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This is the PUP.DOC file from T. Jennings' *new* PUPPY program; it has to be compiled with a C compiler; thought I'd let you all know about it in case anyone wants to investigate the Fidonetwork's new PUPPY!

T. Jennings Fido Software 164 Shipley San Francisco CA 94107

document updated: 10 Dec 87


Pup is a very modest project: it is a very small scale bulletin board, targeted mainly for the current low-end type machines; Z80, 64K, maybe 500K disk storage, primitive DOS. It of course works fine on MSDOS; there is a pclone version available. (Ask)

By Jan/Feb of 88, Pup will have a full featured FidoNet compatible network interface. The design is complete, and some code is done.

While the pclone version is where new things get tested, it is NOT the point of Pup. There are already more than enough pclone BBSs to choose from; Pup however would fit very comfortably into the smallest possible pclone these days.

BBSs have escalated in complexity way out of proportion to their usefulness; most BBSs are used by highly skilled people with lots of resource$ to talk to people like themselves. This is fine, but most of the world isn't in the position to sit $1,000 (or more!) in a corner of the room for one special purpose only.

Also, the trend is towards larger, more complex systems, wide area networking, extremely high throughput data transfers and other things that just push the likes of Fido, Opus, TBBS an order of magnitude or two out of the range of many (if not most) people who might benefit from them.

Seems we've forgotten that the original intent of BBSs was to communicate with other people. It is not obvious to me that talking to more people is better. The best BBSs I've ever used, of any type, were all very small systems; RCP/Ms, Apple][/GBBS, etc. Most used awful software, but were still the best (meaning most useful or most amusing) systems I've run across. There's a hint there, I think.

I would love to see Pup ported to CP/M (especially: that awful Heath/Zenith H-89) and Apple ][ PRODOS or something. .pa .he Copyrights, trademarks, money, that sort of thing.


Puppy is shareware; if you like it or find it or parts of it useful, then mail me what you think it's worth. $40 is suggested. Less will not be considered an insult. In return, I will mail you a diskette with the latest & greatest on it.

-*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*-

PUPPY PRE-RELEASE NOTE: The message base design really annoys some people. Instead of the usual linear numbered messages, I opted for a stack-like design (see the next page or so for details.)

I may do another message base that is in the more usual linear fashion; it will be fully compatible with the message base data files that this Pup generates; only the program will change. It's not all that big code-wise, but the Pile really bugs some people. I do eventually take hints, so …

-*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*- -*-*-

Check out the pclone version, show it to people, see what your reaction is. It should be portable as-is to small machines.

OK, down to brass tacks. (What on earth does that mean?) I, Tom Jennings, do business as Fido Software, at the address below. My commercial products are copyrighted works, and my sole source of income. Copyrighted works produced by me will be marked as such:

Copyright Tom Jennings 1987, etc

This is very straightforward. These are commercial products; you want, you pay. Or the guy in the big car over there will make you pay double later, OK?

Now for years I have been writing programs and distributing them, in binary and some in source form, but I've never made it very clear what their status was. Partly this is because the previous environment (less cutthroat) was more friendly and less demanding, and partly because I just wasn't that organized. This is to change starting now. (now?)

The following notice will be firmly affixed to all programs produced by me that are not commercial copyrighted works. Please don't utter the phrase "public domain" because that means something awful:

(k) All Rights Reversed

(all hail Eris) This means: what you do with it is up to you. I ask though, that if you distribute it, you provide sources as part of the package, at no extra cost or penalty or obligation to the person receiving it; and that you also do not remove the (k) All Rights Reversed notice. I also ask that you don't change the version number, if there is one; you will only needlessly confuse people when I come out with a new version. Hint: Add your own IDs after it, like "1-AB" where "AB" is your version number.

"Fido" is a trademark of Tom Jennings. It you utter it send me a dollar. "FidoNet" is a also registered trademark of Tom Jennings. If you even think it send me two dollars. If you use both, send me ten dollars and your first born child. All rights reserved, and all wrongs righted. So there.

Fido Software

     164 Shipley
     San Francisco CA 94107
     (415)-764-1629, FidoSW, using Fido v12 1:125/111
     (415)-882-9835, ch@os, using Puppy v1
       soon will be known as 1:125/164

If you have anything to contribute, please do. .pa Historical Curiosities: An Editorial

A little history is in order here. I, like hundreds of others, have been hanging out on BBSs and writing free programs since Ward & Randy's CBBS. Nothing new or unique or interesting here.

Fido, started in 1984, is by far the most popular and well known program I have ever produced. To say it exceeded anything I ever planned for it is an understatement. Requests for diskettes got so heavy that I started charging for diskettes; as demand for functions and reliability increased, by many hundreds of people, it slowly turned into a part-time business.

Now it eventually became obvious that this wasn't a typical free BBS program, and that others wanted to write FidoNet- compatible programs; Thom Henderson had sucessfully gotten SeaDog running. An effort went into documenting the protocol (Randy Bush did a wonderful job with the FSC001 doc a year later) and making structures public, etc. Interface information was released with each version, and work was started towards the real technical specification, culminating in FSC001.

Eventually, Fido/FidoNet became a full time job. I now derive all of my income from it. (I license Fido/FidoNet to mostly small to medium companies and non-military governmental agencies.) Because of this, Fido is no longer free, starting with version 12. (You can now use previous versions for free; v11 manuals once again available for $35)

My roots and heart is still in the hobbiest end of things, and Fido Software is hardly a traditional software company. I am working on new software for hobbiests, both "free" and "shareware". I now fund this development from licensing Fido, and hopefully other sources in the future. I'm hardly getting rich from this, and that's not the point.

My goal today is somewhat subversive I suppose; I want to see more non-technical people use computers for communicating in ways not traditionally though of, and on small cheap machines; not by throwing money at high-end Pclones or traditional services. (You're supposed to do wierd things with computers, that's what they're for!)

Traditional media in the U. S. is getting more and more restricted to lowest-common-denominator, safe, bland, *profitable* mindless pap. (Did you know: only 26 corporations own 1/2 or more of all media in the US: magazines, books, TV, radio, newspapers, etc? Source: "Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting", June 87) Individuals and small groups running BBSs and writing zines is one way to promote free (as in open) communications.

Some have asserted that I'm a greedy programmer trying to milk money from peoples hobby with Fido (how dare I charge money) and that I don't care about much else.

I will merely say: I've been writing free software since 1979, and have had phenomenal, unexpected success with Fido/FidoNet, which I have basically given to the world, gratis. My attitudes haven't changed much, except to get a bit more radical. Time will tell, as it always does.

OK, I'll shut up now. .pa Pup's FidoNet interface

Suffice to say at this point, it will be both high performance, and will fit very nicely on a 64K Z80 with a couple of decent sized floppies.

Keep in mind it's not meant to act as a gateway to all of Western Europe. You would probably have a hard time even making it a Net Host.

What it will do though is run up to 16 echo conferences at a higher software-performance level available on any machine today, period. No space- and time-consuming packeting and unpacketing, no external conferencing packages.

Use of the nodelist will be optional; for echo conferences, only the system information for the next-in-line system (Pup, Fido, Opus, etc) is needed.

The method is: on-the-fly packeting and unpacketing. The Pup FidoNet code uses XMODEM to send the packet, as per FSC001 specifications. However, instead of generating a packet file ahead of time, then XMODEMing it out, when XMODEM goes to "read" a block from the packet file, it uses a state machine to generate the data as it goes. Because the message base is one contiguous file, with a memory resident index, performance is not a problem. This part is already coded.

The receiver does a similar thing. As XMODEM receives blocks, it would normally write them to a packet file for later unpacking into messages. In Pup, the blocks are not written to a file, but decomposed byte by byte into the message base directly. Again, because of the message base design performance isn't an issue.

.pa Pup the Bulletin Board

Pup has all the usual amenities, but it doesn't appear that way when you first look at it. There's only ten commands or so total.

The message base consists of two files, one that contains the message body text, and the other is an index with the usual TO:, FROM:, etc information, as well as the TOPIC information. (More on Topics later.)

Pup's message base is created once when SET-PUP is run, and never changes in size. (You can set the size of each message and the number of messages.) (And later there will be a way to change the size, but not right away.) The advantages: it never grows to fill your disk; performance is extremely good (if you format the disk first, you will be guarenteed that all sectors in the file are contiguous); there is no need for message base maintenance.

(NOTE: See the PRE-RELEASE NOTE mentioned earlier about message base paradigm.)

Messages are arranged to match my desk: a Pile. I work by writing things on these tiny 3 x 5 pads of paper; one note, phone number, bug, etc per sheet. I stack 'em up, move them around, etc. The one on the top is the newest.

Pups messages are in a Pile. When you enter a message, it goes on the Top; ones entered before are still there, under the top. Eventually, they reach the bottom, then they fall off. If you set Pup to have 100 messages, then when you enter the 101st message, the first one ever entered falls off the bottom.

Yeah, its a ring buffer.

When you read messages you start, by default, at the Top of the Pile. From there you can read messages, one after another, until you hit the Bottom. You can of course hop around as you wish.

Now a huge monolithic messag base isn't much fun to poke around in. This is where Topics come in.

Pup can have up to 16 topics; you must have at least one. Topics are the usual grouping, areas, subjects, that sort of thing. In Pup though, instead of rigid barricades that messages must be forced within, in Pup you can hop Topics at will.

When reading messages, you can choose which which topics you wish to see, including "all". If you choose one topic, then those are the only messages you will see. If you choose "all", then you see all messages in all topics; this is nice for browsing a board for the first time or two. If you're only interested in two or three topics, you can select only those and you will see no others.

When entering messages, you choose which topic the message resides in; one message can also reside in any number of topics. Obviously to be use with caution, but great for notices and such.

One of the reasons I chose this was because of a common problem when using Fido-type message areas; neophyte users tend to not change areas, and never become aware of the different catagories that may exist. Even sophisticated users say "A 5" and therefore won't see if the list of message areas has changed.

By default, in Pup you see all messages in all topics, starting at the newest. If this annoys you, you can use choose which topics to see and not see, including "ALL". This is the exact opposite of the Fido (and RBBS, Opus, etc) philosophy. .pa Puppy and human callers

One of the first things to go in the trash when designing Pup was anything relating to "callers". As I see it, caller records have the following main purposes:

terminal settings (lines, columns, etc)

     where they left off last time
     access controls
     let users see their name in lights

I consider all the other junk like help levels, last- accessed message area or file areas and times called to be design deficiencies (help levels?) or froo-froo (last message area).

If you need access controls you don't want Puppy. Access controls always escalate into huge monstrosities. The purpose of Pup is so that people can communicate, in an easy to use and effecient manner. It's not an operating system, like some BBS installations are approaching.

Its a little wierd at first … but you get used to it. One objection that pops to mind is: how do I know that that person is who he says he is? Well, you don't. Actually … if you are conversing with someone (not what you call what happens when there are 500+ people using a system!) it's pretty obvious. Also, it's not much of a challenge and not worth the bother of entering stupid messages. Remember also, this isn't targeted at the mainstream BBS crowd.

How do you run a system then, with upwards of 500 different people per month? Get a Fido or other large scale (large resource) type program, which fits those sort of installations perfectly. .pa OK, enough: what's on the disk

The end result of all the crap in the Pup package is two programs and a few support files:

PUP.EXE the Pup program

     SET-PUP.EXE     the Pup installer
     PUP.SET         Pup configuration text file
     FIDO2PUP.EXE    Fido to Pup message converter

WELCOME.PUP the initial welcome message

     FILES.PUP       list of download files
     MAIN.HLP        various help files ...
     MESSAGE.HLP     ...
     EDIT.HLP        ...

PUPPY.SYS main system file

     MESSAGE.DAT     the message base itself
     MESSAGE.IDX     the message bsae index

SET-PUP reads the text file PUP.SET and compiles it into the PUPPY.SYS file that contains the installation type goodies (modem type, node number, limits and controls) and creates an empty message base, if one doesn't already exist.

PUP is the BBS program, and reads all the other junk.

FIDO2PUP puts any Fido .MSG messages into the Pup message base, and leaves the highest numbered one as the Top message. Gives you something to start with.

.pa The complete list of files is:


Various tools for compilation: C.BAT PUP MAKE file PUP.LNK PLINK command file IBM.LIB pclone serial driver library DRIVER.DOC Pup/Fido driver specification

PUPMAIN.C Pup main() and main loop PUP.C Pup commands MSGBASE.C the message base system FILES.C Pup file commands QUOTE.C signon quotations SCHED.C the scheduler EDIT.C message editor XMODEM.C XMODEM/TELINK protocol handler MODEMIO.C (not so) low level I/O MDMFUNC.C modem drivers SUPPORT.C misc. support routines PRINTF.C a real printf() MS-C.C DOS dependent C routines MS-ASM.ASM DOS dependent ASM routines ABORT.ASM

FIDO2PUP.C Fido msg converter SET-PUP.C config program

PUP.SET sample config file FILES.PUP sample files list WELCOME.PUP sample welcome file QUOTES.PUP sample quotations MAIN.HLP sample help files MESSAGE.HLP EDIT.HLP .pa .he Implementation Notes


Data structures and other definitions of global importance to Pup are in PUPPY.H, which is included by all .C files in Pup. When you change this file, recompile all modules; the make file provided will do this with RMAKE.EXE from Phoenix Software.

Global static data is defined in PUPMAIN.C, and references to it via #extern's are in PUPMEM.H. All sources except PUPMAIN.H include PUPMEM.H. It's the easiest way I've found to manage external data; the one time it's a pain is if you add or delete a global variable (in PUPMAIN.C); you have to recompile everything. Oh well.


The serial I/O driver provided, IBM.LIB, is for pclones only; you will need to write equivelant routines for whatever your machine is, even on CP/M. Most are pretty simple, and even polled is OK; Pup will even allow typeahead on polled machines, due to the lookeahead done in MODEMIO.C.

Note that the drivers as defined in DRIVER.DOC are rather complex; you don't need anything but the low level serial parts. (Poke through MODEMIO) Why not prune DRIVER.DOC and pass out a proper version?

Pup uses a three or four wire modem installation. It needs:

Tx Data obviously

     Rx Data         obviously
     Ground          obviously
     CD              Carrier Detect (pin 6 or 8)
     DTR             Data Terminal Ready (pin 20)

DTR is optional; see below.

Pup has a parameter "cd-bit" in PUP.SET; this is the bit mask pup uses to check for CD on the serial port. Pup ANDs the contents of the status register with the cd-bit, and if the result is not zero, then the modem is assumed to be online.


Basically, the I/O system is the same as Fido and has all of it's features: full typeahead, output pause (^S, ^Q), background abort-detect (^C, ^K), typeahead flush (^F), "command-ahead" (ie. "D N FILENAME.EXT X" executes a whole download command skipping all the prompts), formatted I/O, complete carrier loss detection with no programmatic overhead, dead-user timer, full time limit enforcement.

In theory, you should never have to mess with anything in MODEMIO. And be careful if you do, it's filled with recursive and effecient stuff, and I think it's pretty well documented. It does a lot just as it stands; it is four years accumulated work and experience.


As implemented, Pup will support just about any Hayes type modem. The modem must have a CD (Carrier Detect) line. DTR is reccomended, but not required.

The initialization specified in PUP.SET should set the modem to numeric result codes and autoanswer OFF. Pup answers the phone by waiting for a RING result code, then issuing an ATA command, and waiting for the CONNECT 1200 (or 2400, etc) message, and then assumes it's online and connected. No hocus pocus or complicated autobaud.


This is the endless "Intel" vs. "Motorola" argument. I really don't care either way; neither does Pup. The only part that cares about byte order is the FidoNet interface, and there you have no choice.

The only time this might matter is if you were to generate a message base on a Z80 and physically copy it to a 6502 machine; you'd have to convert byte order. For locally- generated data, it's not an issue.


I tried to keep things down to two kinds of portability problems: C language data typing and O/S functionality.

On C data types, most things don't care; general purpose counters etc are just "int"s, etc. For ones that matter, almost all want to be either 8 or 16 bit data. For these, I defined two types: BYTE and WORD. In the Lattice 2.12/MSDOS version, BYTE is defined as char, and WORD as int. Change accordingly to fit your system. These are defined in PUPPY.H.

Any/all of you can reach Tom Jennings by dialing his BBS number: 415-764-1629

Please *do not* send email to me; I haven't compiled the program and don't yet know how it works.

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