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BeeBEEP FAQ

Answers to the most frequently asked questions on BeeBEEP.

Last updated: Nov 12th, 2019


Why is BeeBEEP free?

Good question. I could talk for hours about what it means for me give BeeBEEP as a gift, the reasons are many and not always as obvious as it may seem. I'll tell you the two main ones.

The first reason is that basically I always look for personal growth in all the things I do. If this growth brings money then so much better for me, but it's not important as long as I have a roof to sleep under, some books and a computer where I can realize my ideas.

Regarding second main reason, BeeBEEP is a great computer gym. It gives me the opportunity to understand problems and find solutions. It allows me to grow professionally as not only as a programmer but also in managing everything that revolves around software.
BeeBEEP is part of my curriculum vitae.
BeeBEEP is something tangible that makes the difference more than any piece of paper.
BeeBEEP is like a letter of introduction signed by more than 50,000 users who used it every day in 2019.
BeeBEEP is my business card.

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With which license is BeeBEEP released?

From 2010 to today BeeBEEP is released under the GNU General Public License v3.

BeeBEEP Copyright (C) 2010-2019 Marco Mastroddi
BeeBEEP is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License or (at your option) any later version.
BeeBEEP is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

If you have questions or need more information, here's where to look for answers:

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Does BeeBEEP work even if my company has several locations with different networks configured?

Yes, it does, if the locations in your company are interconnected through a vpn or something similar.
The best performance test I know is that of a company with 5500+ workstations, in 700+ locations, span 5000+ kilometers with many ISP vendors (as the review on the homepage tells).

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Are file transfers and desktop sharing also encrypted?

Yes they are. Each BeeBEEP peer-to-peer connection is always encrypted with a 256-bit random key.

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What is the BeeBEEP resource folder?

It is the folder from which BeeBEEP loads its resource files: beebeep.rc configuration file, translations, plugins, default beep file (beep.wav) and other libraries. It is usually the same folder where the BeeBEEP executable is present. In unix systems the following folders will also be checked:

/etc/beebeep/
/usr/local/etc/beebeep/
/usr/lib/beebeep/
/usr/local/lib/beebeep/

The last path that is checked is the data folder.
You can see what is the default resource folder in the BeeBEEP menu Main - Open your resource folder...
If the menu item is not present then the resource folder is the same as the data.

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What is the beebeep.rc file?

It is a text file where the initial configuration of BeeBEEP is stored. It is mainly used to provide a series of standard options for use in your network.
Being a text file you can create it with any editor, like "Notepad" on Windows, "gedit" on Linux and "TextEdit" on MacOSX. Normally the file should be placed in the resource folder.

Please note that all options in the beebeep.rc file must be inserted after the [BeeBEEP] group.
To see which options have been enabled, open the BeeBEEP log.

Do you want an example on how to use the beebeep.rc file? Visit the online help.

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What is the BeeBEEP data folder?

It is the folder where BeeBEEP stores the data of the user who is using it as the configuration file (beebeep.ini), the log file (beebeep.log - only with option "Log to file" checked), the encoded file of sent messages (beebeep.dat) and that of unsent messages (beebeep.off).
Inside, there is also the cache folder with all the temporary files.
It can also be used as a resource folder for more customized configurations.
Open the BeeBEEP log to see the search order that is executed to load configuration, translation files and plugins.
You can see what is the data folder in the BeeBEEP menu Main - Open your data folder...

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Where does BeeBEEP save local user preferences?
What is the beebeep.ini file?

It is a text file where BeeBEEP stores the local user preferences.
You can also modify it with any text editor but remember to close BeeBEEP before editing this file otherwise all your changes will be lost.
Normally the file should be placed in the data folder.

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Where is the BeeBEEP log?

You can read the log of the current session by going to the BeeBEEP menu Main - Show the BeeBEEP log....

You can enable the option Log to file if you want to save logs and check them by a text editor. Usually the logs will be saved in the file data folder/beebeep.log.

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Why doesn't BeeBEEP have the chat graphics with "the balloons" like the other messengers?

BeeBEEP has been designed according to some fundamental principles. One of these is usability before beauty. Yes I know, we are often used to the contrary (for example, people tend to buy a shoe that is more beautiful than comfortable).

I used different programs with balloon graphics but, among other things, I found, for example, difficulties in copying multiple messages together. The BeeBEEP message viewer is something more like a web page than a classic messenger. This choice, without a doubt, allows a more professional use of messages in the office environment.

In the future, when the time available allows me, I am sure I can give the user the possibility to choose between usability and better graphics...

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Why do the BeeBEEP icons on my screen look grainy or too large?

Unfortunately in some cases the automatic recognition of the screen DPI does not work well.
This often happens when the scale factor is set to a size greater than 100%.
If this problem occurs, don't worry, it is easily solved with these steps:

  • Download the qt.conf file from this link.
  • Put the file in the same directory where the BeeBEEP executable is.
    You can find beebeep.exe in Windows usually in folder:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\BeeBEEP\
  • Restart BeeBEEP.

Reference: Ticket #584 on SourceForge.

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How to disable chat with all?

You must create the beebeep.rc configuration file if it does not already exist and disable the option EnableChatWithAllUsers.

Sample file content: beebeep.rc

[BeeBEEP]
EnableChatWithAllUsers = false

People will continue to see "Chat with all" but will not be able to send messages (so the channel can still be used by system administrators to send a message to everyone).

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How to use preset messages?

You can create predefined messages that can be recalled with a simple click.
In the chat window, near the icon of the emoticons, there is a letter icon.
A new window with an empty list is showed and you can add all preset messages you want to.
Just right click on the empty list and create new one.

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Can encryption be disabled?

Some time ago I would have told you no, but from version 5.7.5, yes it is possible and below I'll explain you why I made this decision.
To disable encryption you need to enable some options in the beebeep.rc file and you're done.

Sample file content: beebeep.rc

[BeeBEEP]
DisableEncryptedConnections = true
AllowNotEncryptedConnectionsAlso = true
AllowEncryptedConnectionsAlso = true

The "DisableEncryptedConnections" option tells BeeBEEP to try to contact the other BeeBEEPs on the network without using encryption.
The next two options give you the choice to accept encrypted connections or not. Combining these 3 options can create different situations.
First of all, choose your connection type. If you want to disable the encryption, put "true" to "DisableEncryptedConnections" otherwise "false".
At this point you can use the other two options to tell BeeBEEP how to deal with incoming connections. You will decide whether to accept those that are not encrypted in an encrypted environment or vice versa.

Please note that even if you have disabled encryption, the initial connection will be encrypted.
During this phase the two BeeBEEPs exchange a recognition key (of the type "hey, I am also a BeeBEEP"), the type of content that will pass into the communication channel that is being created (messages or file transfer) and if the data must be encrypted or not.
At the end of this negotiation, if the two BeeBEEPs have agreed to an unencrypted communication, the encryption will be disabled on that channel. If they do not agree, the channel is closed with a warning message (see the BeeBEEP log).

If you are talking to a user who does not use encryption you will find the message:
[User Name] has end-to-end encryption disabled.

If you want your BeeBEEP to use encryption by default but can also accept unencrypted incoming connections then the options must have these values.

[BeeBEEP]
DisableEncryptedConnections = false
AllowNotEncryptedConnectionsAlso = true
AllowEncryptedConnectionsAlso = true

Why did I decide to add an option to disable encryption?
A group of people pointed out to me that there may be situations where cryptography is not required, indeed strongly discouraged or worse off the law (for example when BeeBEEP traffic travels on amateur radio frequencies). An encrypted channel can be used to maintain privacy, but in other cases it can be used also to hide what would not be legal to show.
I believe that BeeBEEP should be a tool and let people choose how to use it. However, traffic remains within your network without external servers. If you want or don't want encryption in your network, you are now free to choose it.

Here is a part of the e-mail sent to me by Den Spiess (W2DEN), an Assistant Emergency Coordinator of Sarasota Amateur Emergency Radio Service (SRQ ARES), to explain the problem.

"We, licensed Amateur Radio Operators, are using BeeBEEP to communicate between nodes on a MESH network operating in the 2.4 and 5 GHZ Amateur Radio bands. The purpose of the network is to provide reliable communications during emergencies.
We are located in Florida and Amateur Radio is a key part of hurricane and wild fire emergency operations.
[...]
The concern comes from the regulations that Amateur Radio operates under CFR Title 47: Telecommunications PART 97 AMATEUR RADIO SERVICE and the specific rule about encryption:
§97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(4) . . .; messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification.

There has been much debate on just how this fits into network communication as to whether or not encryption is allowed to prevent unwanted intrusion in the Amateur bands etc.
This is the exception noted in the rule.
Good practice dictates that we should avoid encryption unless absolutely necessary."

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Why is a security message shown when you launch BeeBEEP for the first time?

BeeBEEP is not a digitally signed application and operating systems like Windows or MacOSX warn users against using software without a digital signature.
I fully understand their reasons but a digital certificate has a cost per year and you need one for Microsoft and one for Apple. BeeBEEP is a free software and I wouldn't even have to pay to distribute it.
So, be careful and download BeeBEEP from trusted sites.
For the rest, I'm sure you will understand my point of view and you won't mind doing one or two more clicks to launch BeeBEEP the first time.

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What is SourceForge?

SourceForge is a web-based service that offers software developers a centralized online location to control and manage free and open-source software projects.
You find more information about it on this page.

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Does BeeBEEP send data outside my network?

All BeeBEEP traffic such as text and voice messages, transferred files and desktop sharing always remains in your network.
If you do not have VPNs configured, BeeBEEP packages will never get out of the modem-router of your ISP (internet service provider).
If you have VPNs and have configured BeeBEEP to use them, then the traffic will also pass through these networks, overcoming the physical limits of your internet line.

Apart from this, BeeBEEP tries 2 connections in HTTPS every time it is launched (and if always active, 1 every 24 hours).
The first connection is to the BeeBEEP web site (https://www.beebeep.net/last_version.php) and serves to check if there is a new version available.
The second to Google Analytics for anonymous sending of usage statistics (I'll explain better in the next FAQ that there is nothing to worry about).
These connections will always appear in plain text in the BeeBEEP log so you can always monitor them.
You can disable the search for a new version available from the menu Settings - On start - Check for new version.

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What does the "Posting anonymous data to BeeBEEP statistics" log line mean?

Once a day BeeBEEP sends a string (event) to google analatycs to give me the satisfaction of seeing how many people use the application I created and which I distribute for free.
The data are not sensitive and ip addresses are not tracked.
Probably in a "world wild web" where everyone "wants your data", it's a good idea for me to explain the contents of the string to convince you of the goodness of my intentions.

Data contained in an example string:

v=1&tid=UA-57878696-4&cid=%7B59b1d47b-d5d0-47bd-8552-848e9d3d09ae%7D&aip=1&ds=app&an=beebeep&av=5.7.7&ul=en_us&t=event&ec=BeeBEEP&ea=usage&el=windows-5.6.8&ev=573

What do the string fields say?

  • v=1 = it is the protocol version of data string
  • tid=UA-57878696-4 = is the code that identifies the site www.beebeep.net
  • cid=%7B59b1d47b-d5d0-47bd-8552-848e9d3d09ae%7D = is the ID of your BeeBEEP, a random and unique string to avoid data duplication (I would like statistics as real as possible)
  • aip = 1 = option to anonymize your IP address (1 = true).
  • ds = app = resource type (app = application).
  • an = beebeep = application name.
  • av = 5.6.8 = applicaction version.
  • ul = en_us = language used in application.
  • t = event = string type (always event).
  • ec = BeeBEEP = event campaign.
  • ea = usage = event type (always usage).
  • el = windows-5.6.8 = event label (BeeBEEP version and operating system).
  • ev = 573 = event value (the number of days since the BeeBEEP configuration file was created. Useful to understand more or less how long you use BeeBEEP).

I hope there is nothing in this data that can damage your privacy and guarantee total anonymity.
But in life everything can be and maybe you don't want to trust Google Analytics assurances regarding anonymity and so I left the option to disable this communication.

  • Close BeeBEEP (you can edit settings only if the application is closed).
  • Open with a text editor the beebeep.ini settings file in your data folder.
  • Find the option SendAnonymousUsageStatistics and set it to false.
  • Save and close beebeep.ini settings file.
  • Restart BeeBEEP.

I hope you never need these instructions.
If somehow you're thinking that, despite my good intentions, actually anonymous sending of these data creates some legal problem in your country please let me know via e-mail. In this way I will be able to create, in the next versions, special rules that do not conflict with the laws of your country.

Just a final but important consideration.

I develop BeeBEEP in my spare time. I do not gain anything to do it, indeed, despite the kind donations, I lose money every year. I enjoy writing code and the greatest satisfaction is when I open the statistics in the evening and see how many people have used BeeBEEP.
I'm seeing that number grow every day, from 1 (in 2010) to over 50,000 (in 2019) and even more today.
This is the engine that drives me to improve BeeBEEP every day: your statistical contribution is the fuel that powers it.

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Tips Known issues Online help

Hi, I'm BeeBEEP, the free office messenger that for 9 years has been helping people like you keep messages safe and private.

Do you like BeeBEEP? Click here and make a small donation to help me continue to develop it.
BeeBEEP is an opensource project hosted by SourceForge

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