intro - Introduction to networking


This document describes the procedures for linking your ProLine system with ProLine and Unix sites. It does not describe how networking operates. It simply presents the steps required to configure your system to exchange network traffic.

0. Get Experienced and Organized

Learn to use the local mail and conferencing systems. Be sure you understand all facets of manipulating mail on your own system before you send mail to someone else’s. Study all the manuals that discuss the networking commands and tools. You should at least know what there is to learn and where it can be found for reference later on.

Second, determine which site you should link up with first. Invariably, new sites all want to connect with pro-sol, the ProLine system run by the Morgan Davis Group. This is no longer a good idea. Pro-sol is currently connected to more systems than is good for it. With all these connections on a single-line system, it is nearly impossible to get past the busy signals. You would do well to seek connections with another site.

Third, once you choose a site, contact its administrator for permission. If all is well, exchange information with the administrator to establish a connection. Find out what the system’s fastest baud rate is, when and how often it would be best to call, exchange identification codes (discussed later on), and make sure your spelling matches.

1. Create the MDSS Account

If you’ve already created the mdss account, skip to the next section.

To allow a remote ProLine system to call yours in order to exchange mail, you must create a special entry in your password file. This process has been automated by accessing a hidden menu from plush, the ProLine Users Shell and is documented in the Installation part of the ProLine manual. From the Main Menu in plush, type asterisk (*) to open the hidden Setup Menu. Press M to create the mdss account. When a ProLine site calls your system, it uses this “mdss” account.

2. Run the Mksite Script

The mksite script performs most of the steps required in getting connectivity set up. These include:


Creating an mdss directory


Adding an idfile entry (see mdss for details).


Bringing up the L.sys file for you to edit (see poll for details).

Run the mksite script from the Networking Maintenance menu in plush.

3. Set Up the Scanner

When the previous items are completed, add an entry into your $/etc/crontab file using any text editor. The entry can contain the scan command as shown in this sample crontab file:

Day ## Mon HH MM Command * * * * 15 scan * * * 03 20 csh maint -r

In this example, the scan command executes 15 minutes after the hour, every hour, though you can program it for any frequency you require. Scan searches the $/mdss site subdirectories for any mail to deliver. When done, it calls upon poll to make the connections, which in turn calls upon mdss to transfer the mail.

You could also enter a single poll command in your crontab file. This causes the site to be polled at the specified time whether or not there is anything to send. The command format would be “poll pro-site”.

A better, though initially more complicated approach is to invoke a script containing scan, poll, or any other mail processing commands from your crontab file. Putting these commands into a script ensures that every step is processed. If they were individual cron entries, a task may be skipped if the system is busy with other work. Here’s an example of invoking a “mailtask” script:

Day ## Month HH MM Command * * * * 15 csh mailtask

4. Submit Your Map

After establishing a link with any site, you must submit an updated map entry file. See the map(NET) manual for details on creating, updating, and submitting your map.

5. Care and Feeding

You now know the step-by-step procedures for getting networked. Note, however, that there is more to it all than the steps listed above. ProLine sports a battery of utilities for maintaining and tracking network mail activity. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with these tools.

Setting up a link with additional sites is easy. You need only to run mksite the next time you wish to network with a new site.

Keep an eye on your log files. They can grow like a cancer and eat up all your disk space. It is a good idea to implement a “log file rotation” scheme as part of your automated daily maintenance activities.

Summary Checklist

0. Get Experienced and Organized
1. Create the MDSS Account
2. Add the site
3. Set Up the Scanner
4. Submit Your Map
5. Care and Feeding


systems file for dialing and logging in,
site identification file,
connecting site subdirectories,
storage of map entry files.

See Also

mksite(NET), rmsite(NET), maint(ADM), map(NET), mdss(NET), poll(NET), scan(NET)