Multi-node BBS'

jwsmobile jws at
Tue Feb 17 09:26:59 CST 2015

On 2/17/2015 7:16 AM, JP Hindin wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Feb 2015, Mike Loewen wrote:
>> On Tue, 17 Feb 2015, JP Hindin wrote:
>>> How did people set up multi-node BBS' back in the day?
>>> I know you could run something like Desqview and run multiple copies on a
>>> single system, and some BBS' (like TBBS) had built-in multitasking so it
>>> handled multiple modems. And, of course, you could get fancy and run a
>>> Novell network. Were there other ways of doing this?
>>      Yes, on a real multi-tasking OS.  A friend of mine and I ran a
>> home-grown BBS on a Tandy 6000HD running Xenix for a couple of years
>> starting in 1986 in Sumner, WA.  Four 1200bps modems plus the console
>> allowed 5 of us to be on at the same time.  It was primarily a message
>> system (room-based), with a real-time chat facility.
> <chuckles>
> True, thanks Mike. I was being specific about DOS, actually - although I
> didn't say so, my bad. Certainly there were... shall we say, somewhat more
> advanced OS' that just simply "worked". I was more curious about what
> wedges people put in place to make multi-nodes in DOS... where it really
> didn't.
> Thanks though!
>   - JP
I used windows 95 as a platform to have multiple dos sessions going with 
shared memory.  It was not for a BBS, but the same concept would have 

The original setup for one of the debugging setups we had involved 
having two systems set up in close proximity with a crossover cable 
between the COM1 ports.  One would run a debugging program on one port, 
and run our package on the other.  It was pretty nice, but was not 
convenient to duplicate at the time, and also didn't translate to being 
able to duplicated as early laptop hardware showed up.

The guys were lugging 2 laptops, and a PCI dock with our hardware around 
to customer sites to debug things.

Both systems were massive Microsoft C6 c programs running under dos.

Anyway, I realized I could run both the software in debug mode, and the 
debug client in separate windows, but still had no way other than the 
serial ports to connect them.

I modified the programs and added a small driver setup to each as an 
option to emulate a serial port, which used shared memory to communicate 
between the processes.  we had an expansion memory that was not used as 
system memory, and could be easily located, so I put a few bytes in the 
structure to create the port.

Windows 95 booted in real mode, then went protected and returned with 
real mode processor sessions, with the base mode still being the 
original Dos boot.

Windows 98 went directly into protected or big real protected mode and 
created dos sessions, so the base system was not a real mode dos 
session.  It worked in a lot of cases, but not all.  Windows 95 always 
had the original dos real mode session as the boot on the processor, so 
most everything executed by a dos session as a driver executed in that 
real mode.

If you had the ports hooked up, you could set up a session to have 
individual dos sessions running in real mode for each port.

If you used the protected bios, you had to deal with different drivers 
than the actual Dos drivers that were used prior to the windows 
multitasking being around.

I didn't get into trying any of this under Windows for Workgroups type 
NT systems, only when 95 came along did i attempt the tricks above.

HOpefully described the structure okay, as it has been a long time since 
having to deal with this.


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