1993-06-02 - Term software development/design

Header Data

From: greg@ideath.goldenbear.com (Greg Broiles)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: a176f849ed9ac514b0590a7a3ef01b55a6752020afef3b039710d598e0fdfda4
Message ID: <5y6H5B1w164w@ideath.goldenbear.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-06-02 05:14:46 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 22:14:46 PDT

Raw message

From: greg@ideath.goldenbear.com (Greg Broiles)
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 22:14:46 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Term software development/design
Message-ID: <5y6H5B1w164w@ideath.goldenbear.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain


Re development of crypto term software for PC and/or Unix platform(s):

It seems like there are three general ways to approach this problem:

1.      Offline reader style - ala QuickMail and its cronies - popular with
        DOS BBS's.
2.      Waffle/UUPC style.
3.      As an actual term program, but with an intelligent scrollback
        buffer/ASCII send module added.

I have, several times, wished for a "guerilla offline reader" - a reader to
collect all of the messages in all of the newsgroups (from my .newsrc file)
that I read on some arbitrary Unix box, collect them into a file, compress
it, and send them to my PC with Zmodem, so that I can browse at my leisure.
Waffle/UUPC and a newsfeed is a better solution, but requires the
cooperation of one's local sysadmin, who isn't necessarily interested in
feeding someone news at 2400 bps. The ironic thing is that they don't care
if you spend 4 hrs/day using that modem to read news - they just don't want
you to tie it up for 45 mins with a small newsfeed. (Yes, there is the
spool directory problem - and no, I don't think a flamewar about admins is
useful here.)

If we/I did something like this - it ought to be possible to
do it in a shell script, or shell script + awk - and incorporated the
means to receive/unpack a reply packet - I think it might be a good thing.
The basic idea is to expand the access one's got via a networked Unix box
to one's home machine, without necessarily requiring the permission or
knowledge of local sysadmins.

(No, I am not unfamiliar with the plight or circumstances of an arbitrary
Unix sysadmin. I administrate a small system now, have been in charge of
larger ones in the past, and have some experience with users doing peculiar
and squirrely stuff with one's machine. :) I also don't think that what
I'm proposing breaks either the letter or the intent of a reasonable
security policy - but it is the sort of thing to make a control freak
sysadmin go nuts.)

Seems like the best way to implement the term program would be to add
some intelligence to the "scrollback" (a buffer that holds the last 'n'
lines of text appearing on the screen) which would allow it to find,
extract, and process the --- BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE --- bits. The other
side of this would be a process which would, given the name of a file
on disk (or an editor buffer) locally, process it (sign,encrypt,whatever)
and upload the results. This would be interesting, but I dunno if we'd
be able to write something nice enough to become as widespread as Telix,
Procomm, or whatever. (I also wonder if it's possible to add hooks to
Telix/Procomm to do similar stuff.) 

For what it's worth, I have experience in C, and have fooled around with
little assembly programs to read/write the PC's serial port on an
interrupt-driven basis. (The use of a FOSSIL driver seems intelligent here,
though.) I have written a PGP keyserver to run as an attachment to a
DOS Waffle system, and intend to expand and improve that if I can get some
free time. I'm interested in working on this stuff but am less interested in
re-inventing any wheels.

Version: 2.2


Greg Broiles                            greg@goldenbear.com
Golden Bear Computer Consulting         +1 503 465 0325
Box 12005 Eugene OR 97440               BBS: +1 503 687 7764