I need a Windows XP compatible comm prog, and ideas?

I am writing a Visual Basic frontend that runs on a Windows XP laptop that is plugged into an embedded Linux device over 3-wire RS232. I need to both send commands and trasfer files over this simple link.

Normally, I would setup a PPP link and then use the standard TCP/IP stuff. However, I am not comfortable doing so here. The laptop is Windows XP, it will be operated by non-technical staff, and the Linux system is an underwater instrument. Too many things can go wrong already, I want to keep my part simple.

I currently need something like Zmodem or Kermit to run on the Windows side to receive files, but I also need it scriptable, AND it has to support long filenames ruling out dozens of good DOS-era programs. I can't install anything really extraordinary to the laptop (like Cygwin), but one relatively small program would be fine. Hyperterm is unscriptable; the Zmodem components I've found for sale cost serious money; Synchronet's zmodem appears to be sockets only; no one seems to have a direct port of rzsz for Win32 console. I tried QmodemPro for Windows 95 (MSI released it to the wild after they went under) but it isn't behaving well at all on XP.

I am about to purchase a license for Kermit 95, but thought to ask here first. Anyone have a scriptable zmodem/kermit, either standalone or as part of a modem program, that is well-behaved in Win32 and handles long filenames?

EDIT: I found a reasonable solution. www.omen.com has ported ZComm to Win32 console. The shareware version has a nag screen, but I can programmatically handle that, and if it works out I might end up purchasing a license anyway. The really nice thing is it behaves much like a pretty advanced DOS-era modem program, but supports long filenames.

What "lost" BBS tech do we need restored?

Straightforward question: Are there any BBS-era ideas or technology that have been forgotten in the Internet Age that we would like to bring back?

Longer discussion: I've spent the last two years cloning Qmodem(tm) (see previous posts) and in the process I've had to do a lot of testing against the original BBS-era programs. Getting zmodem to work with rz/sz was so NOT fun, nor was getting my VT100 emulation past both vttest and VMS, but they're done now so we can all benefit someday. The experience has also led me to create two more projects out of my emulator: a drop-in replacement for rz/sz (without the spaghetti nightmare of the Omen code) and a Unix-ish port of HS/Link (so that a good bi-directional protocol will be available to Free Software systems). Now I'm trying to brainstorm other neat ideas from the BBS era that would should try to bring back, even if only a few people would use them.

For example: Where I work right now, the BBS worldview is perfect for my needs. I have to connect over both RS232 and ssh-over-wireless-ethernet to embedded systems running Linux that are themselves plugged into lots of RS232 devices. Some of these devices need configuration files sent to them with xmodem, ymodem, and ascii transfers. Lots of times I need a good long scrollback, the ability to capture to disk, and keyboard macros for frequent commands. My terminal emulator -- modeled after the typical BBS comm program -- can do all of these things much more conveniently than trying to get the Unix commands to work (especially rz/sz over a serial port, I have to setup the port with stty and then redirect sz's stdin/stdout with the shell, etc.). All my emulator really lacks is scripting, and once it gets that I'll be scripting it into a decent Tradewars helper. :) So it's much more than nostalgia driving my development. I use this stuff every day now, and I wonder if there's even more that would make life easier that I've just not been exposed to.

Any ideas?


Does anyone have screenshots of text-mode BBSes in operation? Mainly I want to see how the commercial systems (TBBS, Major, WildCat, etc) implemented multi-line chat (I never used multi-line boards back in the day).

Googling "bbs screenshots" hasn't led me anywhere useful.


I found this LJ community when searching for interests that I have, and I went straight into memories of my childhood.

I was 13 when I first got my 286 with my 2400 baud modem. Started off on Prodigy, joined PenPal clubs, then through my own development of technology knowledge, I ran across BBSes. That is where I had met my ex-best friend, who I was best friends with for 13 yrs as well as my ex-boyfriend (who I was dating for 7 yrs until a few years ago). It was a critical part of my childhood and I love sharing stories with others who have experienced the wonders of bulletin board systems. That is also where I started downloading programs, posting messages on boards, teleconferencing, chat... and the infamous M00fing in chat. As well as hacking (very minor) and taking over BBSes. It was such a fun time in my life. :) Just wanted to share.

- Jessica
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Qodem, the Qmodem(tm)-inspired terminal emulator, now in beta

I have just release a a new version of my terminal emulator Qodem. Everyone is encouraged to try it out and open any bugs found on Qodem's Sourceforge "Bugs" page. Please note that it only runs on Linux-like systems, AND this first release requires the English locale to be set (export LANG=en_US). I'll have a non-localized English-only version out in a few more weeks, and you want to download the file qodem-0.1.0_en.tar.gz so you don't have to set your locale.

This is the first release I've designated "beta" because it finally has the critical mass of features to make it a reasonable BBS client. It can connect over telnet, ssh, and dialup; supports ANSI (+ music), Avatar, and VT102; has keyboard function-key macros; capture file, scrollback buffer, screen dump; X/Y/Zmodem.

It's come a very long way since I started it 2 years ago. I hope others out there can benefit.

Yesterday I dialed into what appears to be the last BBS in my local area, a Maximus 3.01 system. Everything actually worked alright -- I felt 14 all over again. :)

BBS: The Documentary

I exchanged a couple emails with this guy a few years back when he was still working on it. Unfortunately for my burning desire for fame, he wasn't passing through MI again anytime soon, so I'm not in it. *grins*

(Text stolen from http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/)

"BBS: The Documentary" is an 8 episode series about all aspects of the history of the dial-up Bulletin Board System, or BBS. 3 years in the making and the result of over 200 interviews, this collection puts in one convenient package a sense of the variety and wide-reaching effects of the BBS phenomenon. All in all, over seven and a half hours of material is included across the three region-free DVDs.

Among the features of this documentary:

* 5 and a half hours of episodes
* Over 80 minutes of bonus footage
* Commentary Tracks and Statements by Jason Scott
* Easter Eggs
* Subtitles on all Episodes and Footage
* Region-Free DVDS
* No Copy Protection, CSS or Macrovision
* Licensed under Creative Commons
* DVD-ROM Section with:
o Thousands of photos
o Additional audio interviews
o Speeches by Jason Scott and guests

The price is $50 plus shipping and handling.

PS I saw a web site yesterday that had Blinking Red Text and all I could think of was "AHHH! ^8 ^8 ^8!!! MY BLINKING RED EYES!"

New Qodem release

I last mentioned my pet terminal emulator project about a year ago. I've just released the next milestone if anyone wants to take a look: Qodem Homepage. Most important features are brand-new X/Y/Zmodem and dozens of bugfixes in the scrollback handling and ANSI/Avatar emulation.

As always, if anyone wants features not listed in the TODO, please let me know.
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Classic BBS Gaming

I used to run a WWIV board way back in the day in California, and then a Synchronet board in Omaha. I eventually moved to a Telnet board before losing everything to a bad HDD crash.

Nostalgia struck, and now I'm running a Legend of the Green Dragon game on my server. It's a PHP-based RPG originally inspired by one of the greatest BBS/DOOR games of all time, Legend of the Red Dragon.

The server I'm running is fully customized, with modules I've written myself. The game is constantly in development, with new material. The server is fairly new, so no one will be player-killing your brand new character right off the bat. In fact, I haven't really seen anyone attack new players at all.

The players are friendly, and the game is good fun.

Here's hoping you will not only give it a try, but also pass on the link to some of your friends who might enjoy a PHP based game.



31337 5p34/

It is amazing how long it has survived. It might have changed (what ever happened to k-rad, btw? ;), but it is still here. And now, you too can learn it from our dear friends over at Microsoft! ;D

(My apologies to those on my friend's list, who have already seen this ;)