Since social networking has gotten OUT OF FREAKING CONTROL, a certain nostalgia has dwelled deep within me to reconnect to my roots of BBSing.
Some sites like BBS Corner claim that BBSes are even stronger now than they were in the past, in due, part to the internet and not having to dial long distance, and because most of us are broadband and can get speedier connections to telnet boards or it’s much more feasible to operate multinode setups on newer hardware.
What I will discuss, is a very simplistic way to get your BBS online (in a headless fashion) without an over-engineered solution such as VmodemD or using predefined DosBox instances. If you have a router, you’ll have to learn how to port forward on your own. This is outside the scope of this blog. Although there is nothing WRONG with using VmodemD or the online example of how to get a multinode Renegade BBS setup over telnet in linux I find them to be over-engineered solutions. I have tested this with Renegade BBS and Oblivion/2 BBS, but I suspect it will work with just about any DOS (non win32 dos) BBS software.
There’s one caveat: perhaps it’s just SyncTerm‘s implementation of Z-modem or Y-modem-g (SEXYZ), but I still haven’t gotten a reliable file transfer to work right, yet. But who really cares? Zmodem is basically a way of transferring files without TCP/IP’s error-correction state, which tends to mimic TCP/IP (which you don’t need since you’re using TCP/IP, right? This will just slow things down) and Y-modem-g, well, I still haven’t really find a free solution for that. Bah, I digress, here’s how it goes (online door games will work this method, too, such as LORD, and Pimpwars, etc…) nothing:
I’ll assume you’re using Ubuntu linux, but it doesn’t really matter. Grab yourself a copy of dosemu 1.4.0 and install it (install the latest “freedos”, as well). Make sure you can run dosemu before you proceed any further. Also, I will not be covering howto do that, since you could just RTFM for dosemu.
I have been informed that directly copying and pasting this stuff may not work, mainly in the way double quotes are translated during the copy and paste process, or how wordpress decides to render them.
1) I find it easy to have two copies of dosemu’s config: 1 for local use (installing things, configuring, maintenance, etc), and a mirror of this same one, with 1 minor detail changed – scroll down all the way to Serial Port Settings and change this line:
$_com1 = "virtual"
dosemu -n -f /etc/dosemu/dosemu.conf-vanilla (or something similar)
VERY IMPORTANT – Make sure the last line of your autoexec.bat is:
rem config.sys for DOSEMU + FreeDOS
rem note that the initial "D:" is set to "Z:" at the end
shellhigh=c:\command.com /e:1024 /p
bnu.com /L0:57600,8N1 /F
obv.exe -b 57600 -A -N %1
# default: off
# description: An xinetd internal service which echo's characters back to
# This is the tcp version.
user= some valid user to run as
server_args= -n -h -L /usr/sbin/bbs
export HOME=/home/some valid user to run as/
current_sessions=`ps aux | grep in.telnetd | grep bbs | grep -v grep | wc -l`
if [ $current_sessions -ge $total ]; then
echo "Too many connections, please try again later."
for i in `seq 1 $total` ; do
if [ -e "/tmp/bbsnode$i" ] ;
echo "Loading MYBBS [node $NODE/$total]..."
/usr/local/bin/dosemu.bin -n -f /etc/dosemu/dosemu.conf-BBS -E "C:\BBS.bat $NODE"
rm -rf /tmp/bbsnode$NODE