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FTSC                             FIDONET TECHNICAL STANDARDS COMMITTEE
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Publication:    FTS-5002
Revision:       1
Title:          POINTLIST FORMATS
Author(s):      Michiel van der Vlist

Revision Date:  1 October 2000
Expiry Date:    1 October 2002
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Contents:
                1. Purpose
                2. Formats
                2.1 The "Boss" format.
                2.2 The "Point" format.
                2.3 The "Fake Net" format.
                2.4 The "FidoUser" format.
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Status of this document
-----------------------

  This document is a Fidonet Standard (FTS).

  This document specifies a Fidonet standard for the Fidonet
  community.

  This document is released to the public domain, and may be used,
  copied or modified for any purpose whatever.


Introduction
------------

  This paper attempts to document the formats of four types
  of pointlists in use in FidoNet.
  Current practice for Fidonet Technology Networks (FTN) is to
  maintain pointlists on net, region and possibly zone level
  to store the details of the points participating in communication
  via the network.

1. Purpose
----------

  The concept of points was introduced into the FidoNet community
  by Henk Wevers as an easy and fast way for users to get their mail
  by using an FTN compatible mailer.

  During the course of FidoNet history points have become a major
  source of flow in FidoNet echomail. In order to suggest a netmail
  address for a point with a known name but unknown address pointlists
  are distributed on various levels. Unfortunately there has been
  little or no coordination on the format of those lists. It has
  mostly been up to the whim of the local list keeper.

  This document is a first attempt to coordinate those efforts due to
  Henk Wevers, Joaquim Homrighausen and others.


2. Formats
----------

  Four formats for maintaining pointlists are used by the FidoNet
  community and other networks using the FidoNet technology.


2.1 The "Boss" format
---------------------

  This is an extension of the St. Louis nodelist format, the
  list of points is a distributed separately from the nodelist.

  The list contains of one or more lines of the format:

  Boss,<zone>:<net>/<node>[,[<additional fields>]]

  Where <additional fields> may be a copy of fields 3-8 of the
  corresponding nodelist entry of the boss node. The second comma
  and following fields are however optional and are usually omitted.
  Current node/pointlist parsers ignore the additional fields but
  some pointlist keepers include the second comma anyway just to be
  on the safe side.

  Directly below the 'Boss' line is a list of the points entered as
  if they were nodes. The first field of a point entry must be empty.
  The telephone number field may contain the actual number if the
  point is online or "-Unpublished-" if it is not.


  Example:

  ;A Sample pointlist for Friday Aug 2 1996 day 044 : 12345
  ;
  Boss 1:1/1,
  ,1,First_point_of_node_1,Somewhere,John_Doe,-Unpublished-,300
  ,2,Joe'sPoint,Cybercity,Tom_Jennings,1-234-567-890,9600,V34,XX,U,ENC

  Known exceptions/additions to FTS-5000/5001:

  In some countries (f.e. Netherlands) one may find a NOZMH flag in
  combination with callable points. Such a point is not online
  during ZMH but can be called at (an)other time(s) which is
  specified by one or more Tyz flags as defined FSC-5001.

  The 16 bit checksum in the first line is not always present in some
  distributed lists. Since the checksum is only really needed for diff
  processors, this is not a problem if diffs are not used.

  The "Boss" format is the preferred format for future distribution.


2.2 The "Point" format.
-----------------------

  This is also an extension of the St. Louis nodelist format as
  described in FTS-5000. The node- and pointlist are not
  distributed separately, it is a combined list. It is not
  used very much in FidoNet, but in Othernets one encounters
  it occasionally.

  Points are entered in the nodelist immediately below their bossnode
  with the word "Point" (without the quotes) in the first field. The
  rest of the line has the same format as an entry for a node as per
  FTS-5000. The telephone number field usually contains
  "-Unpublished-" (without the quotes) but it need not be so. If the
  point is online at certain times, it may contain the actual
  telephone number.


  Example:

  ;A Node/pointlist for net 999 Friday Aug 2 1996 day 214 : 27158
  ;A
  Host,999,Net_999,Simcity,Joe_Host,9-876-543-210,9600,V34,XX
  ,666,Just_a_Node,Simcity,Joe_Grunt,9-012-345-678,9600,VFC
  Point,1,Point_1,Simcity,Joe_Point,-Unpublished-,300
  Point,2,Point_2,Simcity,Joes_Brother,9-345-678-901,9600,V34,XX,U,Txz


2.3 The "fake net" format.
-------------------------

  Fake nets were introduced as a way of allowing points using 2D
  software. The use of a fake net is largely abandoned, very few
  software that can not handle 4D is still around, but some nets
  still distribute pointlists in a format that reflects this
  obsolete practise.

  Technically the fake net list in not a pointlist but a nodelist.
  It has the same format as a regular FTS-5000 nodelist. The boss
  node is listed as the host and his points are listed as the leaf
  nodes.

  Example:

  Host,32061,2446/301,Uedem,Lothar_Behet,49-2824-922240,9600,CM, ...
  ,1,2446/301.1,Emmerich,John_Doe,49-2824-922240,9600,
  ,2,2446/301.2,Goch,Jim_Doe,49-2824-922240,9600,
  ,3,2446/301.3,Goch,Tom_Doe,49-2824-922240,9600,

  In order to facilitate sending crash mail to a point, the telephone
  number in the list is that of it's boss. Note that this would be
  incorrect if it were a real nodelist. Listing a node with a tele-
  phone number of another node that is not physically the same may
  cause password errors in case these are defined for those nodes.

  Also note that in this example the system name field contains
  the actual node/point number for easy conversion of fake net/node
  number to net/boss.point number.

  Listing of the 3d number in the point lines is redundant. Some
  only list the actual number in the Host line and use arbitrary
  strings in the points system name field.

  Host,10005,240/5496,Moisburg,Christian_Schmidt,49-4165-971143, ...
  ,1,Chrissie.1,Moisburg,Christian_Schmidt,49-4165-971143,9600,
  ,2,Chrissie.2,Buchholz,Steve_Tell,49-4165-971143,9600,

  An alternative way to supply conversion information is used in
  Denmark. The node number is supplied by the use of a UBOSS flag
  (without a comma) in the line of the fake host:

  Host,17010,NightCall,[..],[..],45-63121074,9600,V34,UBOSS:237/10
  ,1,System,Location,Point_Name,-Unpublished-,9600,MO

  Also note that the fake list format is less suitable for big list
  since fake net number are restricted to the range 1-32767. As the
  number of boss nodes grows the difficulty if assigning unique fake
  net numbers increases.


2.4 The FidoUser format
-----------------------

  As the name suggests the FidoUser format was originally intended to
  be a list of users in FidoNet. It allowed BBS software to suggest a
  fidonet address for netmail if the name of the recipient is known to
  the sender.

  It was first used by the Fido BBS programme for this purpose.

  Due to the explosive growth, keeping a list of all FidoNet users
  soon became impractical. The format of the list has survived for
  pointlists.


  First of all it needs to be noted that although the FidoUser list
  looks like an ASCII text file, it is NOT.

  It is a datafile consisting of equal length records. The last two
  bytes of each record are a CR and a LF. The actual record length is
  not specified, but all records must be of the same length.

  The format of a record is:

  <Keyword>, <Restofname>             [<zone>:]<net>/<node>[.<point>]

  Records must be sorted on <Keyword>.

  The zone number may be omitted. Default is the own zone. The
  address must start on or after column 46. The record must be
  padded with trailing blanks to make all records of equal length.

  The keyword is the last word in the name. Usually this is the
  surname, but in case of a compound surname it is the last of them.

  Restofname usually is the first name, but it may be more than one
  name and/or prefixes to the surname. Keyword and restofname are
  separated by a comma and one space.


  Examples:

  Roche, Baptiste petit dit de la              2:500/128.6469
  Vermeulen, Jan                               2:280/100.1
  Vlist, Michiel van der                       2:500/9.5

  It appears however that some software does not take kindly to spaces
  in the name field. It is the old problem of BBS software that allows
  only one first and one last name. Usually the problem is "solved" by
  substituting dots or underlines in the names.

  So one would also encounter:

  Petit_dit_de_la_Roche, Baptiste              2:500/128.6469
  Raaijmakers, Henk_Jan                        2:500/506.11
  van_der_Vlist, Michiel                       2:500/555.5

  Only ASCII characters are allowed. (No "high ASCII")

  Known exceptions:

  Dutchie 3, Timed and MBM 3.40 accept the IBM character set in the
  name fields. They also accept that the address starts at column 37
  and the address may be right justified without trailing blanks.

  MakePl and PcMerge accept ASCII text files looking like FidoUser
  lists. Last name and address must be separated by at least two
  spaces or a tab character. Records need not be sorted and comment
  lines starting with a semicolon are accepted. Some nets distribute
  lists in the form of these ASCII "look alike" Fidouser lists.


A. Acknowledgements
-------------------

  The following persons were helpful:

  Marcel Wulffraat, Ruud Uphoff, Lothar Behet, Kaare Olsen.


B. References
-------------

  [FTS-5]    "The distribution nodelist", Ben Baker, Rick Moore.
             February 1989. Obsoleted by FTS-5000.

  [FTS-5000] "The distribution nodelist". Colin Turner, Andreas Klein,
             Michael McCabe, David Hallford, Odinn Sorensen.
             June 1999.

  [FTS-5001] "Nodelist flags and userflags". Colin Turner,
             Andreas Klein, Michael McCabe, David Hallford,
             Odinn Sorensen.
             June 1999.


C. Contact Data
---------------


  Michiel van der Vlist
  Fideonet: 2:280/5300.5
            2:280/5555
  E-mail:   vlist@hccfido.hcc.nl
            pa0mmv@vrza.org

D. History
----------

   Rev.1, 20001001: Initial Release.
                    Principal author Michiel van der Vlist.

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