Hamming It Up On Linux

In an effort to corrupt the readers of Linux Journal, Brian asks you to take a pair of hypothetical binoculars (preferable of the “X-ray” genre so popular in old comic books) and become a “Peeping Tom” with him, looking into two very different homes.
An Amateur TCP/IP Gateway Tour

In visiting a TNOS system, you will find many things that are familiar. Various core Internet protocols are supported, such as FTP, SMTP, POP, ICMP. Many familiar applications, like finger, can also be found.

You will find things that are new, too. A telnet connection, rather than a login to a shell program, will find you placed in a Packet Bulletin Board System. You will find specialized information servers and other goodies.

And then there are conference bridge applications. These are the amateur radio equivalant of IRC. You could be “chatting” with amateurs around the world.

I said “could” because most Amateur Radio gateways are secured very heavily: partly for the same reasons that you would secure your system on the Internet, and also because Amateur Radio operators have certain laws to which they are held accountable regarding the content of the information transmitted over their radios.

What Next?

AX.25 support has been added to the Linux kernel, and it is maturing quite well, thanks to the efforts of Alan Cox and several others. As this becomes more and more usable, the large xNOS applications will probably become history, with their unique functions becoming stand-alone daemon programs which will run in the background. Several TNOS-specific features have already been made into stand-alone programs. Additional Internet services will become readily available via Amateur Radio, e.g. Gopher, World Wide Web, NNTP, etc.

So, expect to see increasing numbers of Amateur Radio operators coming to Linux. You can take this as a welcome addition, as they are some of the most innovative and technologically sound individuals to be found. Now, when you read magazine articles that say that both the Internet and wireless technologies are on the increase, maybe you will have a better understanding as to why.

Brian A. Lantz has been a software developer in embedded and multi-user systems for the last 15 years, specializing in device drivers, communications and networking. Aside from being employed by Utility Partners, Inc., in Tampa, FL, he spends most of his idle time hacking on Linux, helping with the local Amateur Radio network and running an amateur radio gateway to the Internet. Sleeping is attended to occasionally. He welcomes your comments, sent to brian@lantz.com.