A point program is software for the automated exchange of data with a mailbox system , ie the sending and receiving of private and public messages (similar to e-mail and news ) and possibly even programs and other files as well as their processing and management. Point programs are optimized to keep the online times as short as possible. For this reason, the data to be transmitted is usually compressed before a dial-up connection to the mailbox computer has been established.
The name originally comes from FidoNet , in which the individual user is referred to as a point .
In the mid- 1980s , private mailbox networks emerged - not only in the USA but also in Germany - which exchanged data with one another over the telephone line at regular intervals. The users connected to the individual mailboxes could (and in some cases still can today) exchange electronic messages at low cost and discuss them in public forums. Since these mailboxes were mainly operated by private individuals, they had only a few telephone lines. Small mailboxes usually only had one line for operation, larger two or rarely three, more lines were the absolute exception. So if a user was currently online, he blocked the line for other mailbox users. By using point programs, the online time of the individual user could be kept as short as possible, so that more users had the opportunity to call up their data.
As a side effect, the user's wallet was spared. In addition, the user did not have to deal with the partly cryptic and quite spartan surface of the mailbox, but was relatively free in the software within the scope of personal taste and preferences.
Examples of well-known point programs especially in the German FidoNet are the now largely extinct yuppie! and the multi-network program CrossPoint , as well as rbPoint, which are still used today in various version lines .