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1981 1982 1983 - 1984 - 1985 1986 1987


1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

  • John E. Dell writes a DOS program called "Drug Wars" which allows players to engage in complicated trading and economic role-playing. The program is the basis for an entire genre of BBS programs, including "Dopewars" and "Pimpwars". Download
  • January 3 - Hacker BBS "Plover-NET" is first put up by Quasi Moto and Lex Luthor, running GBBS on an Apple II+.
  • March 28 - Having lost millions on the endeavor, Texas Instruments manufactures the last TI/994A and the assembly lines are shut down forever.
  • May 16 - Thomas G. Tcimpidis, sysop of the MOG-UR BBS, has his personal computer and data storage seized by the Los Angeles Police when Pacific Tel determines that one of his message bases contains a stolen Calling Card number.
  • June - Tom Jennings' FidoNet BBS Network officially makes its appearance, linking several dozen BBSes via late-night phone calls.
  • July 18 - BIOC Agent 003 publishes "The Course in Basic Telecommunications Part I", one of the most successful electronic-published phreak documents up to that point, and for a long time after.
  • October 1 - Dan Lewis writes "Isle-Net went live in Staten Island, NY. This was one of the first pay BBSes, charging $10 per year and featuring an adult and free speech theme. Isle-Net was featured in many books about the emerging BBS craze, such as Elizabeth Ferrarini's "Infomania" (1985) and multiple editions of "Glosbrenner's Guide to Personal Computer Communications." Instead of a sysop, there was a sexop and a writeup in the short lived "Future Sex" magazine. In 1996, Isle-Net was still there, making the SBI list of top 20 BBSs as published in BBS Magazine. 1999 was the end of the line for Isle-Net, the graphical web had won out over the text-based BBSes. The one thing that the sexop always thought would make for a great BBS was low cost access. The internet came along and provided low cost access."
  • November 12 - Richard Sandza's article on Hacker BBSes, "The Night of the Hackers", appears in Newsweek Magazine.
  • November 28 - EXEC-PC, eventually to become one of the largest (if not the largest) BBSes in North America, takes its first call at 2am. At its beginning, it is running on a single line, but eventually grows past 200 lines.
  • December - Wayne Bell puts up the first WWIV BBS System, running version 1.0 of WWIV in Interpreted BASIC.
  • December 4 - Tom Jennings publishes FidoNews Issue #1, an electronic newsletter meant to give information and news about Fido and FidoNet. It continues to publish once a week to the present day. Jennings explains the format of the newsletter, indicates he would like to make some FidoNet bumper stickers (without paying the $165 for it) and asks that he immediately be replaced as editor.
  • December 10 - Inspired by the harassment and practical jokes he receives on a daily basis, Richard Sandza submits a second article for the December 10th Issue of Newsweek, entitled "Revenge of the Hackers".
  • December 10 - NODELIST.EXE by John Warren is released. This program automates the process of making a FidoNet nodelist work for a BBS (stripping area codes as needed to work locally). The announcement says it takes the process from one hour to thirty seconds, but this is before the nodelist grows to thousands and thousands of nodes.
  • December 11 - Fidonet achieves 336 nodes, ranging from Fido's Board, sysoped by Tom Jennings, to Berkshire BBS, sysoped by Harry Lee.
  • December 12 - The original hard disk for FidoNet #1 (the BBS of the creator of Fido, Tom Jennings) has a catastrophic hard disk failure, leaving the BBS running on two floppy drives.
  • December 24 - Tom Jennings announces in FidoNews that the first (verified) intercontinental FidoNet message was sent from Jakarta, Indonesia, to St. Louis, USA. FidoNets had previously popped up almost immediately in Canada, making international messages not quite as ground-breaking. Other discussions in the Volume 1 Number 4 issue of FidoNews center around paying for international calls, and dealing with the sub-par quality of transoceanic phone lines.


  • Scott, Jason. The TEXTFILES.COM BBS Timeline. [1]