Monday, March 21, 2011

Bulletin Boards/Usenet

Bulletin board system
A Bulletin Board System or BBS is software that allows users to connect to the computer system on which the software is installed. In the beginning this connection was typically made over an analog phone line, to perform various social and recreational tasks, and communicate with others on the system. Using a terminal program, remote users can perform functions such as downloading software and data, uploading data, listening to news and music, playing games, reading news, and exchanging messages with other users. Most bulletin boards serve specific interest groups. They allow you to dial in with a modem, review messages left by others, and leave your own message if you want. Bulletin boards are a particularly good place to find free or inexpensive software products. In the United States alone, there are tens of thousands of BBSs.
During their heyday (from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s), many BBSes were run as a hobby free of charge by the "SysOp" (system operator), while other BBSes charged their users a subscription fee for access. Still others were run by Internet service providers as part of their service to subscribers.
In some parts of Asia the term BBS may be used to refer to any online forum or message board.
Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web and other aspects of the Internet. BBSes were a highly social phenomenon and were used for meeting people and having discussions in message boards as well as for publishing articles, downloading software, playing games and many more things using a single application.
The BBS was also a local phenomenon, as one had to dial into a BBS with a phone line and would have to pay additional long distance charges for a BBS out of the local area, as opposed to less expensive local charges. Thus, many users of a given BBS usually lived in the same area, and it was common for activities such as BBS Meets or Get Togethers (GTGs), where everyone from the board would gather and meet face to face, to take place.
A classic BBS had:
• A computer
• One or more modems
• One or more phone lines
• A BBS software package
• A sysop - system operator


Usenet is a distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP network of the same name. It was conceived by Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979. Users read and post email-like messages (called "articles") to a number of distributed newsgroups, categories that resemble bulletin board systems in most respects. The medium is distributed among a large number of servers, which store and forward messages to one another. Individual users download and post messages to a single server, usually operated by their internet service provider or university, and the servers exchange the messages between each other.

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