The Beginnings – A Brief History

he first public dial-up 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 along with fellow hobbyist Randy Suess, began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS. CBBS went online on February 16, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.

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.

Most of the information was displayed using ordinary ASCII text or ANSI art, though some BBSes experimented with higher resolution visual formats such as the innovative but obscure Remote Imaging Protocol. 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 three monthly magazines, Boardwatch, BBS Magazine, and in Asia and Australia, Chips ‘n Bits Magazine which devoted extensive coverage of the software and technology innovations and people behind them, and listings to US and worldwide BBSes. In addition, in the USA, a major monthly magazine, Computer Shopper, carried a list of BBSes along with a brief abstract of each of their offerings.

According to the FidoNet Nodelist, BBSes reached their peak usage around 1996, which was the same period that the World Wide Web suddenly became mainstream. BBSes rapidly declined in popularity thereafter, and were replaced by systems using the Internet for connectivity. Some of the larger commercial BBSes, such as ExecPC BBS, became actual Internet Service Providers.

The website serves as an archive that documents the history of the BBS. The owner of, Jason Scott, also produced BBS: The Documentary, a DVD film that chronicles the history of the BBS and features interviews with well-known people (mostly from the United States) from the heyday BBS era.


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Bulletin board system

Widely used in times of scarcity cable computer network computer users a way to communicate through the public switched telephone network.

BBS originally contained a variety of companies and access to them has been paid. Subsequently, the same as a hobby, they were open and private individuals. The bulk of access to private BBS free.

BBS can be both autonomous and associated with other BBS (usually via Fidonet).

To access the BBS required telephone network, modem and terminal program (minicom, Y-term, ZOC (Eng.), Telix, Hyper Terminal, Terminate, Telemax and others). Some BBS also available (or exclusively) through the Internet via telnet.

User launches BBS terminal program initiates this program a phone call to the number BBS, BBS offers after connection log (enter your login and password) or register as a new user and after a successful user login provides access to it:

to the “bulletin board” where everyone can publish or selected news and announcements (with this feature and started BBS);
to newsgroups (like modern web forums), with the development of BBS conference distributed between Fidonet BBS network and became known ehokonferentsy;
directories to share files, each file is accompanied by a description and counter downloads, user rating may be considered downloads / downloads.
In addition to the online access to the conferences have been developed for off-line reading conferences via QWK (English) and Blue Wave (English). User connects to the BBS, downloaded to your computer file package with messages disconnected. Read messages written responses and new messages in the conference, which then program QWK or Blue Wave going in the package. In the most free time again BBS user was connected to BBS, pumped her package with their messages and retrieve them from the messages that were left on the other BBS users for the time elapsed since its previous call to BBS.

BBS for the organization need special software.

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