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8. How to use LinFBB's "xfbbW", a GUI client for Windows


Notice: Well, folks, I couldn't try to install and use LinFBB client for Windows, because I have not had a second computer for that purpose. The only way to check how this client works, was to borrow a laptop machine and give it a try.

The first task was to link that Windows laptop to a Linux desktop. I had some difficulties with the network card on the desktop box, because it seemed not to be likely to start the appropriate eth0 interface. I'll give you some more details about the equipment here: Linux is Red Hat 6.2 and my ISA network card has UMC UM9008 chip. Long ago, I used some utilities that should "recognize" ISA cards (if I remember their names, that were isapnptools, pnpdump etc).

What I do know, is that such tools should have add some new lines into the existing files, like /etc/conf.modules or, to create some new files, like /etc/isapnp*. Well, I have forgotten what exactly should be done, so I went to look for the right tools. The one that was looking suitable was /sbin/isapnp. Although I got its response on the screen, telling that the UM9008 chip was recognized, there was nothing added to the system files, nor new files seemed to be created.

What I also tried to use, was the old good Linuxconf tool, that was already installed per default within RH 6.2 Linux. I found the right place to add the information related to NIC's IRQ and I/O address. There I seemed to make a little mistake, so I put the value of 220 (for the I/O address), instead of 0x220 that would better fit. The result was as one may expect: the interface eth0 continued to report that a ne module had not found a card at that one address. Then I checked the actual I/O address the card uses under Windows OS (was the same) and tried to fix the parameters (Thanks goes to a UK ham who advised me to have to let Linux know the proper IRQ and I/O addresses).

Interestingly, Linuxconf added a couple of new lines into /etc/conf.modules too. In short, the next time during the system boot, the interface eth0 reported a green [OK], so I could establish the link. So far - so good.

The next task was to download the client package from the FBB's main site. I did it from the "Newest version" web page and the number of the version was 1.12 (it seems that was not a pretty much new version, or maybe the content on that "newest" page has not been updated recently - another task for Jean-Paul?). Anyway, I installed it without any problem, configured its part related to the LinFBB server it was about to access, changed the console font to my favorite one (Tahoma) and started the utility.

At the first sight, the client looked great, because Linux clients still prefer so small letters, that are hard to read (compared to characters on a Windows screen). Now I tried the most used commands like List, Read, Send Reply etc. All of them worked great. What I have found a bit strange, was that the message justification did not work in its message editor window. You see, I like my messages to be justified on both sides. I hope a solution for that problem will be found soon.

Another issue with xfbbW client is that seems not to allow a multiple click onto more than one BBS callsign within pending forward list, comparing to WinFBB's behavior. You know, I am not very fond of opening the same pending forward window repeatedly again and again, in order to start (or to stop) more than one forwarding action.

In general, I like xfbbW client. I hope to install some newer version(s) soon, and I hope some of its features will be upgraded and some new ones will be added in the future. What I would also like to have, is to activate the maintenance of the BBS (a "housekeeping" task) from that client's menu. Another thing I miss at the moment, is the absence of the xfbbW's help system. I mean of a real Windows help, because there's not much use of a Help menu, having only Copyright and About information :-))

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