Bulletin board system

A welcome screen for the Free-net bulletin board, from 1994
Ward Christensen holds an expansion card from the original CBBS S-100 host machine.
The 300 baud Smartmodem led to an initial wave of early BBS systems.
Amiga 3000 running a two-line BBS
Welcome screen of Neon#2 BBS (Tornado)
BBS ANSI Login Screen example

Computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program.

- Bulletin board system
A welcome screen for the Free-net bulletin board, from 1994

93 related topics

Alpha

Hand-compiled list of Fido BBS systems, June 1984. This document formed the basis of the first nodelists.

FidoNet

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Hand-compiled list of Fido BBS systems, June 1984. This document formed the basis of the first nodelists.
Rapid rise, 1996 peak, and slower decline in number of Fidonodes
File queue in qcc, the ncurses UI for qico. The addresses are made-up.

FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems (BBSes).

Commodore 64

8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International .

8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International .

The Commodore 64 startup screen
Game cartridges for Radar Rat Race and International Soccer
Commodore MAX Machine
Commodore Educator 64
Commodore SX-64
Commodore 64C with 1541-II floppy disk drive and 1084S monitor displaying television-compatible S-Video
Commodore 64 Games System "C64GS"
The Simons' BASIC interpreter start-up screen. Note the altered background and text colors (vs the ordinary C64 blue tones) and the 8 KB reduction of available BASIC-interpreter program memory allocation, due to the address space used by the cartridge.
Block diagram of the C64
The two PETSCII character sets of the C64
Sprites on screen in a C64 game
Three case styles were used: C64 (top, 1982), C64C (1986, middle) and C64G (1987, bottom)
An early C64 motherboard (Rev A PAL 1982)
A C64C motherboard ("C64E" Rev B PAL 1992)
Joystick ports, power switch, power inlet
Commodore 64 ports (from left: Joy1, Joy2, Power, ROM cartridge, RF-adj, RF modulator, A/V, Serial 488 bus, Tape, User)
C64 Direct-to-TV
The C64 "Web.it" Internet Computer
THEC64 Mini (top) next to an original C64
Full-size THEC64 in its original box
Commodore 1541 floppy drive
Commodore 1541C floppy drive
Commodore 1541-II floppy drive
Commodore 1530 Datasette
Commodore MPS-802 dot matrix printer
Commodore VIC-Modem
Commodore 1351 mouse
Commodore 1702 video monitor

During the 1980s, the Commodore 64 was used to run bulletin board systems using software packages such as Punter BBS, Bizarre 64, Blue Board, C-Net, Color 64, CMBBS, C-Base, DMBBS, Image BBS, EBBS, and The Deadlock Deluxe BBS Construction Kit, often with sysop-made modifications.

A welcome screen for the Free-net bulletin board, from 1994

WWIV

A welcome screen for the Free-net bulletin board, from 1994

WWIV was a popular brand of bulletin board system software from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s.

A diagram of Usenet servers and clients. The blue, green, and red dots on the servers represent the groups they carry. Arrows between servers indicate newsgroup group exchanges (feeds). Arrows between clients and servers indicate that a user is subscribed to a certain group and reads or submits articles.

Usenet

Worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers.

Worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers.

A diagram of Usenet servers and clients. The blue, green, and red dots on the servers represent the groups they carry. Arrows between servers indicate newsgroup group exchanges (feeds). Arrows between clients and servers indicate that a user is subscribed to a certain group and reads or submits articles.
Usenet Provider Map
The "Big Nine" hierarchies of Usenet
A visual example of the many complex steps required to prepare data to be uploaded to Usenet newsgroups. These steps must be done again in reverse to download data from Usenet.
October 2020 screenshot showing 60 PB of usenet group data.

Usenet resembles a bulletin board system (BBS) in many respects and is the precursor to Internet forums that became widely used.

The Glider, proposed as an emblem of the "hacker community" by Eric S. Raymond.

XMODEM

Simple file transfer protocol developed as a quick hack by Ward Christensen for use in his 1977 MODEM.ASM terminal program.

Simple file transfer protocol developed as a quick hack by Ward Christensen for use in his 1977 MODEM.ASM terminal program.

The Glider, proposed as an emblem of the "hacker community" by Eric S. Raymond.

XMODEM became extremely popular in the early bulletin board system (BBS) market, largely because it was simple to implement.

PCBoard 15.3 with a file flagger PPE

PCBoard

PCBoard 15.3 with a file flagger PPE
PCBoard 15.3 with a file flagger PPE

PCBoard (PCB) was a bulletin board system (BBS) application first introduced for DOS in 1983 by Clark Development Company.

Splashscreen of the CBBS/Chicago (1978)

CBBS

Computer program created by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess to allow them and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between each other.

Computer program created by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess to allow them and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between each other.

Splashscreen of the CBBS/Chicago (1978)
Ward Christensen and the CBBS (2005)
The first S-100 Hardware of the CBBS/Chicago (2005)

Despite these limitations, the system was seen as very useful, and ran for many years and inspired the creation of many other bulletin board systems.

Store closing flags outside a Toys R Us in Deptford, New Jersey. Despite investments, the chain struggled to win market share in the age of digital commerce.

Online service provider

Internet service provider, an email provider, a news provider (press), an entertainment provider (music, movies), a search engine, an e-commerce site, an online banking site, a health site, an official government site, social media, a wiki, or a Usenet newsgroup.

Internet service provider, an email provider, a news provider (press), an entertainment provider (music, movies), a search engine, an e-commerce site, an online banking site, a health site, an official government site, social media, a wiki, or a Usenet newsgroup.

Store closing flags outside a Toys R Us in Deptford, New Jersey. Despite investments, the chain struggled to win market share in the age of digital commerce.

In its original more limited definition, it referred only to a commercial computer communication service in which paid members could dial via a computer modem the service's private computer network and access various services and information resources such as bulletin board systems, downloadable files and programs, news articles, chat rooms, and electronic mail services.

Ward Christensen and the First BBS

Ward Christensen

Ward Christensen and the First BBS

Ward Christensen (born 1945 in West Bend, Wisconsin, United States) is the co-founder of the CBBS bulletin board, the first bulletin board system (BBS) ever brought online.

A 9-pin to 25-pin RS-232 adapter cable

ZMODEM

File transfer protocol developed by Chuck Forsberg in 1986, in a project funded by Telenet in order to improve file transfers on their X.25 network.

File transfer protocol developed by Chuck Forsberg in 1986, in a project funded by Telenet in order to improve file transfers on their X.25 network.

A 9-pin to 25-pin RS-232 adapter cable

In contrast to most transfer protocols developed for bulletin board systems (BBSs), ZMODEM was not directly based on, nor compatible with, the seminal XMODEM.