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Fidonet is an amateur message network created in 1984 by Tom Jennings. It was originally conceived for users of his Fido Bulletin Board Software (BBS) to exchange messages between different systems. A message sent from a Fidonet system makes its way to the destination system via a store and forward approach. Fidonet’s popularity soared in the late 1980’s through the 1990’s. Fidonet-compatible software became available for different types of computers and operating systems. The network grew to a hierarchical distribution. The addressing scheme consists of Zones establishing the intercontinental presence. Regions and Nets comprise localities within the Zones. Nodes and Points comprise the sites and/or operators within a Net. Netmail is a message addressed and sent to another operator. Conference Mail, better known as Echomail, is a message that “echoes” to other systems so a conference of operators can reply. For many people, Echomail was Fidonet.

You will need Fidonet software or a BBS package capable of Fidonet connectivity. Traditionally, Fidonet mail and file packet “feeds” were provided by dialup modem lines, but most Fidonet systems today use the Internet to transfer Fidonet packets. BinkD is currently the most popular method. FTP and Telnet are also in use. Each Fidonet Zone produces its own unique Nodelist, updated either daily or weekly. The Daily Nodelist is the easiest method to ensure your Fidonet software has the most up-to-date Nodelist because it is refreshed daily. The weekly Nodelist is used in more “traditional” setups. It requires that your installed Nodelist be updated with changes known as differential files (NodeDIFF). You may not be able to update using differential files from different zones.

To be Nodelisted in Zone 1, you are required to demonstrate a basic operational system that can accept and process Netmail. Obtain the latest Nodelist or Dailylist, configure your Fidonet software or BBS package correctly, then send a Netmail message to the appropriate Region or Network Co-ordinator.

You may wish to consider applying as a Point system if you do not accept incoming connections or you prefer using Point software or a message reader. Several Point Hosts or BBS operators would be happy to assist.