Dave Winer has written a Web-based conferencing system for Macintosh
servers called the Userland BBS, and is giving it away free.
Amusing Rants from Dave Winer's Desktop
Released on 6/27/95; 10:08:17 AM PST
***The trial run is over
The trial run of my interactive website was a true success. Thanks to
the 259 different people who logged on yesterday. There were 226 new
messages. Over 10,000 hits. Yes, the critical test case, more than
one message being created at the same moment, happened several
times. The synchronization semaphores worked perfectly. Some bugs
were uncovered, of course -- and we hit some limits, but the
workarounds are clear. There will be bugfixes and new features. Dig
I learned a lot about the user interface issues, and why the work I've
been doing with the Netscape guys is going to pay off big time when they
ship their next Macintosh release. We need more control of the user
interface of the browser, specifically we need to be able to add
commands to the browser's menu bar. Luckily, with the next release of
Netscape we will be able to do exactly that. The various commands that
now appear on each website page will be in the menu bar of the browser,
where they always belonged.
So I'm taking the bbs at 126.96.36.199 off the air now. I learned what
I needed to learn. We shared some excitement. This is cool!
***Don & Marie Packard
I'm releasing the source code for the bbs. Yo! Anyone with a Macintosh
running Webstar 1.1 can have an interactive website! This should be
I just made a pass over the initial setup and in the process invented a
fictional young couple, Don & Marie Packard, who live in Telluride,
Colorado. Don works for a major telecommunications company. Marie
manages all the restaurants at the Telluride Ski Resort. They have an
interactive website that they use to share news with their families,
to discuss river rafting, and to help organize events for the local
After you install the BBS software, and connect to
bbs.welcome.fcgi, you'll be greeted by Don & Marie. Log onto their
bbs, you'll see the three main discussion areas, and a "Scratchpad"
section. Every BBS should have one, it's the place where all things
that don't have a place belong. It's going to be the most active
discussion section on every Home Page, I'm sure of it.
Then you should go in and change the topics and welcome text, using the
text editor, outliner and table editor in Frontier. Set it all up for
your stated purposes. Tell us who you are! Be a leader. By running a BBS
that's what you're signing up for.
You'll need to download two things to get this setup working. First,
you need the Aretha release of Frontier. That's at
Then you'll need the UserLand BBS package. It's at
Launch the Frontier app, Double-click on the BBS Installer script.
You now have a BBS. That part is really easy.
Then find a friend who knows Frontier and explore the new stuff in
Frontier.root. A log is created by the installer script. Cmd-2click
each name to jump to the newly installed tables and scripts. This is
not for the faint of heart! Please put on your propellor helmet (and
your coal miner's hat) before wandering thru this stuff... ;->
***Send mail to Aretha
If you're going to operate a BBS, please send email to
email@example.com. Aretha is my agent. I'd like to keep track of
what happens with my newest baby as the Macintosh scripting
community takes over. I *will* have new versions in the future, so be
careful with any mods you make. Be prepared for the suites.bbs table
But it's OK if you want to completely diverge from my release. If you
get an idea of how to do it much better, go for it! I look forward to being
able to kick back and watch you all improve on the foundation I've
If you have questions, let's discuss this stuff on the MacHTTP list
server. To join, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with
subscribe in the body of the message.
I'll have more to say in a future DaveNet. For now, I have alot of
uploading to do, and then I'm going to switch in a different direction
for a few days.
I'll let you know how it goes!