About the FTN Clearing Houz

Welcome to the FTN Clearing Houz.

FTN is an abbreviation for FidoNet Technology Network, and the most well known FTN is "FidoNet" that still exists today. There were many other "Othernets" also created around that time and since, and some still in operation today as well.

FidoNet was born in the 1980's (well before the public Internet) when personal computers were being introduced to homes, and modems were being invented. Some very clever people developed protocols and standards to exchange mail and files with peers, with the network growing to around 40,000 systems in the mid 1990's. Those systems were called BBSes or Bulletin Board Systems. As "the Internet" became more accessible, the usage of FidoNet and BBSes drastically reduced, but there are some systems still in operation today.

The FTN Clearing Houz is both an FTN Mailer and FTN message tosser, where mail is stored internally in a DB, and files in an S3 bucket. It can also hatch and toss files into FTN networks for both upstream and downstream nodes.

It was created as an idea to bring modern technology and capabilities to that legacy computing network that existed in the 1980's and 1990's, where many of those programs from the 1980's and 1990's are still in use today too.

Setting up an FTN network is fun, but managing one for the longer term, in amongst our busy lives can involve some tedious repetitive tasks. In the same vain, maintaining and growing an FTN network also can be time consuming, especially when your effort (or lack thereof) can affect the experience of your users. So FTN Clearing Houz was created to help address that.

Building this software is driven by three main goals:

  1. Self Service - so that users can setup and re-jig their configuration themselves, or new users can join a network with the minimum of effort (relieving a dependancy on an admin to set you up, and thus freeing up time for those admins).
  2. Automation - so that repetitive tasks can be done with minimal effort.
  3. High Availability - So if one hub goes down, users can automatically connect to an alternate hub to keep mail flowing. Furthermore, as hubs retire, new hubs can assume the role of the retiring hub with minimal effort.

...all so that you can spend your time playing on your BBS rather than managing messages, failures or keeping an FTN network running.

For the BBS Sysop

For the BBS sysop, the FTN Clearing Houz has the following features:

For the FTN network operator

For the FTN network operator, the FTN Clearing Houz has the following features (or planned ones):

Other things

Other ideas that may make it into this tool:

If you are here to link to BBS, please get started by logging in.

Open Source

FTN Clearing Houz is built with Open Source software. At it's core, PHP drives this web UI and the interaction with nodes.

This web UI has been inspired by the great work at int10h.org. If you have ideas to make it even better, please send me a message, or submit your comments in gitlab

Other technology that drives the Clearing Houz

FTN Clearing Houz is made available by these technologies:

If you'd like to support enhancing Clearing Houz, Buy me a coffee!