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What I need to setup BBS nowadays? I'm thinking of BBBS or PCBoard (no telnet! too new technology).

What I've thinked so far, I'd need: virtual machine which runs DOS and hook that virtual COM-port to somekind of virtual VoIP modem software somehow (is there any?). How you can call to it across internet? Can you use HyperTerminal straight with that virtual/real modem?

Or will VoIP just garble the modem data and nothing will work?

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8 Answers

The last time I did this I was using 14400 modem, zmodem protocol and a dos software names pegasus.

If you don't mind me asking, why are you trying to setup a bbs ? I mean, what are you trying to accomplish what couldn't be accomplished by other means.

I also didn't understand the part about accessing the internet. Please, if you could elaborate on this, and the above a little more.

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I'm trying to see if this part of computing history is affected by bit rot - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rot . Accessing internet part means that there's no actual land phonelines in use so you have to "call" the bbs with virtual modem TO virtual modem via VoIP. –  raspi Sep 18 '09 at 21:56
    
Uhh, well, in my opinion, bbs's are obsolete (one for the rot) Don't get me wrong, I loved them in the old days; used to maintain one for that matter. But I can't find any pro reasons why I'd want to use them today as opposed to ... I now however see what you're trying to do. Unfortunatelly, I don't think I'll be able to help you much with this - but imho, it seems a little like a longshot (many little problems can arise) for what, ... just to try something that will probably be of no use. Why ? I mean, it's your –  ldigas Sep 18 '09 at 22:35
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call, but still ... if I wished to maintain a bbs alike board today, I think I'd go (like someone already suggested) with phpbb - I saw it working a few times, and it is a nice system. –  ldigas Sep 18 '09 at 22:38
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You may want to check out RenegadeBBS. That's software I used to run on an old BBS. That have an updated version now that's designed to run on the Internet and it looks like the site has information on how to set it up.

EDIT: Scratch that, it looks like the links on the site are dead. They point you to http://bbsfiles.com/main.html

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All BBSs (single-line or multi-line) that I'm aware of require modems. And, also to my knowledge, there's no such thing as VoIP modem; you can attach a modem to a VoIP communications network (such as ShoreTel's, for example), but you'll still need to connect the modem to a land line; there's no way to do modem-to-modem communication via TCP/IP (again, to my knowledge).

The original intention of bulletin board systems was to allow people to communicate serially or in parallel (again, single-line vs. multi-line). That function has been pretty well taken care of by e-mail, bulletin board web sites, "Web 2.0" web sites, etc. There's really no need to have a BBS any more.

However, if that's what you want to do, there's nothing stopping you from digging up an old copy of WWIV BBS somewhere (I'm sure it's available for download if you look hard enough; looks like it's here, actually), slapping a modem on one of your physical COM ports, using a virtual machine to set up DOS, the BBS, and connection to the modem, then firing it up and giving your phone number out.

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if you check out bbbs they have it for linux. i am testing it out on centos 5.5. they seem to have added telnet and ssh options to it. i am still figuring it out though as i was wanting to use it to host my ftp sites for my friends.

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Apparently you can run a legacy version of WWIV 4.24 under dosbox. You have to configure the init in WWIV for port 23. I know of someone doing this under windows but have not gotten any response from him on exactly how to do it yet. Also, I hear that you can only do this with one node. I know someone else using the latest version of OS2/warp with VMware and running 4.24.

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@Raspi could you explain your use case more. For example, you can get much of the same BBS benefit by running phpBB or something like that.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The answer is: you can't do this just yet 100% virtualized.

What's available now:

  • Virtual machine running OS and BBS software connected to virtual COM1
  • OS running virtual physical port which is connected to virtual modem

Where it goes downhill:

ITU V.150.1 standard AKA V.MOIP (Modem over IP) support is in the works. VoIP is designed for human voice which causes that you can't run virtual modem over VoIP because modem sounds will garble and be distorted. Some hardware boxes support it but those cost money.

So BBS is in "Waiting for calls" state until MoIP support is enhanced :)

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Actually, dial up modems were originally designed for, and used on equipment only intended for human voice. Looking at the ITU V.34 modem standard, you should be able to achieve between 14.4 and 33.6kbps transfer rates over a voip line. The other more recent modem tech may fail due to the fact that VoIP is different than a copper wire pair connected to a phone exchange. You are in luck that modem standards allowed auto fallback to the speed that is supported by both modem ends and the medium in the middle, though you may end up with as little as 1.2 kbps –  BeowulfNode42 Apr 28 at 12:21
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I believe there are Internet gateways to BBSes. They're essentially just ANSI terminals, so something like telnet + VT100 would be the common way, I think. I understand that you want to do this in a more traditional way though.

The closest modern solution would be a terminal connected to a serial-over-IP virtual port, like this:

http://www.virtualserialport.com/products/serial-over-ethernet/

They provide a linux solution there too, but Linux probably has something similar to this built-in, if you look for it. Telnet isn't that different though.

Forget about modems altogether, unless you actually want to dial somewhere. The idea of modulating a digital signal into analog voice, communicating it over a modern, digital, error-corrected, fast, modern network, and then demodulating it and error correcting on the far end before feeding it into the BBS is just non-sensical and redundant. If you DO need to dial another BBS, you would probably do that with a pool of modems connected to analog-level lines, or with some kind of hardware router/gateway that manages a bunch of ISDN lines, for example, but I'm not sure of the details there.

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