FBB (Packet BBS)

FBB is a Packet Radio BBS. This page has a bit of information about it.

FBB Administrators / Sysops

For people that maintain FBB.


The main place for documentation is the file formats page under the documentation section of f6fbb.org. What they call init.srv is called /etc/ax25/fbb.conf on my system and has a more friendly but different format. Everything else is pretty much as documented.

Initial Tips

The first time you run fbb, it creates the config files. This is rather different than regular Unix tradition and came as a surprise to me.

You can log into it locally with /usr/sbin/xfbbC -r -c -i YOURCALL though this logs you in with sysop privileges.

New Features

Many new features in FBB aren’t mentioned in the regular documentation. These include SMTP, NNTP, and POP interfaces, plus JNOS-style @areas in themes.sys. And “new” here means, roughly, “new since 1999”. Some of them are documented fairly well in the CHANGES file.


  • FBB’s POP server provides a nice way for people to read P messages directed to them.

  • FBB’s NNTP server provides a nice way for people to read bulletins and post. Each themes.sys theme is presented as a newsgroup.

  • SMTP provides a way for people to send P messages.

  • None of its gateways provide a way to transmit or read traffic.

Here are some tips:

  • Set your From line to CALL@BBS.HIER (that is, your full hierarchical address)

  • The Newsgroups line for bulletins posted should be set to CALL@DEST – for instance, LINUX@WW. Note that this will be different than the Newsgroups line for incoming bulletins, which will be set according to THEMES.SYS.

  • The NNTP server is buggy. See the tips at Modern Clients With FBB

  • POP requires authentication; set a password with EU. You may also have to set flags like modem – not sure on that. NNTP requires authentication to post. SMTP does not support authentication at all.

Homepage and Releases

The FBB homepage is http://www.f6fbb.org/. Old releases and some documentation is available there. However, newer versions are not appearing there. The newest version as of Dec 2010 is 7.04r13, which is available at http://f6bvp.free.fr/logiciels/BBS-f6fbb/xd704r13-src.tar.bz2. Other releases can probably be expected to appear at http://f6bvp.free.fr/logiciels/BBS-f6fbb.

Held Bulletins and First Line Issues

The default reject.sys will hold pretty much all bulletins. Sometimes this also causes bulletins to get a corrupted first line. I suggest starting with an empty reject.sys.

Misc notes

These should be organized better.

From f6bvp, 12/19/2010:

  Hi All,

  As always it is strongly recommended to read README file to get elementary instructions on how to compile and install any software.

  For more practical details, you may have a look at FPAC MINI HOWTO
  chapter dedicated to installing FBB (with or without the unvaluable
  level 3 ROSE network packet switch router FPAC, written by F6FBB).


  Then, for configuring FBB, sysops may read Charley's K4GBB text

  Complete FBB software documentation may be browsed here

  and you can download the following files :



Packet BBSs like FBB (Packet BBS) work great for what they’re intended to do: provide access to messaging within a low-bandwidth environment. They, however, don’t do a good job of things such as tracking what bulletins you’ve already read.

Packet radio, also known as AX.25, is a specific type of Digital Amateur Radio. Packet radio works somewhat like the Internet in that it splits communications into discrete packets, performs error checking on these packets, automatically requests retransmision of packets that arrived with errors, and thus provides a reliable and error-free communication channel.