prototyped a bit of a dialog in Basic, patterned after (1) the cork board
bulletin board at CACHE meetings, and (2) the kind of BB you see
Jewel - you know, garage for rent, dog grooming, etc.
writing the real bulletin board program (Called CE.C by Randy - egotistically,
the "Computer Elite's project C - Communications"). Randy put together
- Ward Christianson,
Randy Suess; The Birth
of the BBS; 1989.
Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and the FidoNet version were based on widely
available personal computers, and spread rapidly.
The first bulletin board system was called the Computerized
Bulletin Board System (CBBS), and was created in February, 1978,
with software development by Ward Christianson (previously developer of the
file transfer protocol), and hardware configuration by Randy Suess. Their motivation
appears to have been be partly boredom on a snowy day, and partly to provide
a way for
members of the Chicago area CACHE computer
user group to
upload newsletter articles.
In the 1980's, before the Internet was
popularized, bulletin board systems became increasingly popular as a base for
between geographically dispersed users who accessed the BBS over telephone
lines. Thousands of BBSs sprang up across North America and other locations,
many becoming tremendously useful, lively virtual communities. The BBS
Software Directory has assembled a list of more then 700 different BBS
programs created for various operating systems and purposes over the years.
Resources. The following resources provide more information
FidoNet. The FidoNet BBS was created by Tom Jennings in
San Francisco in 1983, released in June, 1984, and provided a new level of
to home users, with a Usenet-like messaging system that ran on standard IBM
PC compatible computers
running the DOS
2.0 operating system or
The availability of FidoNet on a PC instantly provided
powerful BBS system
administrator capability to tens of thousands of individual users with
home systems, and quickly resulted in the growth of FidoNet systems around
the world. FidoNet's packet-based,
store-and-forward technology worked as well
as it did on the Internet, and FidoNet's rapid growth paralleled
the growth of the Usenet and BITNET.
FidoNet was incorporated as a company in 1986, causing the network to break
into a number of separate groups when many users disagreed with the decision
to make it a commercial product, and many FidoNet
administrators continued to use the FidoNet software to establish sites on independent
networks. In 1987, UUPC software was released for the MS DOS operating
system, thereby enabling
of FidoNet to the Usenet. Many Usenet groups began to be carried on FidoNet,
but not many groups were regularly copied the other way. Growth continued, but
According to Odd
in June, 1993, there were 24,800 FidoNet sites around the world, serving an
1.56 million users. In 1998, FidoNet had about 30,000 nodes world wide, and it
remains a vibrant online community into the 21'st century.
Resources. The following resources provide more information on FidoNet: