directory etc, within the directory where we have decompressed the source code of dosemu we have configuration examples. Create the directory /var/lib/dosemu if it does not exist the directory, and copy global.conf to that directory. Also copy dosemu.conf to directory /etc and copy dosemu.users.secure as dosemu.users to /etc.


Now we must configure the dos partition, in my case this exists as a mounted dos partition in /dos/c. If this is not the case then you could work with an image of freedos. I have created in my dos partition a directory c:\doors where I install all doors that I want to use, and a file called c:\doors.bat with the following contents:

@echo off
cd \doors
if exist %1.bat call %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
Change to the directory /var/lib/dosemu and create directory called for example 'c':
mkdir c. 
A link to the mounted partition could be made but I prefer to create a new directory and in that directory make links to dos program which are only of interest for us. Many programs and directories of the dos partition are not needed in dosemu and to run doors. Change to the created directory and make links to everything what we have in our dos partition (we will erase soon what we do not need). Autoexec.bat and config.sys must copied instead of making links so we can modify them, because surely we will want that they are different in dosemu, then in real dos.
cd c
ln -s /dos/c/* .
rm autoexec.bat
rm config.sys
cp /dos/c/autoexec.bat config.sys .
Create a directory dosemu and copy the typical utilities of dosemu.
mkdir dosemu 
cp /usr/src/dosemu-1.02/* dosemu
Now we modify the copy of config.sys and autoexec.bat to erase everything what is not necessary to execute our games as doors, like drivers for cdrom, mouse etc... We will clear the keyboard driver 'KEYB XX' and make sure that in the path in autoexec.bat to include the directory c:\dosemu. Also load the fossil emulator, for example add these two lines:
path %PATH%:c:\dosemu
If there is another fossil, such as bnu or x00 in config.sys or autoexec.bat we clear all references to these, we will load them if that is necessary in the file that it executes the door when needed, this can be necessary for some doors and for other not. Now we can erase all the links to the directories who are not necessary, and that we do not want that they are visible.

Then edit the file /etc/dosemu.conf and look for the line that begins with "$_hdimage =" and change that to:

$_hdimage = "c"
Now login as root and you should be able to execute our dos emulator by executing '/usr/bin/dosemu.bin'

(to leave dosemu type in exitemu)


Normally the dos partition is not accessible to the users of the BBS, except from within dosemu, and to be able to have access without activating the setuid bit of dosemu, we use sudo so that any user of the BBS can execute dosemu.bin as root. As root execute visudo to edit the configuration file of sudo add the lines:

%bbs   ALL=NOPASSWD:/opt/mbse/bin/bbsdoor.sh
%bbs   ALL=NOPASSWD:/opt/dosemu/bin/dosemu.bin
The first command is a script that takes care of copying the file door.sys to the dos partition, the second line is to allow to execute dosemu.bin. Any user of group BBS can execute these commandos like root without password is asked.

In order to test that this works login as user mbse and execute:

sudo dosemu.bin


First we need a pair of scripts. These scripts are installed when you did install MBSE. These scripts are needed to execute the doors and are installed in /opt/mbse/bin:

--- rundoor.sh ---

# rundoor.sh - Never call this script directly, create a symlink
#              to thisfile with the name of the door. For example
#              tu run the door ilord do:
#              cd /opt/mbse/bin
#              ln -s rundoor.sh ilord
# by Redy Rodriguez and Michiel Broek.
DOOR=`basename $0`
COMMANDO="\" doors $DOOR $*\r\""

/usr/bin/sudo /opt/mbse/bin/bbsdoor.sh $DOOR $1
/usr/bin/sudo /opt/dosemu/bin/dosemu.bin \
-F /var/lib/dosemu/global.conf \
-I "`echo -e serial { com 1 virtual }"\n" keystroke $COMMANDO`"
tput reset
stty sane

--- bbsdoor.sh ---

#  Initialize DOS environment before starting a bbs door.
#  Parameters: $1 = name of the door
#              $2 = the nodenumber for this session
#  by Redy Rodriguez, 22-Oct-2001
if [ "$1" != "" ]; then
    if [ "$2" != "" ]; then
        mkdir -p /dos/c/doors/node$2 >/dev/null 2>&1
	# Copy door.sys to dos partition
	cat ~/door.sys >/dos/c/doors/node$2/door.sys
	# Create .dosemu/disclaimer in user home to avoid warning
	if [ ! -d $HOME/.dosemu ]; then
	    mkdir $HOME/.dosemu
	if [ ! -f $HOME/.dosemu/disclaimer ]; then
	    touch $HOME/.dosemu/disclaimer
The script rundoor.sh is never called directly, simply create a link with the name of the door to this file, this name must be the same as the one of the .bat file that starts the door in the doors directory of the dos partition. Let me explain this with an example:

I have chosen the door Virtual Sysop, but it could be any other door. My experience says to me that not all doors work correctly with a serial port in virtual mode. This one is working at Parolas BBS.

Unpack Virtual Sysop in the dos partition, in the directory c:\doors\vsysop. Execute as user mbse 'sudo dosemu.bin' and make sure that the door works in local mode (these commands are for this door):

cd doors
cd vsysop
vsysop -local
If everything is correct then create the file c:\doors\vsysop.bat with the following contents:
--- vsysop.bat ---

@echo off
C:\COMUNIC\X00\X00 E B,0,57600
cd vsysop
vsysop -D c:\doors\node%1\door.sys -BBSNAME PAROLAS
deltree /y c:\doors\node%1
cd ..
Before passing the control to dosemu, the file door.sys will be copied to c:\doors\node???? where the ???? is the node number from which the door is invoked (to allow that several users can execute the door at the same time). This nodenumber also is passed as the first parameters to the .bat file, this is to indicate to which directory to copy the door.sys file.

The Virtual Sysop door supports door.sys and that is the only dropfile that is generated by mbsebbs and that is supported by most of the doors. If you need another format you must use a converter to change the format of the dropfile.

I use the fossil X00, I have it installed in C:\COMUNIC\X00 and this door works for me correctly with these parameters, it is alos possible that it works without X00 or that you can load another fossil.

Now create a link to rundoor.sh in /opt/mbse/bin called vsysop. The name must be the same one that the name of the .bat file created in the dos partition, but without the extension bat.

ln -s /opt/mbse/bin/rundoor.sh /opt/mbse/bin/vsysop
Now we execute mbsetup and enter the menu setup to add an entrance like this (It puts option 16 to Yes):

    1.  Sel. key  V
    2.  Type nr.  7         Run external program in shell
    3.  Opt. data /opt/mbse/bin/vsysop /N
    4.  Display
    5.  Security  0     --------------------------------
    6.  Min. age  0
    7.  Max. lvl  0
    8.  Password  <null>                    13. No door.sys No
    9.  Credit    0                         13. Y2K style   No
    10. Lo-colors Normal display color      14. Use Comport Yes
    11. Hi-colors Bright display color      15. Run nosuid  Yes
    12. Autoexec  No                        16. No Prompt   Yes
And that is everything...

Q 5.2 Dosemu compile tips
A 5.2
Written by: Rick Van Ruth, sysop of Vampyre's Heaven BBS 3:640/954
Dosemu still exhibits some file locking behaviour and this needs to be overcome, especially if you are running multinode door games. The following information was supplied by Bob Newell of Chung Kuo BBS (telnet chungkuo.org) and I reiterate it here.

There is an issue in that GNU/Linux file locking does not map precisely to DOS file locking. You need to patch DOSEMU and build a special version to deal with this problem. Find the file "dosext/mfs/mfs.c" in your DOSEMU source tree. Locate the following lines:

case DENY_ANY:
fl.l_type = F_RDLCK;

Change the second line to 
fl.l_type = !writing ? F_RDLCK : F_WRLCK;
and build a new version of DOSEMU.

To solve a problem of slow screen painting, locate "base/async/int.c" in your source tree. Locate

case 0x2C:

and just below, comment out or delete the line

and rebuild your DOSEMU.
It is recommended to use both tips above as it will not harm any dos door games.

Q 5.3 Setting up for InterBBS games.
A 5.3
Written by: Rick Van Ruth, sysop of Vampyre's Heaven BBS 3:640/954
There are 2 methods for providing InterBBS setup. If your system merely connects to one host for your games packets you need only perform a few simple steps to have it working. If your system is a Host for InterBBS games you will also need to add a script to separate different packets for different downlink systems.

Common to Both Methods:
With most BBS games you will need 2 directories in your dos filesystem area. One for the inbound packets and one for netmail messages door games produce to send outbound packets.

The easiest way to solve this is by creating symlinks from your MBSE directories into the directory where your dos doors live (c:\doors). The 2 directories you wish to link are /opt/mbse/var/inbound and /opt/mbse/var/msgs - link them into your dos directories doors directory with the same names ie: "inbound" and "msgs". Now according to dosemu you will have a c:\doors\inbound and a c:\doors\msgs. We do not actually use the "msgs" directory for anything other than a place to tell games where to write its netmails to. These "netmails" are subsequently deleted from the system, but the games need to be able to write them there.

1. The Easy Way - Single Host System:

1A. First of all you will realise that door games running under dosemu usually write files as owner root, chmod 0644. This is not good for MBSE to transfer these files as it does not have permission to act on the files. In order to force dosemu to write games files so that MBSE can act upon them we need to alter /etc/sudoers and change the umask for root running under sudo. To do this open /etc/sudoers (you must be root to edit this file) and add the following line at the top of the file before the specifications:

Defaults               umask=0000

This will allow dosemu to write files chmod 0666 (read/write everybody) and MBSE will be able to manipulate them.

For my example I will use the InterBBS dos door game called Barren Realms Elite (BRE for short).

1B. Install Bre in c:\doors\bre and setup the necessary files for its execution as a dos door from MBSE as per the dos doors faq.

1C. Tell Bre (in its BBS.CFG) that the path for inbound packets is c:\doors\inbound and the netmail path is c:\doors\msgs Bre will now automatically process all inbound packets it finds in the inbound directory for itself. It needs no assistance as it merely searches for the correct filename in the directory.

1D. We need to link Bre's outbound path to our host nodes MBSE mailbox for automatic transfer of games packets. First make sure you have added an "outbox" for your uplink node in the nodes setup in MBSE - Section 7, Select Uplink, Menu 1, Section 2 "outbox dir". eg: if your uplink is 3:640/954 then MBSE will default to creating /opt/mbse/var/boxes/node3_640_954 as the outbox (I will use this as an example). Note the flavour of your uplinks node connection will apply to the outbox as well. Thus if that particular node is set crashmail then anything you put in the outbox will also be sent crashmail.

Next go to your Bre game directory. You will notice Bre has an OUTBOUND directory, this is where it places all its game packets that are to be sent to the uplink. We need to delete this directory and instead create a symlink to the node outbox instead. If Bre is in c:\doors\bre then the symlink command will be:

ln -s /opt/mbse/var/boxes/node3_640_954 /dos/c/doors/bre/OUTBOUND

Alter the above depending on where your linux path to your dos is, also remember linux is case sensitive! Note you can also make as many symlinks as you like to the nodes outbox, so if you have 2 or 3 different games you send to that node you can link the outbox to each games outbound directory. Also if you have different games to different host nodes just link the game outbound directories to the outboxes of each node.

Thats it. The system will now process inbound and outbound packets automatically. You will however need to delete the netmails in the msgs directory - I have included this in the Door game maintenance section further on.

If you experience problems with your system polling nodes and sending the game mail packets while a user is online within the game then you might wish to use the dos "share.exe" so packet files are not being accessed by both the game and the mailer at the same time. You can load share.exe within your doors.bat in dos root directory.

2. The Hard Way - Multiple Host System

Follow steps 1A, 1B, 1C above, the change occurs for 1D (below).

1D. We need a script to process the Bre outbound packets and add them to MBSE's node outboxes path so they are sent. A script on how to do this follows (with comments ). First remember to create your outboxes for each node that you transfer games packets to. I will use 3:640/954 as above and 1:123/456 for this example of 2 systems linked to the one Bre game.

This script should be owned by user "mbse" and have the permissions (chmod 755) -rwxr-xr-x. It is best kept in /opt/mbse/bin with your dos game executing scripts. I call this script "dos_poll"

#!/usr/bin/perl -U
use File::Basename;
use File::Copy;

# Define the variables for the outboxes for our links
$node1 = "/opt/mbse/var/boxes/node3_640_954";
$node2 = "/opt/mbse/var/boxes/node1_123_456";
# Define the linux path to Bre's outbound directory
$bre_path = "/opt/mbse/dos/doors/bre/OUTBOUND";

opendir(DIR, "$bre_path") || die;
@dirlist = readdir(DIR);

foreach $filename (@dirlist){
    $brefile = "$bre_path/$filename";
    ($filenameOnly, $pathname, $fileExtension) = fileparse($filename, '\..*');
    if($filenameOnly eq "048b0201") {
    if($filenameOnly eq "048b0203") {

# '048b0201' is the packet name Bre creates. You can find out what
# your packet name is by running BRE PLANETARY and then checking inside
# the Bre OUTBOUND directory - note no ext on name. You should also check
# your nodes dat for which is which 048b0201 means from system 2 to system 1
# so you would be system 2 in the nodes dat and 1 would be 3:640/954
# 048b0203 is obviously to system 3 in the nodes dat - 1:/123/456 in our
# example here

Thats it. You can run this 'dos_poll' script from the maintenance scripts described below.

Q 5.4 Door Maintenance.
A 5.4
Written by: Rick Van Ruth, sysop of Vampyre's Heaven BBS 3:640/954
Ok, so you can setup doors, run inbound and outbound for interbbs games. So how do you do maintenance?
Again by scripts. Again I will use BRE as an example. First I create a maintenance batch file in my C: root directory. I have called it maint.bat and for the bre game it looks like this:
cd \doors\bre
if you are familiar with Bre you will know this to be a standard sort of maintenance except for the "exitemu" at the end. That is there because we are going to use a script to start dosemu and call the maint.bat - so afterwards we need it to exit dosemu.
Now a maintenance script to be called from your cron or whatever else you are using to execute events on your system. I call this script "dos_maint" and it also lives in /opt/mbse/bin
COMMANDO="\" maint \r\""
/usr/bin/sudo dosemu -dumb -E dir > /opt/mbse/log/dos.log -quiet -I "`echo keystroke $COMMANDO`"
/bin/rm /opt/mbse/var/msgs/*.msg
#/opt/mbse/bin/dos_poll # Uncomment this line if you are using the Multiple host script
You will notice this script starts dosemu and calls maint.bat, and then when its finished there it deletes all those games netmails and if you run the script for multiple hosts for your games it can call that as well. Please note the second line is all ONE line, it has most probably wrapped here.

You will notice that the script calls dosemu and not dosemu.bin, this is because we need to tell dosemu to open a dumb terminal and not display to a console or screen. By use of the redirection we redirect the normal console output to a file, here I have used /opt/mbse/log/dos.log as that is where all of MBSE's other logs reside.

Once "dos_maint" is run via the cron it will run maintenance on your dos doors, process inbound/outbound interBBS game packets and have your outbound packets ready to send. Thats about all there is to do :)

Note: You can make variants on these scripts for running daily maintenance or just packet processing at certain times of day. They are just variations on the information above, but if you have questions, contact me!

Have fun!