BBS Modding: Coding Kit to Expand Functionality
BBS Software can only go so far; a programmer isn't a genie, having others contribute to the code base of the bulletin board system software is better for all involved. If there's a feature or function that isn't there, why not just code it yourself and release it as a complimentary software expansion for all to enjoy?
BBS Modifications are Shweeet!
What Groups are in The Modding Scene?
The two main modding groups out in The Scene today are Phenom Productions and ACiD (a special interest group for artwork and code). There is also a lesser presence from PHATstar (Progressive Hackers And Technologists). I have found that some of the best code to mod BBSes with comes from lone coders who release mods under their own name or alias rather than being in a group. The two main counterpoints in The Scene are Phenom and PHATstar, where Phenom is secular and PHATstar is Christian. Good code is good code though and both serve a good purpose in terms of producing quality software.
People in The Modding Scene
There are a few main people in The BBS Modding Scene. These include Hawk Hubbard (Black Flag BBS), MeaTLoTioN (The Quantum Wormhole), StackFault (The Bottomless Abyss), dreammaster (Dreamland BBS). Hawk has made some really cool pictures to go with the message sending function of MysticBBS, MeaTLoTioN has improved upon Multi-Relay Chat, made a Text-to-Speech chime on the sysops computer whenever a user logs in, and something that rotates ANSI graphics randomly for a random selection of graphics to display. For example it could be used to display one of Murphy's Laws on a BBS in random. StackFault is the lead developer of Multi-Relay Chat and has converted Mystic Relay Chat into Multi-Relay Chat, improving substantially and functionality. And we should not forget roovis (w0pr.win), who has made Multi-Relay Chat modular, so you now have several selections of how you'd like the client to look like, with custom functions that are different from one theme to the next.
How to Contact Members of Modding Efforts
The best way to reach BBS Modders is to explore the various echomail networks out there. Specifically, FSXnet has a large variety of personalities using that network. You can visit FSXnet on any of the above listed boards under their Messaging menus.
Fibre Optic Communication Transfer Speeds
One BBS Mod that doesn't currently exist, but should, is Zmodem (a file transfer protocol) supporting and working well under Gigabit Internet connections. Where Z-modem is the original iteration of the protocol, and ZedZap has expanded functionality over Z-Modem using 8K blocks transferred at a time, this new Z-modem-Gbit would allow for high speeds of data transfer over Telnet or SSH using an underlying Z-Modem-Gbit specification enhancement. Basically we want more speed and we want it to be compatible with both SyncTerm and NetRunner. This would be amazing!
You can search out BBS systems that have large file areas and you will often find small archives of BBS mods. By searching this out you can determine whether the mod you're looking for has already been made. If your mod doesn't exist then you could try to find a Scene coder to write one up for you, or even, if you dare, you could program your own mod to produce the specific function that you're looking for. The top two languages in the BBS Scene are MPL and Python. MPL (Mystic Programming Language) is meant specifically for Mystic BBS'es, whereas Python can be used on any Linux system and any BBS software that runs under Linux. If your Mystic BBS runs off of Windows you can code in C/C++. Using Windows machines to run BBSes, or really any type of server off of Windows is a bad call. This will produce frustrations, and a lot of them at that. The transitioning from a BBS server running off of Windows to a Linux box is non-trivial, rather it is frustrating and you're better off starting your BBS under Linux as it will save you trouble. Of note, one BBS that has a fairly good modification selection to download is Paulie420's 20forBeers. If you don't have the connection address to a system you're looking for then check out www.telnebbsguide.com.