Introduction: Renegade BBS in Ubuntu Linux - Telnet|Multi-Node

Install a classic multi-node Renegade BBS with telnet support in Ubuntu Linux.

Remember the good ol' days? When social networks consisted of nothing more than a copy of pcplus, a 9600 baud modem and for many SysOps, a copy of the legendary Renegade BBS. Wouldn't it be great to revisit those days using your Ubuntu system. There are many open source BBS resources out there for Linux, but I came up short in finding anything even remotely mentioning renegade and Linux in the same sentence. This left me feeling nostalgically challenged so I set out to find a way to run a telnet multi-node Renegade BBS from my Ubuntu system. In this instructable, I will show you how I achieved this and hopefully inspire some much needed creative improvements as well.

DISCLAIMER: Before we begin, please note that I am not responsible for any damage done to your system as a result of the following processes. Also note that we will be opening multiple TCP ports for direct connection without any Linux authentication. This is most likely a security issue. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Step 1: Install Files and Support Software.

Install DosBox (Linux DOS Emulator)
$ sudo apt-get install dosbox

Create a folder under your home folder called renegade. NOTE: You may wish to create a new user account named "renegade" and grant it minimal permissions. If you choose to do this, be sure to login under the new account before proceeding.
$ mkdir ~/renegade

Get and Extract Renegade BBS
$ cd ~/renegade
$ wget http://mysite.verizon.net/tjm694/rgv100f.zip
$ unzip rgv100f.zip

Get and Extract the FOSSIL driver.
$ mkdir foss
$ cd foss
$ wget http://fido.mbse.eu/files/local/comms/FCI0106.zip
$ unzip FCI0106.zip
$ cd ..

Start DosBox
$ dosbox

Install Renegade BBS in dosbox.
Z:\> mount c ~/renegade
Z:\> c:
C:\> install
When the installer asks you for the "main path" of the bbs, enter in "c:\".

Keep the DosBox window open...

Step 2: Create and Modify the Config Files.

To create a generic config file for DosBox, type the following command into DosBox.
C:\> config -writeconf n1.conf

Exit DoxBox
C:\> exit

Edit the config file
$ gedit ~/renegade/n1.conf

Find the section labeled [serial] and change its contents to read as follows..
[serial]
serial1=modem listenport:2000
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled

Now find the section called [autoexec] and add in the following lines(it should be the last section).
[autoexec]
mount c ~/renegade
c:
cd foss
fci.exe
cd ..
renegade.exe -N1

Save the config file as n1.conf
Now go back and change the listenport on serial1 from 2000 to 2001
Also change the "-N1" argument after renegade.exe in the [autoexec] section to -N2 and save as n2.conf
Repeat accordingly until you have created 4 separate config files n1 - n4.conf, utilizing listenports 2000 - 2003 and executing renegade.exe on nodes 1 - 4 using the -N<node#> argument.
(I imagine you could essentially create as many nodes as you wish.)

Step 3: Create Launchers.

Now we will create four launchers that will spawn each node of the BBS.

Right-Click on the desktop and click "Create Launcher"
Change the application type to "Application in terminal".
Name the launcher "RGN1"
Under command type: "dosbox -conf ~/renegade/n1.conf"

Repeat process changing "RGN1 to RGN2" and "n1.conf" to "n2.conf" and so forth until you have created a launcher for all four nodes.

Step 4: Start and Test

Now Launch the first node using the launcher (RGN1) that we created in the previous step.
You should see a screen like the one in the picture below.

Open a terminal window and type the following command to test the node.
$ telnet localhost 2000

If all went well in the setup process, you should see a real ugly, default Renegade login screen in your telnet session.

You should be able to launch all four nodes and telnet to each of them on ports 2000-2003. Setup your port forwarding on your router accordingly, and invite your friends to check out your new hella underground hella leet Renegade BBS.

But what about the cool ANSI menus? The command line seems to lack the ability to recreate those old ANSI characters so it defaults to a basic ASCII type emulation. Read on to the next step for a simple solution.

Step 5: What About ANSI?

To proceed you will need to have wine installed as well as have access to an installation of Windows. (Any version of windows, post win95 should suffice).

On your windows installation locate the file "telnet.exe" under \windows\system32.
Copy telnet.exe somewhere on your ubuntu installation and open it with wine.
A new window will come up. At the prompt typeopen localhost 2000.
You should now see something a little more sentimentally appetizing.

Thank you for viewing my instructable. Please feel free to make any suggestions or ideas for improving the quality and security of this project.

-pyro

Comments

author
MichaelA309 made it!(author)2016-05-28

OK, so after a good night's sleep I came back at this again, and discovered that I'd missed putting a colon in the n1.conf for line 176 (in your example image) for serial1=modem listenport:2000 The default font in ubuntu doesn't show the colon symbol very well at all, and you have to really REALLLLY look closely to see it. Once I put that in, I was able to get success.

WILDCAT! v.420 M10

Thanks for the great tutorial!

author
MichaelA309 made it!(author)2016-05-28

OK, so after a good night's sleep I came back at this again, and discovered that I'd missed putting a colon in the n1.conf for line 176 (in your example image) for serial1=modem listenport:2000 The default font in ubuntu doesn't show the colon symbol very well at all, and you have to really REALLLLY look closely to see it. Once I put that in, I was able to get success.

WILDCAT! v.420 M10

Thanks for the great tutorial!

author
MichaelA309 made it!(author)2016-05-28

Got it going, but ran into a lot of issues when trying to create the launchers. I'm using the latest ubuntu 16.04LTS. there's no options right-clicking anywhere on the desktop or bars or whatever to make the "add to launcher" options. I had to go to "Ubuntu Software --> Installed and scroll down to "Startup Applications" and click it, then click "Launch" and manually add the item in there, then drag it out and onto the desktop... christ...

Problem 2: I got the dosbox to come up with the appropriate n1.conf and it inits the modem with a simple ATZ and all is well for the most part. telnet localhost 2000 "Connection refused" it says. Can't get past this point.

author
MichaelA309 made it!(author)2016-05-28

Got it going, but ran into a lot of issues when trying to create the launchers. I'm using the latest ubuntu 16.04LTS. there's no options right-clicking anywhere on the desktop or bars or whatever to make the "add to launcher" options. I had to go to "Ubuntu Software --> Installed and scroll down to "Startup Applications" and click it, then click "Launch" and manually add the item in there, then drag it out and onto the desktop... christ...

Problem 2: I got the dosbox to come up with the appropriate n1.conf and it inits the modem with a simple ATZ and all is well for the most part. telnet localhost 2000 "Connection refused" it says. Can't get past this point.

author
AlistairF made it!(author)2015-09-05

Hi.

I'm almost there. I got myself signed up to my own BBS with localhost and it works great.

What doesn't work is my modem (USR 56K Message Modem) on ttyS0. It responds OK to ATZ but not to ATA. It just says error. I tried it with BNU: same thing. Are the configs set to the "Windows Com1" port? I also tried with S0=1 in the modem init string but it still doesn't answer.

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers!

author
isaaclo made it!(author)2011-07-17

mine doesnt work. says connection refused. how to fix

author
WhiteTigerTails made it!(author)2010-10-16

1st wget nolonger works. Please fix?

author
WhiteTigerTails made it!(author)2010-10-16

I can't get it to work with the RGN# files... Nor work at all... Please someone help!

author
dzendian made it!(author)2010-02-24

satoricode.com/2010/02/24/running-a-dos-based-bbs-through-linux-and-telnet/Hi guys, I find this to be over-engineered:

Chek this out instead:
 

author
WhiteTigerTails made it!(author)2010-10-16

Nothing?

author
Bill_D_3rd made it!(author)2009-08-17

Very cool. OK... now I want to dig up my copy of Wildcat and try the same with it.

author
Ibanezfoo made it!(author)2009-08-11

This is great! I used to run a few boards back in the day. I backed them up on a single floppy and made a few copies... they all went bad and I was unable to get anything. This is a cool project though! I will have to set one up for nostalgias sake. Bust out my hex editor so I can fancy up some of those menus and prompts.

&*(&@#$*&()*&@#(*$ NO CARRIER

author
sedition made it!(author)2009-08-11

Believe it or not, I had started to do the same a while back! Nice instructable, I think I may have a weekend project now. ;)