Bulletin Board System

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Draft

1 Definition

A bulletin board system is a pre-Internet software hosted on a computer which typically provides an electronic message database where people can log in through a modem connection and leave messages and files.

  • A computer system used as an information source and forum for a particular interest group. They were widely used in the U.S. to distribute shareware and drivers and had their heyday in the 1980s and first part of the 1990s, all before the Web took off. A BBS functions somewhat like a stand-alone Web site, but without graphics. However, unlike Web access via one connection to the Internet, each BBS had its own telephone number to dial up. (PC Magazine, retrieved 13:24, 10 April 2007 (MEST))
  • BBS /B-B-S/ n. [common; abbreviation, `Bulletin Board System'] An electronic bulletin board system; that is, a message database where people can log in and leave broadcast messages for others grouped (typically) into topic groups. The term was especially applied to the thousands of local BBS systems that operated during the pre-Internet microcomputer era of roughly 1980 to 1995, typically run by amateurs for fun out of their homes on MS-DOS boxes with a single modem line each. Fans of Usenet and Internet or the big commercial timesharing bboards such as CompuServe and GEnie tended to consider local BBSes the low-rent district of the hacker culture, but they served a valuable function by knitting together lots of hackers and users in the personal-micro world who would otherwise have been unable to exchange code at all. Post-Internet, BBSs are likely to be local newsgroups on an ISP; efficiency has increased but a certain flavor has been lost. (JargonDB, retrieved 13:24, 10 April 2007 (MEST))

See also: forums, a similar technology.

2 History

  • The first BBs appeared with the first microcomputers. The term comes from physical pieces of board on which people can pin messages written on paper for general consumption - a "physical bulletin board". Ward Christensen, the programmer and operator of the first BBS (on-line 1978-02-16) called it a CBBS for "computer bulletin board system". (Foldoc, retrieved 13:24, 10 April 2007 (MEST))
  • BBS have been used in education. (refs ??)

3 Links