IBM and Compatibles: DOS: FORUM
Author: Kenneth J. Duda
Additional Notes:
Forum was one of the more copied source codes used to create later BBS programs. The following is a letter from Ken Sallot with a good attempt and putting the later lineage under one roof.

Ken Sallot writes: "First, I'd like to give you some background on the forum hacks and their lineage. All of the forum hacks (Forum, Emulex{*}, TCS, Celerity, USSR, LSD, Vision{*}, Oblivion{*}, Monarch) were derived either directly from Forum 2.5 or from another of the forum hacks.

"Ken Duda used to provide the source code for forum 2.5, and being in pascal it was easy for programmers to pick up and modify. The best thing about Forum was the io redirection -- Ken had worked up a hook to allow all output to go directly to both the local console and over the modem simultaneously while using a simple "writeln" statement; this made it incredibly easy to develop features in forum and it's progeny.

"To the best of my recollection, the forum hacks which were directly derived from Forum were Emulex, TCS, USSR, and LSD. It's quite possible that Monarch was also directly descended from Forum, but I'm not entirely sure. To the best of my knowledge, LSD was the last one to start with the stock Forum code; by the time I started working on LSD the source code to an early version of Emulex was already available and shortly after I started working on LSD the source code to TCS came out. I'm pretty sure I took the "DOS prompt matrix login" from TCS, but the rest was straight from forum.

"The other hacks (Celerity, Vision*, Oblivion*, and a few others) were derived from one of the other hacks. Celerity was derived from TCS, but it quickly surpassed anything that the TCS guys imagined as being possible, while Vision* and Oblivion* were descended from LSD. Politics caused the vision and oblivion groups to fraction a few times, and although initially bugladen (the version of LSD which got out had LOTS of bugs), one of the vision's became quite good over time.

"LSDBBS - "Lush Software Designs" based on forum 2.50 source but by 1992 the only remaining original code was for the IO redirection. The code was stolen and released when an account was compromised on the slaves den. The released code was used as the basis for many of the other forum hacks (Vision, Oblivion, etc). I believe it was the first forum hack to support fidonet echomail and multi-lines. My main goal was speed and features, so I often would re-write sections of code to try and optimize them. I eventually started a complete re-write which was 100% configurable and supported the JAM message format until I lost interest in 1994 (first exposure to the web).

"TCS - was a forum hack which copied a lot of ideas from Emules. Sam Brown wasn't the "author" (although he was the author for emulex). I think the last board that ran it was down in Ft. Lauderdale.

"Vision, Vision/2, and Vision-X were all forum hacks based on the leaked LSD 1.21 source code. They all were aesthetically pleasing, but only one of them was stable (I don't remember which). I had some serious pointer problems in LSD 1.21, and only one of the three "vision teams" was able to understand programming enough to fix the bugs.

"USSR - The author of USSR gave the BBS out to a few people that were not in $print, but there were never more than 7 boards that ran the software. The two things that made USSR unique were that it was the first forum hack to support 38400 port locking and it was very fast and aesthetically appealing from a users perspective. There used to be a great BBS in Buffalo that ran it for years (The Wall). The thing about the HD Identification is BS (I had a copy which ran fine on multiple different systems), but each version had a unique identifier ("serial number"), and all of the USSR sysops believed there was a back door which could format your hard drive.

"TAG - was originally based on the WWIV 3.0 pascal source code, although it's not a Forum hack I include this info just for reference.

"Celerity - it was a forum hack based on the TCS 1.50 source code. It eventually supported multiple-nodes as well, and was probably the most popular forum hack in 1990.

"Monarch was a forum hack that was developed by a guy in Toronto. I never was quite sure if it was derived from forum directly or from another forum hack (TCS or Emulex). The author quit working on it back in 1988 or 1989.

"Emulex & Emulex/2, probably the most influential "forum hacks". Most of the other direct descendants of Forum (TCS, USSR, LSD) took ideas from Emulex. The last binary version of Emulex/2 ever released incorporated a set of high speed modem and ANSI routines which made it much faster than any of the other forum hacks (LSD eventually incorporated the same code somewhere around version 1.50). The biggest problem with Emulex was Sam Brown; he would often drop the project for months or years and then come back and start working on it again.

"Take care and good luck with the project. Ken Sallot, LSD Author (1988-1994)"

forum.txt (8.0K) Crashing Forum Boards, written by The Pink Panther (224K) ForumBBS Software v2.50. "This is the source code in Pascal for Forum BBS, which is the original BBS Software which ViSiON/2, ViSiON-X, Obv/2, Celerity, & others were based."