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doctor_x

BBS Software on a Cartridge?

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You want to create one?

You want to know if there were any?

Can you elaborate a bit?

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nope.. it was really just an open topic since as far as I know, its never been done.

 

why?

could it be?

hurdles?

benefits?

detriments?

 

just trying to facilitate a conversation.. typically with an odd subject like that people will begin talking without much prodding. I guess you needed a bit of prodding. :)

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It would make updating the software a bit more difficult I guess... And since most of the work a BBS does is accessing files of one sort or the other on disk, why not store the prg there also? So you'll have the main prg on a cart but the rest spread over many floppies?

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Cost would be more sincw you would have to produce it. A better approach would be to understand the advantages of putting it on the cart. Load speed would be only real advantage but I'm in no hurry. You can't store any settings. You're going to have to load those from an external location. What about message threads and non-static files. Again, external device. If I already have to load stuff off an external device that has read/write capabilities, what's the point in using a cart?

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Cost would be more sincw you would have to produce it. A better approach would be to understand the advantages of putting it on the cart. Load speed would be only real advantage but I'm in no hurry. You can't store any settings. You're going to have to load those from an external location. What about message threads and non-static files. Again, external device. If I already have to load stuff off an external device that has read/write capabilities, what's the point in using a cart?

My point exactly.

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Lance from Video61 talked about a BBS Pro release on cartridge, many years ago. Still waiting...

 

Thoughts... you can put any BBS on a cartridge as long as you have at least some additional space to store config/message/user/etc data. Useful? Not really. The read-only data on a BBS usually is only a small fraction of the whole.

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A modern flash cart could store stuff on the cart itself but that would require completely new software.

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Lance from Video61 talked about a BBS Pro release on cartridge, many years ago. Still waiting...

 

Thoughts... you can put any BBS on a cartridge as long as you have at least some additional space to store config/message/user/etc data. Useful? Not really. The read-only data on a BBS usually is only a small fraction of the whole.

i have a 512k cart i am working with now. might have enough room, we will see.

 

 

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

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It may be nice for some but not for me. Because of the lack of support I gave up on Pro! a while ago.

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a flash cart was sorta what led me thinking about this... but sort of like the BBS on a stick for carina that someone did - it would be "distributed" ready to run rather than requiring being hacked together by the user.

 

it was just an interesting thought that crossed my mind. would be convenient for sure.

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A BBS on a Cartridge is useless, unless you want to setup a BBS that is only like a museum where people (guests only) can take a look, and experience how it was back then, and then logoff and never return.

 

The use of a BBS (Bulletin Board System) is that it is R/W and that the menu system can be adapted.

 

With all fast harddisk solutions, and (battery backupped) memory expansions I wouldn't chose for a cart.

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A BBS On A Cart, with an ethernet connection, and a micro-SD might be one way to go - the Cart contains the modules (say a Master Control program in the top 8K of the 16K cart area; msg board / DL / games / SYSOP each in 8K banks), and the SD for the R/W storage.

 

That way, you can configure it on any machine, then drop it into an XEGS with no keyboard, plug in the power, plug in the ethernet cable, turn it on, and leave it as a headless server.

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A BBS On A Cart, with an ethernet connection, and a micro-SD might be one way to go - the Cart contains the modules (say a Master Control program in the top 8K of the 16K cart area; msg board / DL / games / SYSOP each in 8K banks), and the SD for the R/W storage.

 

That way, you can configure it on any machine, then drop it into an XEGS with no keyboard, plug in the power, plug in the ethernet cable, turn it on, and leave it as a headless server.

 

But then it isn't any longer, what I would call a cart.

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Unless you have some kind of persistent storage in addition to the cartridge, it wouldnt be useable as a bbs.

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A BBS On A Cart, with an ethernet connection, and a micro-SD might be one way to go - the Cart contains the modules (say a Master Control program in the top 8K of the 16K cart area; msg board / DL / games / SYSOP each in 8K banks), and the SD for the R/W storage.

 

The read-only data on a regular BBS is usually a small .EXE and a few tiny .CMD's. Everything else is data that needs updating. You'll end up with only a few KB's that can be kept in ROM. Totally not worth it, especially if you also take into account that updating the core ain't that easy anymore.

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There was a production BBS cartridge made:

Orion Micro Systems 89 Express! [ver. 1.12]

 

I remember seeing it, grey case, said BBS Express on it, maybe the R-Time type case if I remember correctly.

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Yes, Orion system made a BBS cartridge called; Express. it cam in a gray case similar to RTIME-8 or SpartaDos X where you can stick the SpartaDos X to the ATARI computer, no-top of it the EXPRESS cart and on-top the RTIME-8 so you can run the EXPRESS BBS software on SPARTADOSX and have a real time clock.. together back in the day with a mass storage device like the MIO you can run a BBS at home.

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Fox-1 and I (and other people here on the AtariAge forum too) did run a BBS for years on our Atari 8bit computers.

 

I was node X_476 and it did run BBS Express PRO!fessional 5.0b

 

My setup changed from time to time. In the first year I did run it on a 256KB 800XL, BlackBox and a Seagate 48Mb harddisk and 14K4 baud modem. Later it turned out that the instability the board suffered from (a lot) was caused by the fact that a TTL based ram expansion is asking for trouble in combination with PBI devices. Later I moved to 320XE with MyIDE and Atari 850. And in the last period I did run the BBS from A 64KB machine with MyIDE. MyIDE turned out to be faster than ramdisk, so I did not need an upgraded atari anymore for the BBS.

 

The I/O speed was very important since the BBS was (almost) an Operation System on itself. There was this main kernel that was always active, and there were 'CMD-s', small programs that did run 'in' the BBS. The memory management was pretty smart, and used swap files. So before such a CMD was loaded the memory state was written to disk as OVERLAY file. You can compare this as the 6502 stack. As long as the loaded and started CMD was not terminated, and a new CMD was loaded a new overlay file was saved. As soon as a CMD was terminated the last saved overlay file was loaded and the BBS returned to it's previous state. With a slow harddisk (or especially when run from SIO) a ramdisk is the best choice for the swapping (overlays).

 

I absolutely do not see any benefit of running this from a cart. A fast harddisk interface like MyIDE 2, IDE+ or SIDE2 is at this moment probably the best choice. The BlackBox is a great device too, especially thanks to the hardware flow control on the RS232 port, but the Harddisk I/O is compared to the other mentioned PBI hd's really slow. If I would rely on the BlackBox, I definitely would need a ramdisk for the I/O.

I tried to run BBS PRO from SDX, but when I tried it, there were some issues with the RS232 driver (Pro! didn't see the R:) ... but I believe there was a bug in that, so perhaps now it runs from SDX.

 

That is interesting, since SDX supports 32MB partitions. Not only interesting for a download base (which is today not such an important thing I guess), but it is interesting for the fabulous fast I/O for overlays. I think the overlays will be loaded/saved faster than a second on a 512 bytes/sector partition.

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Pro! 5.0b is not SDX compatible for multiple reasons. There are max-file/dir issues. Some CMD's have lot's of small data files. Those are stored in a directory and when it's full a new directory will be created automatically. If such a CMD reads all directory entries into their pre-defined buffer problems will arise. The SDX file/dir limit is higher and will overflow the buffer.

 

Apart from that, Pro can only handle SpartaDos formatted disks. Disk-based versions like 3.2/3.3 with a 16MB limit that is. Any CMD that uses Note/Point routines (like the message bases and some data base tools) will likely cause problems when trying to access sectors above the 16MB limit. Not sure if the core itself also uses Note/Point but if it does the problems are even bigger, especially when used with memory overlays.

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Yes, Orion system made a BBS cartridge called; Express. it cam in a gray case similar to RTIME-8 or SpartaDos X where you can stick the SpartaDos X to the ATARI computer, no-top of it the EXPRESS cart and on-top the RTIME-8 so you can run the EXPRESS BBS software on SPARTADOSX and have a real time clock.. together back in the day with a mass storage device like the MIO you can run a BBS at home.

 

Not exactly. The Express cart from Orion was a terminal program... not a BBS program. I have it here.

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Not exactly. The Express cart from Orion was a terminal program... not a BBS program. I have it here.

Can you provide a picture of the cart, and the menu screen? The one I saw, a friend had it, was titled with BBS and was the express software.

If it was a terminal program why would it require a pass through?

 

It was a long time ago, so my memory might not be as good as it used to be.

 

I did see this screen shot.

post-27608-0-63457800-1527469671.gif

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From the faq: http://faqs.cs.uu.nl/na-dir/atari-8-bit/faq.html

 

- - -

Express!, by Keith Ledbetter, 1985-1986- Strengths: auto-dialer and reliable XMODEM transfers- Version 3: XMODEM/CRC, ability to download .BIN files on CompuServe using  XMODEM, VIDTEX mode for CompuServe cursor positioning, R-Time 8 support  - Each version includes an integrated modem handler- Original version: 1030 Express! (September 1985)   - Integrated T: handler- 850 Express! 3.0 release date: 9/24/86 (earlier releases include 1.1)   - Integrated R: handler- 1030 Express! 3.0 release date: 11/1/86 (earlier releases include 2.0, 2.1)   - Integrated T: handler- MPP Express! 3.0 release date: 12/1/86 (earlier releases include 1.1)   - Integrated R: handler is Chilcott MPP handler- Also the basis for SX Express! from Atari (1988) and for the Express!  cartridge from Orion Micro Systems (1990)

- - -

 

I'm fairly certain a BBS version of "Express" on cartridge doesn't exist. At least not official. Wouldn't make sense either because of the nature how a BBS works. The pass-thru design for the terminal cartridge is a logical decision. Their other products, like SDX and RT8, were also designed like that and one who often calls out to BBS' would appreciate this. It's also useful for sysops, who run a BBS, to make calls themselves. By enabling/disabling the Express cartridge they can switch back and forth without taking the BBS offline.

 

The fact that later versions of BBS Express Pro! have it built-in as an external command for easy access without having to reboot the BBS has a reason.

 

 

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