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== AmiTCP 3.0b2: A HowTo                           By: Keith Christopher ==

     Ok so you're back in school and you dailup the Academic computing
center.  You are riding down the information super highway sitting behind
the cockpit of an amiga, It's unfortunate that you have this masterful
multitasking machine and you are limited to one serial connection.  Oh the
things you could do if you could open more than one win- dow and while that
ftp to the local aminet site that travels obiviously through a 56K line
somewhere has you reading the jolt cola can in your hand was happening you
could be surfing along the internet dropping by all your favorite road side
stops.  My kingdom for a A2065 card and a network connection.  A little
more time goes by and you are reading the 5 empty cans on your desk as you
download the latest bounty you've ftp'd from the aminet archive.  You know
there's something BIG going on in #amiga on the irc server, yet you have to
wait; after all you only have one modem, one serial port, and no network
connection.  Sound familiar ?  No?!  Maybe you are in your basement and you
have di- aled into the local on-ramp to the information super highway, same
situation.  There you are flipping screens between Adpro and Deluxe paint,
you've already drawn your name several hundred times, there has to be more.
Where's that #?S($*# on-ramp brochure.  Hmm, lets see.  .  .  Meanwhile
back at school you have decided that you will now be up all night pumped
with caffiene and need to solve this problem, where did I put the Aca-
demic Computing notes and announcement bulletin ?  Like an Archeologist you
begin to explore the depths of the piles of disks and cables, then you spy
it!  Blowing the dust off reveals a big wad of gun stuck in the middle
covering some bold face type, lets just carefully scrape it off.  .  .  The
only thing missing in this brochure is a bikini clad girl sitting behind a
terminal.  .  .  you open the brochure breaking the little white edge seal,
oh there she is, what's this next to her ?  You begin to read.  .  .  As
the gum comes off you begin sweating as you try not to damage the hidden
informatin below.  Worse yet, it's not even your gum.  Your eyes light up
as you see the message below.  ..  Your mouth slowly mo- tions out the
word.  .  .  SLIP.  .  .  That's it slip!  You dance around a little happy
with your new found information, then when the glow of discovery wears off
you stop and begin thinking.  .  .  Now what.

     While the above may be fictitious I do know one thing for sure, the
end result is the same.  Whether you come on via an on-ramp or have a
connection via work or school, one sure begins to miss the network
connection once at home.  10megabits per second over ethernet makes 1650
CPS via 14.4 dialup pale in comparison.  The ability to connect multipule
times from work leaves one dry at home with a single serial con- nection.
This is where SLIP comes into play, sure there are other protocols and I
will talk about them later, but one of the most common is SLIP.  SLIP
stands for Serial Line Inter- net Protocol.  Basically TCP/IP style
connection over standard serial lines.  While a multi- tude exist for the
various other computers, in my opinion the Amiga has only one hard core
performer.  AmiTCP (current version 3.0.)

     While several programs exist that simulate a SLIP or network
connection, they do not talk IP.  One of the most popular being Dnet by
Matt Dillion of DICE fame.  Dnet brought some tools to the Amiga that were
under development on other platforms, and I still think it has one of the
nicest irc clients available.  (hint hint Matt, write one for AmiTCP !) The
second being AUW.  This program is much easier to install than Dnet but
doesn't have the expanse of the tools as available for dnet.  It does
however, work well.  By far AmiTCP is becoming one of the fastest and most
popular packages available on the Aminet.  Before I begin in the setup and
configuration of AmiTCP, I will first need to explain a few terms I will be
using.  These are necessary to help you as the first timer, or the person
stuck and not sure what to check an idea of how things work and how they
relate to your setup.

Internet Protocol or IP: The protocol used by internet hosts to communicate
with one another in a standard format.

Internet Protocol Address: An address or series of numbers seperated by or
IP address peroids assigned to a machine that "talks" IP which identifies
it to ALL other machines on the internet.  This should be a unique number.
e.g. also known as dot notation.?

Domain Name service or DNS: A service that "resolves" hostnames into its
unique Internet address.  e.g.  If a machine is named with an
IP address of, and one wanted to connect with this machine, I
could telnet to, IP however, cannot understand this and the
name must be "looked up" to find out it is known to the network as routing Tables that tell a host what "route" to take to send a
message to another host on the network.  i.e.  send it to this machine and
then this machine to this machine until it hits it's destination.  This is
a very critical part of talking on the internet, if the tables are
incorrect the computers may lose the ability to talk to anyother machine
off of their local network.

     Ok now the moment you've been waiting for.  The AmiTCP has lots of
files associated with it, there is the bin or binary archive.  This is the
one that has the main programs in it to get AmiTCP up and running.  There
are many many network programs available for AmiTCP like finger, ping, ftp,
telnet, napsaterm(a vt100 emulator), an irc client, a gopher client.  .  .
the list goes on and more are produced everyday.  This is a very well
supported package.

     The basic installation requires OS 2.04 or better, 1MB of RAM and
approx 2MB of diskspace.

     Upon un-archiving the package and double clicking he drawer icon one
is greeted by a very welcomed sight, an installer icon !

     I do recommend that you unarchive the package in it's final resting
place.  i.e.  Comm:AmiTCP30b2

     This will save alot of time in the installation process.  If there is
an old version of AmiTCP it must be removed first and then install the new

     Once you've figured out where you want to store AmiTCP, double
clicking on the install_AmiTCP icon starts the ball rolling.

     Before doing this however I have assembled a checklist of information
in the order it is requested by the install script.  Hopefully it will help
you streamline your thoughts.  Please look this over and have the
information written down.

1. hostname your computer will be assigned (without the domain):
2. Domain name:
3. Type of connect SLIP or CSLIP:
4. serial.device number (unit number):
    This number is usually 0 unless you have a second serial port.
5. your machines IP address:
6. NetMask:
7. Gateway:
8. Domain Name Server IP and Name: 
9. default router IP address:(same as #7)
10. SLIP dialin number:
11. SLIP login and password:

     Now that you have the information ready lets begin by double clicking
on the Install_AmiTCP icon.  This is a standard installer script so it
should feel fairly familiar, if this is your first time using the installer
script, please read each section carefully and proceed slowly.

     It is another nice to notice the "Help" button, there is alot of
useful information behind each one.  Be sure to check them out.

     Default selection (intermediate [if you were an expert you wouldn't
need this article would you ?] ) Install for real and you decide if you
want to log it the directory you want to install AmiTCP in.  
Selecting the default directory will save you lots of copying time and this
is the main reason I suggest you unarchive it in its final home on your

     Next installer will ask you the name of your host without the domain.
<enter #1 from your list> Installer will ask you for your domain name.
<enter #2 from your list> It will now prompt you to decide if you want to
set any enviroment variables using set- env or envarc, I recommend envarc.
Next it will prompt you for any aliases you wish to use for this hostname.
<hit proceed> The installer will ask you to select a device driver.  
<select from #3 above> (hint : rhslip.device = SLIP and rhcslip.device =
CSLIP.) (If you are unsure about this one select rhslip.device as CSLIP
understands standard SLIP.) You will be prompted for a serial.device
number.  <enter from #4 above> Now you will need to enter your IP address.
<item #5 above> You will be prompted for an address of a "point to point
address" <hit proceed> You will be prompted for a netmask.  <enter iten #6>
(if item #6 is not given simply hit return.)

     Installer will then ask you if the information you've entered is
correct.  <click proceed>

     You will again be prompted to select another SANA-II driver to
configure, click proceed.

     Installer will prompt you for a gateway machine IP address, <enter #7
if available, if not simply slick proceed.> Enter search Domain <enter item
#2 click proceed, when prompted again click proceed> Enter the IP address
of the Domain Name Server (DNS) <enter #8 then click proceed.> If another
name servers IP address is provided by your internet provider you will be
prompted to enter the information.  if not simply click proceed again.  Do
you want AmiTCP to be started at system startup?  Unless you have a FULL
time SLIP connect I suggest you select NO, selecting YES here without a
full time SLIP connection will cause AmiTCP to grab the serial.device and
effectively disable it for other system uses.  In a machine that has only
one serial port, this can be an awful thing.  Do you want the installer to
make the desired changes to you s:user-startup ?  select YES, this save
alot of time editing the file and adding the aliases and a path to your
user-startup.  Do you want the inetd to be started at AmiTCP startup?
Select YES.  This program contains vital information for AmiTCP to access
system re- sources.  The system will tell you you are done and to reboot
your machine.

     So what are you waiting for reboot your machine.  (seriously though
this is a necessary step.  so go ahead and reboot.  be sure and save that
final writer (TM) document; oh!  sorry.)

     Congratulations!  If you've entered the information correctly you are
on the down side of a long battle to install and use AmiTCP.

Where angels fear to tread .  .  .

     This portion is going to get a little tricky and I will outline some
terms and definitions for you.  The startnet script provided with AmiTCP
will not properly start AmiTCP once your're connected.  There is some
editing to be done.  Below is what the default AmiTCP startnet script looks

run AmiTCP:AmiTCP
WaitForPort AMITCP
; configure loop-back device
AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig lo/0 localhost
; Configure Devs:Networks/rhslip.device unit 0
AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig Devs:Networks/rhslip.device/0
; Add route to this host
AmiTCP:bin/route add localhost
Assign TCP: Exists > NIL:
IF Warn
  Mount TCP: from AmiTCP:devs/Inet-Mountlist
; Start the internet `super server'
run AmiTCP:bin/inetd

     The problem lies with several lines in the script.  We will edit this
file with a normal text editor like Ed or Textra.  Lets begin editing the

 The first being the following line:

AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig lo/0 localhost

     The device lo/0 does not exist in the INTERFACES file in the AmiTCP:db
directory.  This file lists all available devices for use with AmiTCP.
While one can edit this file to reflect the changes needed it is much
easier to edit the startnet file in AmiTCP:bin.  Since there are other
changes that will need to be made as well.

     The devices are listed in the interfaces file as:

lo dev=amitcp:devs/networks/rhslip.device
slip dev=devs:networks/rhslip.device

     So we will change the line :

AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig lo/0 localhost

     To read:
AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig slip0

     and add a line that says:

AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig lo0

     This basically configures the system to use device slip and lo at port
0 and get the information needed to configure the devices from the
interfaces file.  The device slip0 is the outgoing or the external network
port.  lo0 is the local or loopback port.  (This allows one to call one's
machine from itself.  i.e.  telnet from your machine to your machine.)

     The next line that needs editing it a little more obscure than the
previous line(s) we edited/added.  This is the line:

AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig Devs:Networks/rhslip.device/0

     This line further configures the port slip0 with several identifiers,
your IP address, the IP address of the gateway machine (if there is one)
and the netmask.  This is configured by default from the information
entered in the installer script.  This situation will not work mainly
because the syntax is wrong, it should look something like this.

AmiTCP:bin/ifconfig slip0 netmask

     The line "reads" as follows: call program ifconfig to define network
device slip0 with the IP address of and a gateway address of and a network mask of  (default Class C)

     The next line, route to this host is ok as configured.  I did not need
to edit it.  We will however need to add a default network if we want to go
out and explore the world.  (we have to know the route to get there.) Note:
If you entered a default gateway this line should be correct if not,
continue on.

     Most on-ramps and schools use the first IP address in its class for
all routing, this is typically ending in 0 (zero.) in the above example the
router is, well to enable our path to reach out through there
we need to let it know that's the way to go, we do this be adding the
following lines to the startnet script just below the slip0 configuration
line above.  The lines read (one of them being a comment line):

; Add route to the default gateway
AmiTCP:bin/route add default

     The router's IP address is listed in your list of 11 prerequistes
under item #9.  The line beginning with a ";" is the comment line, this is
not read by the system.  The line "reads" pretty straight forward: call the
route program and let me default route (unless otherwise specified) be  i.e.  send my packets that go out of my local do- main to
this device so it may forward them to the recipient machine.  The rest of
the file can be left alone it is fine as it is.  Double check your entries
and save your file.

Back on high ground.

     Now that you've installed and configured the heart of AmiTCP, will
will need to check/tweek some other files.  These can be found in AmiTCP:db
and are called hosts and netdb.  These files hold some important network
information to allow us to talk to other hosts once connected. 

     The hosts file contains system IP addresses and names, as well as any
aliases you may wish to add.  for example, our DNS machine is called and has an IP address of, to type out or the IP address will usually take alot of typing depending on
the hostname.  (wait until you see some of the German host- names!) The
hosts file also allows one to assign an alias or shortcut to the name.  I
could simply type telnet dns in lieu of typing telnet  The
entries are as fol- lows:

IP address      HOSTNAME                alias             dns

     This says to the system the IP address is assigned to the hostname and
can be address by the alias.  There should be an entry in this file for the
local host DO NOT remove this entry.  The hosts file can also speed up
accessing other systems.  The system will first try to resolve the hostname
into an IP address by looking in the hosts table to see if it exists, if it
finds it, it will stop trying to resolve and grab the information provided
and make the connection.  If it does not exist in the hosts file the system
then looks to the netdb file for a listing of name servers.  The netdb file
should look something like the fol- lowing:

; This host
HOST slip
; Domain names
; Name servers
WITH protocols PREFIX=P
WITH services PREFIX=S

     The information is fairly straight forward, first listing the local
host machine, next listing the domain and then thirdly listing the
nameservers.  This is how AmiTCP knows which host to ask to resolve names
intto IP addresses from.  The last lines are add per the
Amitcp:db/protocols file and the services file:

; protocols -- the protocol database file for AmiTCP/IP
; This file shouls be included from netdb-file with following line:
; WITH protocols PREFIX=P

; services -- the services database file for AmiTCP/IP
; This file shouls be included from netdb-file with following line:
; WITH services PREFIX=S

      Now that everything has been checked out and is set lets make a

All setup and nowhere to go.

      OK, all we need to do now is dialin and start AmiTCP for a SLIP
connection!  There are only a few steps involved in this and they are
fairly straight forward.  I will be referring to Term 4 by Olaf Barthel as
my choice of terminal programs.  Terminus will also work well with this
configuration.  Napsaterm, the vt100 emulator packaged with AmiTCP, can
also be used to dialin with; I have not tried this however.

1) Run the terminal program of choice by double clicking its icon.
2) Dial the internet service provider using the number listed in item #10
3) Once connected enter the login and password.

     NOTE: Some slip setups only require a loginID and password, SLIP
starts automatically.  However there are others that require a command to
be typed from the prompt, i.e.  SLIP,slip .  .  .  Check with your internet
provider to find out how it is invoked on their host.

4) Once SLIP has been started on the host (either auto or manual), select
release serial device from the menu or Iconify or quit the program while
still online.  The latter being a much sloppier way of freeing the
serial.device.  The serial.device MUST be freed to start AmiTCP!  If you
are using Terminus for instance issuing AT&D0 before dialing will allow the
modem to stay online after the terminal program is exited.  (I added this
to my startup init string.)

5) Once the serial.device is freed, open a cli and type:
"AmiTCP:bin/startnet" (without the quotes.  The path should be set in
S:user-startup but I always type paths out for some reason.  In other words
typing startnet from the CLI will also work.)

You should see something like the following:

4.Comm:AmiTcp3/bin> startnet
[CLI 1]
lo0: flags=8<LOOPBACK>
add net default: gateway
[CLI 5]

     This signifies that AmiTCP has started successfully.  If for some
reason it did not start successfully then it will open a CLI window at the
top of the screen and display an erro message.

     That's it!  now you're connected !  The world is your oyster, all you
need to do is know where to go and what to use and how to use it.  Well
I'll be covering that in my next few articles, there's lots of things to do
with AmiTCP, this is just the tip of a VERY large ice- berg.  You are now
running one of the hottest programs available on the internet !

     Check out my sidebar titled Now What?  It should give you an idea of
things to do and places to go to begin checking out the internet.  Happy
surfing, !

     Upon validating my "HOW TO" guide I was informed by the AmiTCP team
that the next release of AmiTCP will circumvent most of the editing and
headaches involved with installing and setup of version 3.0x AmiTCP.  I was
also informed that the next version will be released as commercial.  While
this may be upsetting to some who have enjoyed the freedom of getting this
software and running it with reckless abandon they seem to forget that
there is a team of people putting hard work behind this software (as with
all other shareware.) The tenative cost will be 99$ and offer preorder
discounts and Student pricing.  (I hope they come up with a cool logo and
disk label.) If you use it now it looks like the commercial version will
only be better, I do recommed supporting them, since C=`s TCP/IP stack was
dead after its release due to no support/updates.  (Keith stepping down
from his soapbox.)