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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:47 pm 
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I used to write BBS programs. I started modifing the old CMBBS 1.2 and actually wrote Axle Systems which was in the 1990 May issue of Compute Gazette under the Clasifieds.

Anyway, I heard some people talking about creating a BBS that would use the RR-Net/TFE cards. When looking into it, the hard thing about taking an OLD BBS program and making it work via TELNET is that the OLD BBS programs are not threaded. So if you got the modem codes replaced with the network peeks and pokes, you run into the problem of multiple people telneting into one BBS and everyone seeing everything the other person is doing and taking control. When going back over forums, groups, text files, etc... There is one thing that is already done. ContikiOS consists of not just a client but a server. Since its webserver appears to be threaded, that would lead me to believe that the telnet server is also threaded. If that is the case one of the big steps is already done.

1) The next steps would be to seperate all the other code out so it is as small as possible.
2) create a login and new user mech.
3) create a main menu and opening message system.
4) create a message section (Private and Public). Might also want to have security levels.
5) Hardest would be the transfer section. Punter would be nice but most of my old 64 programs did support X-Modem as well.
6) On-Line Game Section...

These are just thoughts. CMBBS modifications and Axle Systems were written in BASIC then BLITZ!ed. It's been a long time. I did do a little stab years ago with C modifying Circle MUD but that was 15 to 20 years ago. :D

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:56 pm 
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mistermsk wrote:
So if you got the modem codes replaced with the network peeks and pokes, you run into the problem of multiple people telneting into one BBS and everyone seeing everything the other person is doing and taking control.

You're kidding, right?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:04 pm 
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Just posting thoughts. :D Just seeing. If I get the routens replaced, won't you have that issue? Unless you some how designate by the MAC/IP but that would be creating 'threads'. I written 2 entire BBS systems from scratch before. Ok, one was a modified CMBBS but Axles Systems I never left the house all summer writting. Been 20 years since but I am having fun with the Commodore again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:14 pm 
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Well, you wouldn't actually break in and interrupt other people's sessions. But it's true that some semi-threading would be needed in the sense that when somebody is logged on to the BBS it still need to be able to tell the world it's busy.

Of course, doing a multi threaded BBS in its true sense with multiple inter-communicating nodes would be the right thing to do, except I doubt the C64 would handle it. Switching menus and reading bulletins would probably work for 2 or 3 simultaneous users but imagine when multiple users start reading and writing mail. Not to mention file transfer. Not on a stock C64 anyway. But hey! C64's are cheap so it would still be possible with a multi-node system running on separate hosts. Just like back in the day.

I used to be a BBS programmer too, but on the PC. I was involved with the Instinct BBS Ware back in the 90's.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:44 pm 
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Hmmm... You are correct. When you have multiple people on and they start doing file transfers, it could cause issues. I also notice a lot of people are using NO-IP, which they would need Windows Computer for anyway. So, thinking outside the box, it would be to make (modify) a telnet BBS for Windows that, when you first logon gives you the option of selecting PETSCII or ASCII. Then run the output/input through a function.

When I programmed BBSs, we had a routine to wrap text at the 39th char. However, I do not think that is needed off the start.

Looking here, I noticed some open source BBSs (such as Synchronet [as an example only with Telnet Support]).

By doing this, it will open the availability on Telnet BBSs to Guru Term.

Here you can see that a windows pc is required. Problem with it is that only one person can be on at one time, time/date problems with the BBS software (he had to move it back 10 years), and it is so slow. I know, I know, it is a commodore 64. However, I telnet with my 'real' Commodore 64, with a RR-Net card. It is QUICK! Be nice to have the quickness, PETSCII Graphics, and multi-users on line for possible chatting/gaming (bbs doors)?

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:50 pm 
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mistermsk wrote:
Here you can see that a windows pc is required. Problem with it is that only one person can be on at one time, time/date problems with the BBS software (he had to move it back 10 years), and it is so slow. I know, I know, it is a commodore 64.

That's my site.

Having to move the date back 10 years, and the 1200 baud limitation, are purely because of the cheap+dirty BBS software I chose (EBBS). Others (see list here) run BBSes at 115 KBaud with proper post-Y2K support and so on. The one-user limitation is inherent to the modem days, however.

The Windows PC is only needed here because it's functioning as a "modem emulator" as for as the C64 is concerned. I think it's clear you won't need that with a custom BBS written to use the RR-Net.

You do raise an interesting issue with the no-ip.org users though - you'd need a Windows client to keep the IP up to date. It wouldn't have to be on the same computer running the BBS though, as presumably they're both behind a router and thus exposing a single IP to the world.

Writing a no-ip.org update client for the C64 would be...interesting though! :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:11 pm 
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What network port would you use for the network bbs to come in on from off the internet ?
If you could change the port, you could have many network bbs on the same ip
different ports using a router. you could post you bbs internet address as 58.6.118.17:120 etc.
Or am i totally incorrect in the way i see someone designing a network bbs.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Quote:
That's my site.


First, nice job on all the work you have done to it. I log on quite often.

NO-IP for the commodore 64. Wow! If a telnet BBS program is written for the commodore 64 and a NO-IP program is writen, you would have to have two commodore 64s running the BBS. Might as well as put a load balancer in front and have a commodore 64 cluster. :wink: That would be cool.

I was just thinking what most people would run. If you look here, you'll see a snippet telnet server written in Visual Basic 6. I was thinking this could be a bases for it. Since I like BASIC so much better then C or ML, I figure it would make a good bases for the BBS.

Needed to be done:

- Decide if I am going to use MySQL or flat (text) files like the good old BBSs used to do. Since I am not expecting to many people hitting the sites like this, I'll probably start with flat files since I'll just use function calls and make it easy to transfer to MySQL if needed.

- Make a chr string converter for ASCII to PETSCII. Easly done with function calls.

- Make a log-in / new user area, main menu, and bulletin area.

That would be enough to keep me busy for a bit. After that would come the message base and security levels. I am iffy on a file transfer section since it is so much easier transfering over the web and slapping something into a .d64 file.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Mistermsk, if you take a look out there you'll see that there's a bunch of C= BBS's already on the net using an intermediate PC as a Modem/Telnet bridge. The advantage of this is that you can keep your C64 BBS unmodified. The disadvantage ofcourse is that you'll need to add another computer, but I guess all off us geeks got too many already so just another computer wont make much difference :D

Another disadvantage of using legacy BBS software is ofcourse that you dont get access to 21 st century networking which potentially opens up for new cool ideas. But then again, we're still using a 20:th century computer. Go figure :mrgreen:

About your programming suggestions. I'd prefer any standard (portable) language before VB, such as C or JAVA. but hey, that's your choice. For datastorage, I'd go with SQL for a dozen of reasons.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:08 pm 
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I hear you. I just wanted to do a prof of concept. It does work. However, it is not multi-node. If someone is on, it will just say not connected. However, it was easy enough to create a function to say if ASCII (not PETSCII) Reverse the chrs and replace the backspace key. Also look at menus with an A. So instead of looking for MENU.SEQ it will look for MENUA.SEQ. All the menus and prompts are written in PETSCII vs the ASCII standard.

Not bad for a day of coding. To bad I go on vaction. I could of have the BBS done this week-end (without file transfers of course).

Since they have a Term for Windows to see PETSCII, be nice to have a BBS, too. Just trying to open the world of the Commodore for everyone. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:53 am 
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I'm sure that all styles of creative C= hacking are welcomed by the community! All power to you! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:02 pm 
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mistermsk, I'm still confused as to whether you're writing this BBS for the C64 or PC.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:31 pm 
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I was just doing a proof-of-concept for the PC.

There is not one PC BBS that supports PETSCII that I could find. I was just thinking that more people might run a bbs if it was on a single computer versus having multiple computers/drives/etc... connected together. Seems more of a chance that someone would put up a stand-alone Windows PC with NO-IP running by itself then having to configure a lot hardware. I know you run a BBS. My concern is that BBSs that I can log onto that support PETSCII are few and far between. Imagine being able to use a RR-Net/TFE card to the speed that it should go. Almost instant PETSCII screens. Quick reading e-mails/messages all on a commodore 64. What I was looking at:

1) Easy of setup. (copy to a dir. Edit a few files. Run program.)
2) Hardware requirements. ( A windows PC )
3) NO-IP support. (A windows PC [can run on the same as the BBS])
4) Drive Space for Transfers ( Full PC Free Space.)

Imagine calling a PETSCII BBS that would be native PETSCII but on a PC (I would make it so all the posts save as the PETSCII charater set.) Easy to do. Convert the charaters (CHR$). I already have the conversion done. Backspace key/etc changed and A-Z/a-z + or - 32. Same thing I did when I wrote the Commodore 64 BBSs in the mid/late 80s. For detection at the beginning, detect the backspace char as 20, it would be PETSCII. If 8 or 127 then ASCII. If ASCII when reading from the file, do the conversion.

My goal was to get it so there could be 'MANY' PETSCII BBSs for people to call. Not to make another BBS for the Commodore 64 since there are many (which some I modified or wrote [ Axle Systems in May 1990 Comput Gazette]).

Don't get me wrong. I own a lot of commodore equipment. I been collecting since the 80s when I got a VIC-20, Commodore 64, and a 128D brand new. I ran two different BBS in the Baltimore, Maryland area since the Mid and Late 80s (Demon World/The Oval Office). These days, however, I use a PC (Laptop) to update SD cards and use emulators to make sure things work correctly before pushing it to my 64.

Reading posts, I see some people these days are just using emulators and terms written for the PC to access the 64 BBS via telnet to get there Commodore fix.

I think it would be nice to have a lot of drive space and fast connections for Commodore 64 Terms (Guru Term) and PC PETSCII Terms to call so people don't have to suffer with modems speeds still. Don't get me wrong, it brings back memories but it would be nice to put some nitro on this 8-bit machine sitting to the right of me.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:01 pm 
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If anybody is interested, here is how you convert from PETSCII to ASCII:

Translate:
Chr$(20) would be changed to Chr$(8)
Chr$(65) to Chr$(90) Add 32 to the number
Chr$(96) to Chr$(122) Subtract 32 to the number

Drop:
Chr$(0) to Chr$(12)
Chr$(14) to Chr$(31)
Chr$(92)
Chr$(94) to Chr$(96)
Chr$(123) to Chr$(255)

You would do the drops when posting a message or obtaining a command from a prompt as well. That way it would be pure text that can easly translate between ASCII and PETSCII.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:10 am 
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this looks like a nice project ... maby something like what you guys are talking about
http://www.retrogradebbs.com/projects/cbbs/
but as usually I might get all mixed up in my head .. any way I like what you say


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