Last update 23-May-2011

mbcico - The Fidonet mailer.

This is work in progress....


-a<inetaddr> -l<ttydevice> <node> ...
-n<phone>     forced phone number
-l<ttydevice> forced tty device
-t<tcpmode>   telnet TCP/IP mode, must be one of ifc|itn|ibn, forces TCP/IP
-a<inetaddr>  supply internet hostname if not in nodelist
<node>        should be in domain form, e.g. f11.n22.z3
-h            show this help message

 or: mbcico tsync|yoohoo|**EMSI_INQC816|-t ibn|-t ifc|-t itn (this is answer mode)



mbcico stands for MBse "Internet - Fidonet Copy In /Copy Out", this is a FidoNet(r) compatible transport agent. It is based on ifcico written by Eugene G. Crosser, <>, 2:5020/230@FidoNet. I changed the name of the program to make the difference between ifcico and mbcico. Nowadays it is quite different then ifcico.

Currently it supports FTS-0001, YooHoo/2U2 and EMSI handshake protocols, Xmodem, Telink, Modem7, Hydra with zlib compression extension (FSP-xxxx), SEAlink with and without overdrive and crash recovery, Bark file and update requests, WaZoo protocols: DietIFNA, plain Zmodem (aka ZedZip, EMSI flag "ZMO") and ZedZap, WaZoo file and update requests (nodelist flag should be XA). WaZoo file and update requests do also work with FTS-0001 sessions, this is supported by several well known DOS mailers also. Password protected requests and update requests are implemented.

There is also a special protocol optimized to use over TCP/IP connections, contributed by Stanislav Voronyi <>, it is identified by EMSI proto code TCP (not registered) and nodelist flag IFC. The default port is 60179. A telnet variant is installed at port 60177, the nodelist flag is ITN:60177. The port number is needed because the default port in the nodelist is port 23.

There is also a Binkp/1.1 implementation, this is a bi-directional TCP/IP protocol. This protocol is prefferred over the IFC protocol because it is more efficient. Nodelist flag is IBN, the default port is 24554, and the nodelist request flag is XX. This binkp implementation uses zlib packet compression opt PLZ (FSP-1032) to increase the transfer speed and to lower the network bandwith usage. There is also support for the stream compression modes GZ and BZ2 (compatible with binkd).

Since januari 2011 mbcico can use both IPv4 and IPv6 TCP/IP connections.

Outbound directory structure is BinkleyTerm compatible, with domains and point subdirectories (full 5d). There are separate "protected" and "unprotected" inbound directories for the incoming sessions with the nodes that are in your setup. Files received during outbound sessions are always stored in the "protected" inbound.

"Magic" file request processors are executable files placed in the "magic" directory. If a request is made for a file with matching name, the executable from the "magic" directory is run, and its stdout output is mailed to the requestor. Full requestor's address, in the form of "John Smith of 1:234/56/7" is passed to the executable in the command line. An example of such file is on my system, the filename in the magic directory is STATUS.

echo "    Hello $1 $2,"
echo ""
echo "               Status report for MBSE BBS Development"
echo "               --------------------------------------"
echo ""
echo "Date  : `date`"
echo "System: `uname -mrs`"
echo "Uptime: `uptime`"
echo ""
echo "`df -T`"
echo ""
echo "`free`"
echo ""
echo "Gtx, Michiel Broek"
If you file request STATUS from my system you will get something like:
    Hello John Doe,

                   Status report for MBSE BBS Development

Date  : Sat Nov  8 17:29:07 CET 2003
System: Linux 2.4.20 i586
Uptime:  17:29:07 up 88 days, 20:02,  1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Filesystem    Type   1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda2     ext3     5921096   3405184   2210276  61% /
/dev/hdb1     ext3     6198404   5133056    750476  88% /opt

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         94280      91360       2920          0      13152      46276
-/+ buffers/cache:      31932      62348
Swap:       136512      32380     104132

Gtx, Michiel Broek
Non-executable files in the magic directory contain the full names to magic filenames. The magic NODELIST can thus point to the full path and filename of your latest nodelist. These magic names are automatic maintained by the mbfido program when the magic name is set in the .tic file that you receive.

To run mbcico in master mode, you need to make dialout devices read/writeable for mbcico, and do the same for the directory where your uucp locks are created (usually /var/locks).


Answer Mode.

To make mbcico work in answer mode, you need mgetty written by Gert Doering. mbcico must be started with one of the following parameters:

FTS-0001 call:       "/opt/mbse/bin/mbcico tsync"
FTS-0006 call:       "/opt/mbse/bin/mbcico yoohoo"
EMSI call:           "/opt/mbse/bin/mbcico **EMSI_....."

In the latter case the received EMSI packet should be passed whitout trailing CR). To make this work mgetty must be compiled with the -DFIDO option. Other getty programs might work.

To answer TCP/IP calls the following lines should be added to /etc/inetd.conf:

binkd   stream  tcp     nowait  mbse    /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico    mbcico -t ibn
fido    stream  tcp     nowait  mbse    /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico    mbcico -t ifc
tfido   stream  tcp6    nowait  mbse    /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico    mbcico -t itn	

The tfido line is configured to answer on IPv4 and IPv6. If your system uses xinetd the file /etc/xinetd.d/mbsebbs could be:

#:MBSE BBS services are defined here.

service binkp
	socket_type     = stream
	protocol        = tcp
	wait            = no
	user            = mbse
	instances       = 10
	server          = /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico
	server_args     = -t ibn

service tfido
	socket_type     = stream
	protocol        = tcp
	wait            = no
	user            = mbse
	instances       = 10
	server          = /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico
	server_args     = -t itn
        flags           = IPv6

service fido
	socket_type     = stream
	protocol        = tcp
	wait            = no
	user            = mbse
	instances       = 10
	server          = /opt/mbse/bin/mbcico
	server_args     = -t ifc

If you want to use IPv6, add the line flags = IPv6 to the protocol like in the example of tfido. In the file /etc/services the following lines must be present:

binkd           24554/tcp               # mbcico IBN mode
fido            60179/tcp               # mbcico IFC mode
tfido           60177/tcp               # mbcico ITN mode


Calling Mode.

You never need to call nodes with mbcico by hand, mbtask will start mbcico with the right commandline.
Note: you should not call nodes with mbcico directly, let mbtask do the calling. If you want to call a node make a poll command.



In order to run the mbcico you need to set one global environment variable $MBSE_ROOT This variable must point to the root of the bbs directoy structure.


Return Codes.

0        - No errors
1..32    - OS errors, SIGHUP, SIGKILL, etc.
100      - Commandline error.
101      - Configuration error.
103      - Disk full.
108      - File transfer error.
111      - Node not in nodelist.
112      - Node may not be called (Hold, Down, not ZMH).
113      - Could not make connection.
114      - Cannot open tty port.
115      - Node is locked.
116      - No IP address.
117      - Unknown session type.
118      - Not Zone Mail Hour.
119      - Modem error.
120      - Not port available.
121      - Session error.
122      - EMSI session error.
123      - FTSC session error.
124      - Wazoo session error.
125      - YooHoo session error.
126      - Outbound scan error.
127      - Cannot poll.
These codes are also stored in status files for nodes, with the extension of ".sts". These are small datafiles containing three decimal numbers.
  1. Time retry code, this is the next call attempt time. This is an unsigned long representing the number of seconds since the epoch. Before this time the node may not be called. This is set after a failed call, a random time in the near future is selected.
  2. Retries, this is the number of consequtive call attempts made that returned "call failed" or other errors. This field is zeroed when the call succeeds and when a new "poll" is created. If the value is 30, the node won't be called anymore.
  3. Code, this is the return code of the last attempt.



The behaviour of mbcico can be configured with mbsetup, section 1.14 If something doesn't do what you want, set the debug on for that problem. This will produce huge logfiles, but also a lot of information. Important flags are Device IO, EMSI debug, File forward, Locking, Outboundscan and Session.



Incoming calls from McMail mailers, McMail is quite hasty to establish an EMSI session, and times out in less than a second. So if your system is heavy loaded, or not too fast, McMail cannot connect with your system. This is a known problem with McMail 1.0 and older, later versions are ok.



Eugene G. Crosser <>   Orginal ifcico.
Stanislav Voronyi <> TCP/IP code.
Martin Junius                             Rewrite of opentcp().
Omen Technology Inc                       Zmodem protocol.
Arjen G. Lentz, Joaquim H. Homrighausen   Hydra transfer protocol.
Cristof Meerwald                          Implementation of Hydra in ifcico.
P. Saratxaga                              Tty driver code, yoohoo extensions.
Dima Maloff                               Binkp protocol.
Michiel Broek                             Rewrite for MBSE BBS.

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