Outpost Packet Message Manager

Winlink / RMS / Telpac BBS Support


Outpost v2.2 Release Highlights

Outpost v2.2 is now available with the main enhancement being Winlink / Telpac support.  See the Release Information for a list of other changes included in v2.2. 

Winlink, RMS, Telpac Support
Outpost's implementation of Telpac support opens the door for Outpost users to take advantage of the Winlink environment and a lot of the features that come with it.  Outpost has been enhanced to support capabilities limited to terminal mode operations, and includes the following:

  1. Internet message addressing.  Outpost allows a user to address a packet message to an individual using their internet email address.  Outpost supports the SMTP prefix that is required to identify a packet message destination as an internet address (example: SMTP:kn6pe@arrl.net).

  2. Multi-address destinations.  Outpost allows messages to be addressed to multiple individuals from its message form.  Once sent to the Telpac node, Winlink manages the message delivery from that point on.  For incoming multi-destination messages, Outpost will display all addresses in the TO: field thereby preserving the message address integrity.  Individuals listed on the CC: portion of the message will be listed in the TO: field as well.

    A new "Reply to All" option on the message form allows the user to send any reply back to all addressees.

    Note: An error message will be generated if the user attempts to send a multi-addressed message to a non-Telpac BBS (not supported on the BBS side).

  3. Message Display cleanup.  The Telpac headers contain the list of all destinations, both TO: and CC: for the incoming message.  Outpost will extract all header information from the main body of the message, and  preserve it for viewing in a separate window on the message form (View >> Packet Header).  This feature is implemented for Telpac as well as all other BBSs.

  4. BBS Prompt Detect.  Because of the way that Telpac and RMS nodes connect to a PMBO, there is no guarantee that the resulting Telpac prompt will be the same from one Outpost session to session.  Outpost now detects all BBS prompts regardless of the BBS type, and use that prompt for all BBS command and control.  Changes to the BBS Setup forms now default to the option: " Let Outpost determine the BBS and set up the prompts".  See the Telpac / RMS / Winlink BBS Information for details.

To preserve its compatibility with other existing BBS systems, Outpost will access Telpac by a terminal mode emulation.  In this mode, Outpost essentially emulates the manual keystrokes that you would perform when sitting in front of a terminal mode program such as Hyperterm, Pacterm, or Outpost's Interactive Packet Windows program. 

Limitations with the Outpost implementation are constrained to the limits of the terminal mode emulation approach.  These include:

  1. Message ForwardingOutpost does not implement the FBB B1 or B2 forwarding protocols.  Message exchanges with Telpac are handled using the standard Telpac interactive commands: SP, LM, R ###, etc.

  2. Attachments.  Because Winlink does not support attachments passed to Telpac, neither does Outpost.  However, there are ways to embedding small attachments into an Outpost message that can be managed within an Outpost environment.  Watch for an Application Note on this subject, and a future enhancement to support terminal mode attachments..

  3. Telpac Prompting.  Please see the Telpac / RMS / Winlink BBS Information, Outpost Notes section on considerations when selecting your Telpac station to use with Outpost. 

The Outpost implementation has had a good workout through the v2.2 Beta Test.  As usual, problems can be directed to KN6PE, or issues can be directed to the Outpost User Group

BBS Support
The other item of note for the v2.2 release is the change from an implicit BBS message processing scheme to a more explicit approach.  Up through release 2.1, when Outpost issued an LM (List Mine) command, it attempted to sort through the message list to extract the key pieces of data.  This approach grew in complexity with each new (and different looking) BBS and message list format.  This was true of Telpac as well. 

In v2.2, Outpost will now positively identify each BBS, then process the message list and message against a specific set of rules.  The up-side:  new BBSs can be added fairly quickly, and the BBS setup has been simplified.  The down-side: if you are using a BBS or PBBS that has not been previously identified, it may not work with Outpost v2.2 right out of the box.  If this is the case, see the procedure for how to get a BBS supported.  

See the list of Supported BBS and PBBSs here, along with the help for getting your BBS supported. 

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updated:  October 19, 2008