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Encyclopedia > Bulletin board system
Ward Christensen and the computer that ran the first public Bulletin Board Systems, CBBS

A Bulletin board system, or BBS, is a computer system running software that allows users to dial into the system over a phone line (or Telnet) and, using a terminal program, perform functions such as downloading software and data, uploading data, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users. Image File history File links Cbbs_Ward_christensen. ... Image File history File links Cbbs_Ward_christensen. ... Ward Christensen Ward Christensen, born in West Bend, Wisconsin, was the founder of the CBBS bulletin board, the first BBS ever brought online. ... This article is about the machine. ... Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ... The public switched telephone network (PSTN) is the network of the worlds public circuit-switched telephone networks, in much the same way that the Internet is the network of the worlds public IP-based packet-switched networks. ... A terminal emulator, terminal application, term, or tty for short, is a program that emulates a dumb video terminal within some other display architecture. ...


During their heyday from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, many BBSes were run as a hobby free of charge by the system operator (or "sysop"), while other BBSes charged their users a subscription fee for access, or were operated by a business as a means of supporting their customers. Still others were run by Internet service providers as part of their service to subscribers. A hobby is a spare-time recreational pursuit. ... SysOp (pronounced /ˈsɪs. ... An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a business or organization that offers users access to the Internet and related services. ...


In recent years, the term BBS is sometimes also used to refer to any online forum or message board. A typical Internet forum discussion, with common elements such as quotes and spoiler brackets A page from a forum showcasing emoticons and Internet slang An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. ...


Bulletin Board Systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web and other aspects of the Internet. BBSes were a highly social phenomenon and were used for meeting people and having discussions on message boards, as well as for publishing articles, downloading software, playing games and many more things, all using a single application. The World Wide Web and WWW redirect here. ... Social refers to human society or its organization. ... For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The BBS was also a local phenomenon, as one had to dial into a BBS with a phone line and would have to pay additional long distance charges for a BBS out of the local area, as opposed to less expensive local charges. Thus, many users of a given BBS usually lived in the same area, and activities such as BBS Meets or Get Togethers, where everyone from the board would gather and meet face to face, were common. As the use of the Internet became more widespread in the mid to late 1990's, BBSes rapidly faded in popularity.

Contents

History

A notable precursor to the public bulletin board system was Community Memory, started in 1972 in Berkeley, California, using hardwired terminals located in neighborhoods. Community Memory terminal at Leopolds Records, Berkeley, CA, 1973 Community Memory was the first public computerized bulletin board system. ... Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in Northern California, in the United States. ...


The first public bulletin board system was developed by Ward Christensen. According to an early interview, while he was snowed in during the Great Blizzard of 1978 in Chicago, Christensen began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS. CBBS went online on February 16, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois. [1] Ward Christensen Ward Christensen, born in West Bend, Wisconsin, was the founder of the CBBS bulletin board, the first BBS ever brought online. ... The Great Blizzard of 1978 struck parts of the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes on January 26, 1978. ... Ward Christensen and the first BBS, CBBS. CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System) was a computer software program created by Ward Christensen to allow him and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between one another. ... Ward Christensen and the first BBS, CBBS. CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System) was a computer software program created by Ward Christensen to allow him and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between one another. ... Ward Christensen and the first BBS, CBBS. CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System) was a computer software program created by Ward Christensen to allow him and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between one another. ... is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Chicago (disambiguation). ...


With the original 110 and 300 baud modems of the late 1970s, BBSes were particularly slow, but speed improved with the introduction of 1200 bit/s modems in the early 1980s, and this led to a substantial increase in popularity. By this time the Apple-based BBSes were surpassed by MS-DOS ones. For the town in France, see Baud, Morbihan. ... In telecommunications and computing, bit rate (sometimes written bitrate) is the frequency at which bits are passing a given (physical or metaphorical) point. It is quantified using the bit per second (bit/s) unit. ... For other uses, see Modem (disambiguation). ... Apple Inc. ...


Most of the information was presented using ordinary text or ANSI art, though some offered graphics, particularly after the rise in popularity of the GIF image format. Such use of graphics taxed available channel capacity, which in turn propelled demand for faster modems. Towards the early 1990s, the BBS industry became so popular that it spawned two monthly magazines, Boardwatch and BBS Magazine, which devoted extensive coverage of the software and technology innovations and people behind them, and listings to US and worldwide BBSes. In addition, a major monthly magazine, Computer Shopper, carried a list of BBSes along with a brief abstract of each of their offerings. The ASCII codes for the word Wikipedia represented in binary, the numeral system most commonly used for encoding computer information. ... A screenshot of TheDraw editing an ANSI art picture of a shuttle; the purple text blinks ANSI art is a computer artform that was widely used at one time on BBSes. ... An example of a GIF image. ... Graphic redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Possibly the most homosexual magazine ever released, Boardwatch catered to all homos into the BBS fad, that is, people who were extremely gay and liked taking cocks up their fucking asses. ... Computer Shopper is a magazine published monthly since 1988 in the UK by Felix Denniss company, Dennis Publishing Ltd. ...


BBSes reached their peak usage around 1996, which was the same year that the World Wide Web suddenly became mainstream. BBSes rapidly declined in popularity thereafter, and were replaced by systems using the Internet for connectivity. On-line users switched to using internet services such as AOL, MSN, Hotmail, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, Myspace, which caused a huge drop in user activity on most of the legacy BBS systems. The World Wide Web and WWW redirect here. ...


Networks

Before commercial Internet access became common, networks of BBSes provided regional and international e-mail and message bases. Some even provided gateways by which members could send/receive e-mail to/from the Internet. Elaborate schemes allowed users to download binary files, search gopherspace, and interact with distant programs, all using plain text e-mail. Most BBS networks were not linked in real-time. Instead, each would dial up the next in line, and/or a regional hub, at preset intervals to exchange files and messages. A computer network is an interconnection of a group of computers. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Gateway (telecommunications). ... Gopher is a distributed document search and retrieval network protocol designed for the Internet. ... A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ...


The largest BBS network was FidoNet, which is still active today, though much smaller than it was in the 1990s. Many other BBS networks followed the example of Fidonet, using the same standards and the same software. They were called Fidonet Technology Networks (FTNs). They were usually smaller and targeted at selected audiences. Some networks used QWK doors and other non Fido software and standards. The FidoNet logo FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems. ... QWK is file-based offline mail reader format that was popular among bulletin board system (BBS) users, especially users of FidoNet and other networks that generated large volumes of mail. ...


Software and hardware

Quantum Link main menu
Detailed ANSI artwork from 1994 called a "scroller" due to its length.

The first BBSes ran on simple software, often written (or debugged) by the SysOp. By the mid-1980s, there were a number of free and shareware BBS programs, such as Fido, which offered various levels of features, ease of configuration, or capabilities. There were several successful commercial BBS programs, such as Wildcat, owned by Mustang software, which were often (but not always) more feature-laden or dependable than the free programs. For SysOps using the Commodore 64, a popular commercial BBS package was Blue Board, sold from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Most Commodore 64 BBSes also included the option to use PETSCII (commodore ASCII) which included various graphical symbols instead of letters to create artwork on the screen. One popular nationwide service which used that feature over 300 or 1200 baud modems was Quantum Link. Quantum Link main menu, from the Q-Link software on the Commodore 64. ... Quantum Link main menu, from the Q-Link software on the Commodore 64. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 131 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (640 × 2928 pixel, file size: 159 KB, MIME type: image/png) ANSI image created by iCE Advertisements member Krux for their December 1994 art pack. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 131 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (640 × 2928 pixel, file size: 159 KB, MIME type: image/png) ANSI image created by iCE Advertisements member Krux for their December 1994 art pack. ... A screenshot of TheDraw editing an ANSI art picture of a shuttle; the purple text blinks ANSI art is a computer artform that was widely used at one time on BBSes. ... C-64 redirects here. ... Blue Board was a BBS software system created by Martin Sikes for the Commodore 64. ... For other uses, see Vancouver (disambiguation). ... Motto: Splendor sine occasu (Latin: Splendour without diminishment) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 36 Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area  Ranked 5th Total 944... PETSCII (PET Standard Code of Information Interchange), also known as CBM ASCII, is the variation of the ASCII character set used in Commodore (CBM)s 8-bit home computers, starting with the PET from 1977 and including the VIC-20, C64, Plus/4, C16 and C128. ... Quantum Link main menu Quantum Link (or Q-Link) was a U.S. online service for Commodore 64 and 128 personal computers that operated from November 5, 1985 to November 1, 1994. ...


Unlike modern websites that are typically hosted by third-party companies in commercial server installations, BBS computers (especially for smaller boards) were typically operated from the SysOp's home, often in a bedroom or closet. As such, access could be unreliable, and in many cases only one user could be on the system at a time. Only larger BBSes with multiple phone lines and either multitasking software or a LAN connecting multiple computers, could have multiple simultaneous users.


By the late 1980s, the majority of BBSes ran under MS-DOS, due to the overwhelming popularity of DOS-based IBM-compatible personal computers. Most BBSes remained text-based, rather than using a Graphical User Interface (GUI) design. A BBS GUI called Remote Imaging Protocol (RIP) was promoted by Telegrafix in the early to mid 1990s but it never became widespread. There were several GUI-based BBS's on the Apple Macintosh platform, including TeleFinder and FirstClass, but these remained widely used only in the Mac market. GUI redirects here. ... The Remote Imaging Protocol (RIP), also referred to as RIPscrip (and frequently, yet incorrectly as RIPscript), was an early vector graphics protocol, created by Jeff Reeder, a founder of TeleGrafix Communications. ... The first Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, upgraded to a 512K Fat Mac. The Macintosh or Mac, is a line of personal computers designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed by Apple Computer. ... TeleFinder is a Macintosh-based bulletin-board system, based on a client-server model whos client end provides a Mac-like GUI. It appears to be the first such system on any platform, predating Apples own AppleLink, as well as other Mac-based BBS systems like FirstClass. ... FirstClass is an email, online conferencing, and bulletin-board system for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. ...


The most popular form of online graphics was ANSI art which replaced letters with blocks and symbols, allowed changing colors on demand, and could even include sound. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, most BBSes used ANSI to make elaborate welcome screens, and to make the overall experience more pleasant for the user. A screenshot of TheDraw editing an ANSI art picture of a shuttle; the purple text blinks ANSI art is a computer artform that was widely used at one time on BBSes. ...


In the early 1990s a small number of BBSes were running on the Commodore Amiga. External hard drives for the Amiga 500 and the Amiga 2000, Amiga 3000, Amiga 1200 and Amiga 4000 with built-in hard drives turned the home computer into a full-time BBS. Popular BBS software for the Amiga were ABBS, Amiexpress, Infinity and Tempest. NComm and Termite was commonly used for client/terminal software. Amiga is the name of a range of home/personal computers using the Motorola 68000 processor family, whose development started in 1982. ... Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... Missing image A500 The A500, also known as the Amiga 500, was the first low-end Commodore Amiga 16_bit multimedia home/personal computer model. ... The A2000, also known as the Commodore Amiga 2000, is the high-end Amiga personal computer that was released in 1987 at the same time as the low-end high-volume model A500. ... The Amiga 3000T, a towerized version of the A3000. ... The Amiga 1200, or A1200, was Commodore Internationals third-generation Amiga computer, aimed at the home market. ... The A4000, or Commodore Amiga 4000, was the successor of the A2000 and A3000 computers. ... AmiExpress screenshot AmiExpress - also known as /X - by Lightspeed technologies was a popular BBS software application for the Commodore Amiga line of computers. ... í For other uses, see Tempest. ...


MS-DOS continued to be the most popular Operating System for BBS use up until the mid-1990's, and in the early years most multi-node BBSes were running under a DOS based multitasker such as DesqView. By 1995 many of the MS-DOS based BBSes had switched over to OS/2, NT 4.0, Windows 95, or even Linux using DOSEmu. DESQview was a text mode multitasking program developed by Quarterdeck Office Systems which enjoyed modest popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ...


By the late 1990's the most of the remaining BBSes evolved to include Internet hosting capabilities, either by using modern BBS software such as Synchronet, EleBBS or Wildcat! BBS using the Telnet protocol rather than dialup, or by using legacy MS-DOS based BBS software with a FOSSIL to Telnet redirector such as NetFoss. Synchronet is a multiplatform BBS software package, with current ports for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and BSD variants. ... Wildcat! is a bulletin board system (BBS) software package developed in 1986 by Mustang Software to create dial-up BBS operating under PC-DOS. It was later ported to Microsoft Windows. ... For the packet switched network, see Telenet. ... For other uses, see Fossil (disambiguation). ... NetFoss is a popular Network FOSSIL driver for Windows. ...


Content and access

Some general purpose bulletin board systems had special levels of access that were given to those who paid extra money or knew the sysop personally. Some of these BBSes that charged money usually had something special to offer their users such as large user bases, Warez, pornography, chatting or internet access. Warez refers primarily to copyrighted works traded in violation of copyright law. ... Porn redirects here. ... Toasting, chatting, or DJing is the act of talking or chanting over a rhythm or beat. ...


Pay BBSes such as The WELL and Echo NYC (now Internet forums rather than dial-up), ExecPC,and MindVox (which folded in 1996) were admired for their tightly-knit communities and quality discussion forums. However some "free" BBSes maintained close knit communities and some even had annual or bi-annual events where users would travel great distances to meet face-to-face with their on-line friends. ExecPC is an online service provider started in 1983 by owner Bob Mahoney as the Exec-PC BBS. It quickly grew to be the worlds largest bulletin board system in the 1980s and throughout the 1990s, competing with the likes of Compuserve and Prodigy. ... MindVox was a famed early Internet Service Provider in New York City. ...


Some BBSes, called "elite boards" or "Warez boards", were exclusively used for distributing illegally copied software. These BBSes often had multiple modems and phone lines, allowing several users to upload and download files at once. Most elite BBSes used some form of new user verification, where new users would have to apply for membership and attempt to prove that they weren't a law enforcement officer or a lamer. The largest elite boards accepted users by invitation only. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Another common type of board was the "support BBS" run by a manufacturer of computer products or software. These boards were dedicated to supporting users of the company's products with question & answer forums, news and updates, and downloads. Most of them were not a free call. Today, these services have moved to the web.


BBSing survives as a niche hobby for those who enjoy running BBSes and those users who remember BBSing as an enjoyable pastime. Most BBSes are now accessible over telnet and typically offer free email accounts, web interfaces, ftp services, IRC chat and all of the protocols commonly used on the Internet. For the packet switched network, see Telenet. ... E-mail, or email, is short for electronic mail and is a method of composing, sending, and receiving messages over electronic communication systems. ...


Some BBSes are Web-enabled and have a Web-based user interface, allowing people who have never used a BBS before to use one easily via their favorite web browser. For those more nostalgic for the true BBS experience, one can use NetSerial (Windows) or DOSBox (Windows/*nix) to redirect DOS COM port software to telnet, allowing them to connect to Telnet BBSes using 1980s and 1990s era modem terminal emulation software, like Telix, Terminate, Qmodem and Procomm Plus. Modern 32-bit terminal emulators such as mTelnet and SyncTerm include native telnet support. DOSBox is a program that emulates an Intel x86 computer running MS-DOS. It is intended for running DOS-based IBM PC compatible programs, especially computer games, which may not run properly on newer PCs and may not run at all on non-x86 hardware or operating systems (e. ... Apple Terminal. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Terminate (terminat. ... Qmodem was a MS-DOS shareware telecommunications program and terminal emulator. ... Datastorm was a computer software company that existed from 1986 until 1996. ...


The website textfiles.com serves as a collection point of historical data involving the history of the BBS. The owner of this site produced BBS: The Documentary, a program on DVD that features interviews with well-known people (mostly from the United States) from the "hey-day BBS" era. Front page of textfiles. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc - see Etymology) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ...


Shareware

Much of the "Shareware" movement was started via sharing software through BBSes. A notable example was Phil Katz's PKARC (and later PKZIP, using the same ".zip" algorithm that WinZip and other popular archivers now use); also other concepts of software distribution like freeware, postcardware like JPEGview and donationware like Red Ryder (software) for the Macintosh first appeared on BBS sites. Doom from id Software and many Apogee games were distributed as shareware. The Internet has largely erased the distinction of shareware - most users now download the software directly from the developer's web site rather than receiving it from another BBS user 'sharing' it. Look up shareware in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Phil Katz, shown in 1994, holds a computer disk containing compression software made by his company, PKWare Inc. ... PKZIP is an archiving tool originally written by the late Phil Katz, and marketed by his company PKWARE, Inc. ... Flowcharts are often used to graphically represent algorithms. ... WinZip Computing Inc. ... The term Freeware refers to gratis proprietary software with closed source. ... Postcardware, also called just cardware, is a style of software distribution similar to shareware, distributed by the author on the condition that users send the author a postcard. ... JPEGView was a popular image viewer for Mac OS in the 1990s by Aaron Giles. ... Donateware (or donationware) is a form of software distribution. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Doom (or DOOM)[1] is a 1993 computer game by id Software that is a landmark title in the first-person shooter genre. ... id Software (IPA: officially, though originally ) is an American computer game developer based in Mesquite, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. ... Corporate logo of Apogee Software Apogee Software, Ltd. ...


Many commercial BBS software companies that continue to support their old BBS software products switched to the shareware model or made it entirely free. Some companies were able to make the move to the Internet and provide commercial products with BBS capabilities.


Features

A classic BBS had:

  • Most modern BBSes allow telnet access over the Internet using a telnet server and a virtual FOSSIL driver.

The BBS software usually provides: This article is about the machine. ... For other uses, see Modem (disambiguation). ... This is a list of notable dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) software packages. ... SysOp (pronounced /ˈsɪs. ... For the packet switched network, see Telenet. ... For other uses, see Fossil (disambiguation). ...

  • Menu Systems
  • One or more message bases
  • File areas
  • Voting Booths
  • Statistics on Message Posters, Top Uploaders / Downloaders
  • Online games (usually single player or only a single active player at a given time)
  • A doorway to third-party online games
  • Usage auditing capabilities
  • Multi-user chat (more common in later multi-line or telnettable BBSes)
  • Internet email (more common in later Internet-connected BBSes)
  • Networked message boards setup by the SysOp

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Online games refer to games that are played over some form of computer network. ... A player of a game is a participant therein. ... A BBS door was a mechanism to execute and communicate with an external program, commonly a game on bulletin board systems (commonly referred to as door games). ...

See also

This is a list of notable dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) software packages. ... See main articles to Bulletin board system. ... Minitel 1. ... A screenshot of TheDraw editing an ANSI art picture of a shuttle; the purple text blinks ANSI art is a computer artform that was widely used at one time on BBSes. ... ANSI escape codes are used to control text formatting and other output options on text terminals. ... ASCII art, an artistic medium relying primarily on computers for presentation, consists of pictures pieced together from characters (preferably from the 95 printable characters defined by ASCII). ... The phrase computer art scene or artscene for short, refers to a community of individuals and groups, that are both interested and active in the creation of computer-based artwork. ... Warez refers primarily to copyrighted works traded in violation of copyright law. ... Apple Terminal. ... The FidoNet logo FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems. ... A typical Internet forum discussion, with common elements such as quotes and spoiler brackets A page from a forum showcasing emoticons and Internet slang An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. ... ISCABBS, also known as ISCA, is a bulletin board system (BBS) based at the University of Iowa. ... Tom Jennings (born 1955 as Thomas Daniel Jennings in Boston, Massachusetts) is the creator of FidoNet, the first message and file networking system for BBSes. ...

Notes

References

  • Encyclopedia of New Media: An Essential Reference to Communication and Technology. ISBN 0761923829. 
  • The Columbia Reader on Lesbians and Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics. ISBN 0231104464. 
  • Modems for Dummies. ISBN 1568840012. 
  • University of Michigan (Oct 1989 - Sep 1994). Compute. Compute! Publications. 
  • Cane, Mike (1986). The Computer Phone Book. New American Library. 
  • Christians in a .Com World: Getting Connected Without Being Consumed. ISBN 1581342187. 
  • Pippen, Patrick. Beam Me Up Scottie. ISBN 1411609875. 

External links


The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ...

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bulletin board system: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1853 words)
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