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                >>>>> THE OFFICIAL BBS FAQ <<<<<


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 1.01 - INTRODUCTION -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Why was The Official BBS FAQ written?

Every day, I'd sign-on to local BBSes to download my e-mail and review the Usenet newsgroups. After reading alt.bbs for a few months, I noticed the same questions being asked over and over again. One day, I read a message asking if there was a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the alt.bbs newsgroups. If not, the poster asked if someone would be willing to write one. The idea appealed to me.

I've never run a BBS of my own; however, I've signed-on a wide variety of bulletin board services all over the United States. I've helped sysops setup their boards plus I've done computer tech support. Additionally, as a consultant and writer, I was particularly attracted to the idea of assisting computer users in their enjoyment of BBSing. From all of this combined experience, I decided to develop the much-needed FAQ.

To begin the project, I posted a message in March of 1994 to alt.bbs newsgroups, calling for people to contribute to the BBS FAQ. The mail started flowing-in immediately and continued for weeks. The overall response was great! All sorts of people were willing to offer their time and knowledge to the long-awaited FAQ.

I created a Table of Contents based on my own knowledge and on the questions/suggestions I saw in the newsgroups. I then gathered information from various sources to build the comprehensive guide that follows. The end-product is intended to aid those who use bulletin boards as well as to assist those who run them or want to setup BBSes of their own.

The Official BBS FAQ was built BY the people of the Net, FOR the people of the Net. Many thanks to all who contributed.


Claire Walters

Where do I send e-mail regarding the BBS FAQ?

Any comments, corrections, deletions or additions for this FAQ please send e-mail to the editor/author (Claire Walters) at: - - BBSFAQ@AOL.COM

Any corrections, additions, or deletions for Chapter 3 (Sysoping with Macintosh/Apple) please send e-mail to: Internet: (James Barry) Refer to chapter 3 for further information on how to contact James Barry.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1.02 - DISCLAIMERS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= This article answers frequently asked questions (FAQ) for the alt.bbs, alt.bbs.allsysop, and comp.bbs.misc Usenet newsgroups. It is intended for those who want to start a BBS or for those sysops already running a BBS who may be seeking further information.

All information in this article is believed to be correct at the time of writing. However, please recognize that this is an evolving document and that the information that follows may contain inaccuracies. Please direct suggestions for improvement or corrections to the editor/author at, BBSFAQ@AOL.COM or

The editor/author is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned herein.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1.03 COPYRIGHT NOTICE =-=-=-==-=-==-=-=-=-= The Official BBS FAQ is Copyright 1994, by Claire Walters. All rights reserved.

You are granted the following rights: I. To make copies of this work in original form, so long as (a) The copies are exact and complete. (b) The copies include the copyright notice and these paragraphs in

  their entirety.

© The copies give obvious credit to the author, Claire Walters. (d) The copies are in electronic form only.

II. To distribute this work, or copies made under the provisions

  above, so long as,

(a) this is the original work and not a derivative form. (b) you do not charge a fee for copying or for distribution. © you ensure that the distributed form includes the copyright

  notice, this paragraph, the disclaimer of warranty in their
  entirety and credit to the author. (Claire Walters)

(d) the distributed form is not in an electronic magazine or within

  computer software (prior explicit permission may be obtained 
  from Claire Walters)

(e) the distributed form is the NEWEST version of the article to

  the best of the knowledge of the distributor.

(f) the distributed form is electronic.

      You may not distribute this work by any non-electronic 

media, including but not limited to books, newsletters, magazines, manuals, catalogs, and speech. You may not distribute this work in electronic magazines, CD-ROMS or within computer software without prior written explicit permission. These rights are temporary and revocable upon written, oral, or other notice by Claire Walters. This copyright notice shall be governed by the laws of the state of New Jersey.

If you would like additional rights beyond those granted above, write to the author at, Internet: BBSFAQ@AOL.COM or

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1.04 - TRADEMARK INFORMATION =–=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The software & products mentioned in this FAQ is the properties and trademark of their respective owners.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1.05 - WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD THE BBS FAQ? =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The Official BBS FAQ will be posted periodically in the, alt.bbs, alt.bbs.allsysop, comp.bbs.misc, news.answers, and comp.answers Usenet newsgroups.

It is also available to download from America Online in the PC Telecom forum as BBSFAQ01.ZIP


FTP to

FILES: /pub/bbsfaq/bbsfaq.toc


Requesting the BBS FAQ via e-mail:

To be announced

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1.06 - MEET THE BBS FAQ WRITERS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

About the author/editor

- Claire Walters, DBA Windsorware

FAQ Author/Editor
Computer Consultant, Freelance Writer, Custom Windows HLP files
Internet: or BBSFAQ@AOL.COM 

Credits & Acknowledgments

My special thanks goes to:

- My family & JT

- Brian Kramer

Owner/Systems Administrator -
New Jersey Computer Connection
Home of The Official BBS FAQ
Public Access Unix Site -
Voice: 609-896-2799 - Fax: 609-896-2994 - Dialups: 609-896-3191
Dialup or Telnet to and log in as,
guest for more information.


- Anssi Johansson


- Bill McDermott - Bill Shefski


- Bjorn Hermans


- Carl J. Elitz,

Internet: or

- Dan Birchall


- Dan D. Gutierrez - David McGuire

Internet:  PCCKDR@AOl.COM

- Derek Douville


- Dave Shaw


- Eric Hoffmann


- James Barry


- Mike Bryeans


- Prasad Golla


- Rikk Streng


- Scott Wiard


- Stan P. Barrack


- Tom Snider-Lotz


- Uri Hasson


- William Bell


- Zachary M. Loafman


- Hank Leukart


Thanks to those I might have missed who sent info or offered suggestions.




                    COMMERCIAL BBS SOFTWARE

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.01 - EXCALIBUR BBS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= - Info for Excalibur BBS will be available in future versions of

the FAQ.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.02 - MAJOR BBS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= - Info for Major BBS will be available in future versions of the


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.03 - SEARCHLIGHT BBS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= by, Tom Snider-Lotz

We (my co-conspirator Nancy, and I) operate a two-line BBS from our office in order to provide files and other information to our customers. We've been using Searchlight BBS (SLBBS) software since the beginning, about 3 years ago, and have never regretted the decision.

Our boss conceived of the idea of having an office BBS, and he tapped Nancy and I because we were computer literate and had some experience online (I was a sysop on GEnie at the time). He had some other requirements, too: it had to be done quickly, very cheaply, and without diverting too much of our time from our "real work." Though we had plenty of experience calling BBSs, neither of us had ever had to program one, so that added one more requirement: it had to be friendly to newbie sysops. And, since most of our callers would also be new to BBSing, it had to be user-friendly. We set about looking for software that was easy to get running, full-featured, easy to use, and inexpensive. What we chose was Searchlight.


Setting up SLBBS is a snap. As it comes "out of the box," it's ready to run with Mail, Bulletins, and a message area (SLBBS calls them "subboards") already set up. Adding one or more File Directories and additional Subboards is merely a matter of filling in the blanks on the Setup menus. If you want to limit access to Subboards and File Directories, that's easy. Users can be assigned any combination of 24 "security attributes" as well as one of 256 numerical access levels. You can then use these attributes as requirements for entry into Subboards and File Directories. You can also apply these requirements to any option on the SLBBS menus.

The default SLBBS menus are pretty much like any other BBS I've seen – a couple of columns of commands, with a highlighted letter for choosing each command (does "G" for "Goodbye" sound familiar?). This is easy to change if you want something different. For example, we changed the menus so the commands were selected by a number instead of a letter. If you wish, SLBBS will lay out the menu for you – you tell SLBBS what the choices are and what the access levels are for each choice, and SLBBS will figure out how to display the menu. Users who don't have proper access level for a menu choice won't even see that choice.

If you want more creative menus, you can design your own menus using a text editor – including special effects like colors, blinking, underlining, etc.

We haven't tried setting up RIP graphics menus, so I can't comment too much on that. I gather from the manual that it's very similar: SLBBS will do it for you, or you can customize.


One of the really nice features of SLBBS is its text editor. The e-mail system and the message boards both use a full-screen editor that allows full-screen cursor movement, scrolling, and the use of function keys. The user can insert codes for colors and other special effects, upload text, and insert text from other files. For users without ANSI capability, there's also a standard line editor.

SLBBS supports all the standard file transfer protocols, including built-in ZMODEM. You can add external protocols as well, such as YMODEM-Batch and HS/LINK. SLBBS can access CD-ROM drives as well as the hard disk.

The message and the mail system allow uploaded messages and attached files. Users also can download entire message threads. QWK mail support is built in.

Other nice features include:

* the ability to be run from a LAN;

* the ability to connect with Fidonet and RIME/UTI-compatible


* inter-user chat;

* the ability to run many DOS programs as Doors without using

   an intermediate Door program;
  • accurate recognition of connect speeds up to 38.4 Kbps;

* name completion – SLBBS will complete a user's name or file

   name automatically if you type in partial information;

* single menu commands that can trigger execution of long

   sequences of commands;

* easy setup of additional nodes (SLBBS is designed to use

   DesqView as a multi-tasker when using multiple nodes; others
   have used it successfully with OS/2 and Windows NT as well);

* the ability to tag files for future downloading.


As we discovered, whether a system is easy for callers to use is mostly up to the sysops. The good news about SLBBS is that it's so flexible, so adaptable, that we could modify it to fit our conception of ease of use. Want to change the colors? No problem. Want to nest the menus five deep? No problem. Want to arrange the menu choices in a circle? No problem. Want to give users a visual map of the entire BBS, available from each menu? You guessed it.


One thing that kept bothering me as we were "interviewing" potential software was why SLBBS was so inexpensive compared to many of the big-name BBS programs? What did they have that SLBBS didn't? We still haven't figured that one out!

As I write this, SLBBS comes in four versions, priced according to how many lines (nodes) the software will support. For a single line, the price is $99; one to three lines, $179; one to ten lines, $299; and an unlimited number of lines, $399.


The people at Searchlight Software are very helpful. We've never been disappointed. The primary source of support is the main Searchlight BBS in Cleveland (numbers are given below). The program's author, Frank LaRosa, is active on the BBS, and you can also get input from the sysops of lots of other Searchlight systems. If the BBS-based support isn't enough, you can talk to real live people by telephone.


Everything I've described so far refers to SLBBS's standard text- based interface. However, in the minds of the Searchlight Software folks, their most impressive feature is their built-in RIP graphical interface. RIP technology, if you aren't aware, provides your BBS with an attractive graphical user interface (GUI). Every SLBBS program sold, if called by RIP-capable communications program, can provide a full GUI interface, including scroll bars, push buttons, and dialog boxes. You can also have eye-catching logon screens, mouse-able online games, and even animation. Many BBS software programs are jumping on the RIP bandwagon, but (I'm told) SLBBS offers more complete built-in support for RIP graphics than any other BBS software.

We haven't activated the RIP interface feature on our BBS, primarily because our most of our users don't use a mouse with their computer, and don't use a communications program that supports RIP. Also, my experience is that, at 2400 bps (our maximum) and with a slow monitor, RIP graphics can be a bit slow. To me, the current RIP technology is sort of like the early versions of Windows – the concept is there, but its time hasn't come quite yet. (Others would disagree with me.)


The best introduction to Searchlight is first-hand experience. If you call the main Searchlight BBS, you can;

  • see SLBBS in action;
  • see RIP graphics in action (if you've got RIP-capable

communications software);

  • get a freeware RIP-capable communications program (RIPterm,

from TeleGrafix);

  • get a list of Searchlight BBSs in your geographical area;
  • get a feel for the support available from Searchlight

Software; and

  • download a demo copy of Searchlight to try out on your own.

After you've seen SLBBS in action, and tried it out for yourself, you can decide whether it's what you want. We're very happy with it.

Searchlight Software 6516 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, OH 44102 voice: (216) 631-9290 fax: (216) 631-9289 BBS: (216) 631-9285 orders: (800) 780-LITE

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.04 - PC BOARD =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


- Packet switch support - Full Internationalization of dates & code page - FOSSIL support for virtually any intelligent serial card(/M code) - File attachment to messages - Multiple daily events - Full support for 2 byte international character sets - Built-in .QWK message packet support - Jukebox & "slow" CD-ROM support - Incoming Fax support - Carbon-Copy list support - Return Receipt message support - Caller-ID support - ALIAS support by conference area - RIPscrip support for remote callers - PPL (PCBoard Programming Language Compiler) (Optional) - Automatic 16550 UART recognition & support - Intelligent & non-intelligent multi-port serial card support - Full screen text editor - ANSI graphics support - Full color operation - Thread reading of messages - Supports up to 65,535 conference (message base) areas - 36 file transfer protocols supported - Supports 37,767 DOORS per conference - Real-Time 255 channel node chat (CB chat) - Long message headers for all NetMail programs including

Internet, Usenet & others.

- Local network logins for in-house e-mail support - Direct connect support for in-house serial networks & PADS - Communicates directly with OS/2 COMM drivers to allow large

number of multiple nodes under OS/2 

- Automatically detects OS/2 operation for time-slice control - Full network support for any NetBIOS compatible network, including

Netware, LAN tastic, 3-Com, Vines & more.

- Full remote DOS access for SysOp if desired - True & complete multi-lingual language support


IBM PC compatible Minimum 320k RAM DOS 3.1 or higher Modem to support remote dial-in

- PCBoard/M Needs 80386 CPU or higher since code is written using 80386 instructions for maximum speed.


PPL Compiler

The PPL Compiler allows you to change or add features to your PCBoard system. Simply write your code in a BASIC like language, compile, and attach your results to PCBoard.

PCBoard Toolkit

The PCBoard Toolkit allows you to write extensive DOOR programs in either C or C++ (Borland or MS). Clark Development provides all the communication, display and file routines needed to produce a truly professional PCBoard DOOR program.

PCBoard (Version 15.1) PRICING - EFFECTIVE FEB. 16, 1994

PCBoard 2 User $ 150.00 PCBoard 5 User $ 250.00 PCBoard 10 User $ 350.00 PCBoard 25 User $ 550.00 PCBoard 50 User $ 750.00 PCBoard 100 User $ 950.00 PCBoard 250 User $2000.00 PCBoard 1000 User $7000.00 PCBoard Toolkit $ 180.00 ($150 with PCBoard Purchase)

PPL Compiler $ 80.00 ($50 with PCBoard Purchase)

Extended BBS Access $ 40.00

DESQview 386 $ 179.00 Multitasking Software

DOORWAY $ 40.00

Site License Pricing

Site Licenses are available. (Call Clark Development for further information about pricing)

Competitive Discounts

Competitive trade-in discounts are available. For more information please call Clark Development.


Payments accepted by VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Checks by Phone, Cashiers Check, Money Orders or Personal Checks. School District and Government Agency Purchase Orders are accepted.

Contacting PCBoard

Clark Development Company, Inc. 3950 South 700 East, Ste 303 Murray, UT 84107-2173 800.356.1686 (Orders only) 801.261.1686 (Voice) 801.261.8987 (FAX) 801.261.8976 (BBS)

Extended BBS Support Access

Extended Salt Air BBS access allows you to contact the Clark Development support BBS in Salt Lake using special dedicated phone lines which provide 2 hours of daily on-line time.


BRAZIL: Alexandar Mandic Voice: 55.11.816.3245

             Mandic BBS LtDA            Fax:    55.11.816.3245
             Rua Jerico, 39             BBS:    55.11.816.3911
             Sao Paulo, SP 05435-040

DENMARK: Morten Olsen Voice:

             Danish Key Board BBS       Fax:
             International House        BBS:
             2300-S Copenhagen

FRANCE: Lionel Bruno Voice:

             Microtel Amiposte          Fax:
             71, rue Cheret             BBS:
             9400 Ctreeil 

NETHERLANDS: Arthur Mol Voice: 31.2155.28631

            The Owl's Nest              Fax:    31.2155.26527
            Hazepad 25                  BBS:    31.2155.12571
            3766 JL Soest

NORWAY: John Nordbo Voice: 47.52.717170

            EuroNet                     Fax:    47.52.716071
            Hasselgt 31                 BBS:    47.52.716021
            Haugesund, 5501

PORTUGAL: Luis Silva Voice: 351.61.313834

            MSmac, Lda                  Fax:    351.61.314226
            R.Princesa Benedita         BBS:    351.51.312935 
            LT 7 1 Drt
            2560 Torres Vedras

SAUDI ARABIA: Mohammed Albatati Voice: 966.1.478.8314

            B.E.S.T PCBoard Info.       Fax:    966.1.477.1908
            P.O Box 2132                BBS:    966.1.478.6703
            Riyadh 11451
            Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

SINGAPORE: Tee Tong Chiew Voice: 65.337.6213

            Comsertrac Computer Centre  Fax:    65.337.2952
            #1 Spohia Road              BBS:    65.336.5351
            #06-25 Peace Centre
            Singapore, 0922

SOUTH AFRICA: Ian Gerada Voice: 27.11.789.6192

            Fincompt Technologies       Fax:    27.11.789.6081
            355 Kent Avenue             BBS:    27.11.482.1277
            Randburg, Transvaal 2125
            South Africa

SPAIN: David Llamas Gaberenet Voice: 34.3.589.1101

            Abaforum                    Fax:    34.3.589.4483
            Rambla del Cellar 65        BBS:    34.3.589.3888
            SantCugat, Barcelona, 08190

SWEDEN: Peter Svensson Voice: 46.8.664.2557

            CPS Sound & Vision          Fax:    46.8.728.8430
            Skeppargatan 102            BBS:    46.8.736.0410
            S-115 30 Stockholm

SWITZERLAND: Ueli Maurer Voice: 41.64.562.233

            Hitline Communications      Fax:    41.64.561.133
            Hintermaettistr. 5          BBS:    41.64.560.200

UK: Alastair Mclntyre Voice: 44.0324.482435

            ALMAC Computer Services     Fax:    44.0324.665155
            141 Bo'ness Road            BBS:    44.0324.665371
            Grangemouth, Stirlingshire
            FK3 9BS, Scotland
            United Kingdom

SOLVENIJA: Boris Horvat Voice:

            ABM d.o.o                   Fax:
            Ziherlova 43/40
            61000 Ljubljana

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-= 2.05 - TBBS-The Bread Board System =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-= - Info for TBBS will be available in future versions of the FAQ.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.06 - WILDCAT! BBS v3.9 -=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Wildcat is a very powerful, secure, and friendly BBS software from both a sysop's and user's point of view. It is very easy to set up and maintain, with interactive install and configuration programs. If security is important to you, Wildcat is the software you want. Since the first release in 1986, Wildcat has never been hacked due to a deficiency in the program code. Although much effort has been put into maintaining compatibility with other systems, Wildcat has many features that set it apart from other BBS systems, such as internal file transfer protocols, and RIP graphics support. Wildcat is commercial software. It is not shareware, although a test drive version is available. You may not copy and distribute the software. Wildcat is published by Mustang Software Inc., the makers of Qmodem, and OffLine Xpress.


- IBM personal computer or true compatible - PC-DOS or MS-DOS version 3.3 or later (Note: Wildcat should NOT be ru under Windows or OS/2) - Asynchronous communications adapter (serial port) - RS-232 cable with 9 pins (some modem cable don't have all pins

hooked up)

- Intelligent AT command set modem (Hayes compatible) - 80 column monochrome or color monitor - Voice-grade telephone connection for modem - 384K minimum RAM, 512K recommended - Hard Disk Drive


- Free technical support by phone

Monday-Friday, 9 am-5pm Pacific Time
(805) 873-2550

- Automatic notification of program updates - Software upgrades at a reduced price - 24-hour access to Support BBS - BBS access to download utilities written by Mustang software - PC Vendor Forum on CompuServe (GO PCVENA)


This section will point out some of Wildcat's features.

- Fast indexed access to all data files (Users, Messages, Files) - Easy setup with install program and configuration program - RIP graphics support - Flexible security with up to 1000 security profiles - Date of Birth and Phone as optional security checks - Optional excluding 300, 1200, or 2400 baud - Supports locked DTE rates up to 57,600 bps - 100+ customizably display files with embedded code support for

insertion of user or system info, or ANSI codes

- Message features:

  1. Full-Screen editor with reply
  2. Quoting
  3. Forwaring
  4. Return reciepts
  5. Carbon copies
  6. File attaching

- Up to 1000 conferences and Up to 1000 file areas - ANSI graphics support, auto-detected at logon - File descriptions as single line, 2-line, or full description - Files can be marked for download while reading file lists, and time

indicated for each file is based on caller's baud rate

- Caller notification of bulletin updates based on date and time - MAKEQUES.EXE, full screen questionaire editor - Remote event timer allowing up to 65,535 external events - Configurable screen pausing, based on callers screen length - Help files available - Fast login system to proceed directly to main menu or mail door - Most sysop maintenance functions available from remote - INTERNAL file transfer protocols for X/Y/Zmodem and Kermit - Support for external doors for games, etc. - Hot Key entry of single letter commands (no Enter required) - Birthday message sent on users birthday - Tomcat QWK-compatible mail door

Ordering Wildcat! BBS

To order Wildcat send a check or money order for the correct amount plus $10 shipping to:

                  Mustang Software Inc.
                  P.O. Box 2264
                  Bakersfield, CA 93303-9943
   For information on pricing or ordering, call (805) 873-2500.

Pricing and Availability

All of MSI's products are available through normal software outlets such as Software Etc. and CompUSA, however all upgrade purchases are only available through MSI direct.

                            NEW          UPGRADE

Wildcat! Single Line $129.00 $50.00 Wildcat! MultiLine 10 $249.00 $50.00 Wildcat! MultiLine 250 $499.00 $50.00 Wildcat! MultiLine Platinum $799.00 $50.00

Wildcat! BBS Suite $999.00 —- (includes MultiLine Platinum, wcPRO, wcGATE, and wcCODE)

wcPRO Utilities (with wcFAX) $99.00 $50.00

wcGATE Internet/MHS Messaging Gateway

                          $149.00        $50.00 *

wcCODE Custom Online Development Engine

                           $149.00       $50.00 **

* wcGATE is $50 for anyone upgrading from wcUUCP or wcMHS only. It is

 $149 for all new orders.

** wcCODE is $50 through 8/31/94 for anyone upgrading from an older

 copy of Wildcat! BBS.  It is $149 for all new orders.
                    HOST PROGRAMS FOR WINDOWS

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.07 - FILEX -=-=-=-=-=-=-=- - Info for Filex will be available in future versions of the


-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-= 2.08 - FREEMAIL -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- - Info for Freemail will be available in future versions of the


——— Continued in next message ———–

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