Setting Up a BBS from Scratch, Help needed

I plan to host a BBS on a LAN connected to about 20(ish) clients, as part of a technical fest that will be held in my college for people to engage in it and explore the precursor to the internet. I wasn't part of the culture that grew up on BBSs, and frankly I myself learned more about just few months back and have no idea how to set up one properly, that being said I'm well versed in programming and know a fair bit of Linux.

I hope you guys can point me to a good guide on this subject (or better make one for the forum for others to use), suggestions, problems I might run into or even just a simple guide for me to take of from.

EDIT: what kind of system hardware would I need to run the BBS smoothly?

I think that you and @FaunCB will be great friends.

He knows this stuff.


He sure does:

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H-huh bweh? mumbles back to sleep

I'll post later I just woke up


Right, so playing with old shit. First theres a lot of reference sites that you can go to in order to learn about BBS'. I used like 3 but I'm too lazy to look them up. I used this one at the start because it looked like windows XP and made me happy.

Because I'm a shitlord.

They have a few references to BBS systems, but in my opinion you should use synchronet. It allows you to open a terminal and watch your clients, even type in their boxes to freak them out (kek), lots of expandability, tonnes you can do with it. You need at least 1.8 GHZ and 2GB ram. If you have a pentium M laptop laying around with a gigabit ethernet port you could use that. Core count doesn't matter as much for this as its old old software. I WOULD however run it on its own hardware. I don't know if someone could get in through synchronet to your machine but I would do it anyways. It runs on win 98 and up and on linux, but the windows one is handy because it has a nice UI.

Everything else you need is on the synchronet site, the site I posted, or sites that my site leads to.

Good luck sysop.


Also I have a back up of my bbs. Its down until further notice as I haven't had time to really maintain it. If you would like to have mine open to connect to just pm me deets.

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Thanks a lot, will PM you if required.

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It's not a real BBS unless it's limited to 1 (or maybe 2) callers at a time and 33.6Kbps max speed.

One of the most challenging aspects of the BBS days were being able to get your daily time (and download) quota filled when you were competing for connection time with other BBS users. I'd spend hours dialing the same BBS over and over just to get a busy signal. But when I finally got through - wow what a feeling.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there won't be much of a sense of appreciation of the BBS days unless you can convey the limited availability aspect - something that doesn't carry over well to modern times of multi-megabit and nearly unlimited simultaneous connections.