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A BBS In A Browser? 2020-03-27


In case it isn't clear, I used to run a BBS a long time ago. The BBS culture was different than online communities now, it was closer and frankly I'd say more meaningful. I miss that kind of interaction, even if it was slower and less jazzed up with videos and like buttons. The trouble is that BBS software [for the most part] has simply not kept up with the available transport methods. When BBS's were king it was [almost] all done by modem... when the world of always-on Internet connectivity took over BBS software didn't use it, BBS software just stopped. There are a few BBS related applications that have tried to join the old world with the new, such as Synchronet which is a telnet accessible BBS package that also has a built in mail server, ftp server and even a web server. Now the web server just serves up static files rather than the BBS interface, but it is a step in the right direction I guess. There are also some applications like NetFoss which allow you to make your BBS accessible via telnet, but telnet is of course clear text.

maxcbcs Maximus my old friend.

If I really do setup a BBS of any kind, I'd like to use Maximus. Not just because of nostalgia, but mostly. It is also [in my opinion] stable, flexible, and light. I wouldn't bother with making it telnet accessible since that is clear text and it just doesn't make sense to have clear text services anymore. I wouldn't want to use SSH since people generally don't have any idea what keys are, how they work, how to manage them, or even how to check fingerprints. Besides, I expect the term support would be at least a little painful. So how can I make Maximus (and hopefully a LORD game) easily accessible and still encrypted? Well TLS comes to mind... you know, the kind of encryption being used to view this web site right now. It would require a bit of rigging though...

I haven't tried this setup yet but I imagine it should work if I setup Maximus and get it functional, then use NetFoss to make it telnet accessible, then setup a web interface that can connect to telnet such as TeraTerm, and finally put Nginx in front of that to handle the TLS certificates. Sounds ugly, but as long as everyone is currently self isolating maybe I'll have time to try it and someone else will have time to join!

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