The Fidonet Network is probably unheard of in most of today’s online society. It is a hobbyist network of system operators (SysOp’s) that was the first online community connecting bulletin board system callers together long before the Internet was made available to the public.
I am one of those sysops that have operated Doc’s Place BBS since 1991 until yesterday deciding to pull the plug. For the past 15 years, my Fidonet network mail hub was the best most reliable source that keeps our Fidonet technical standards committee (FTSC) electronic mail moving.
But the protocols used are antiquated by today’s standards. The BBSes that exist do not support encryption and are frowned upon by today’s web browsers, though many dial-up systems (POTS) still exist mostly overseas. Telnet has been the norm for bbs callers to connect and download a mail packet (QWK). Doc’s Place however was powered by Wildcat Version 5 with the Internet-connect pack obtained in 1997. It was at its time and still is the most advanced bulletin board software of its kind ever produced. Doc’s Place has operated for months unattended under Windows 10 pro on a dedicated Dell pc on my home network. But recently that old Dell died a miserable death! 😥
With bbs callers down to 3-5 daily from over 100 a decade ago, I decided to move it over to my workstation rather than purchase another off-lease Dell pc. Dell is the best bang for the buck on off-lease computers and I’m presently using an Optiplex 7010 to blog this article, obtained on Amazon for under $300. The bbs being 32-bit software presented a problem when producing a video or doing any resource-intensive task and had to be shut down. I’ve recently considered taking it offline.
In late April 2021, one of my callers emailed me and said the mail appeared to be down. After checking my ftsc mail transfer program (BinkP) logs it was discovered it couldn’t connect with my mail hub. My mail hub has been the most reliable hub I’ve ever had in 30 years running doc’s place bbs, but sometimes it needed a reboot and all was well. I emailed my mail hub and 24 hours passed with no reply. This was unusual as I’ve always receiver a prompt reply, usually within 5 minutes.
Being the Asshole I’ve been known to be at times, The first thing I thought of was the cancel culture has infested the Fidonet network, and my mail feed has been terminated. My mail hub is a big-time Liberal and Joe Biden / Kamale Harris supporter. And even bragged about it on the filegate.
After thinking about the missing mail feed situation, I decided to post this topic to the Facebook Fidonet group, and all hell broke out. Fidonet has always had immature and trouble makers as sysops and users. My post brought back memories of my old PinellasNet 3603 where I was once the network coordinator (NC) and also network echomail coordinator (NEC). The name-calling and personal attacks in that group post made it appear not much has changed since the old days.
It’s been a very educational and rewarding experience being a sysop and making sure the system was available to my users. But with the caller activity being so low I believe it was time to throw the switch. Between having to shut it down when I’m blogging or producing a video and having my computer on 24/7 I made the decision to shut it down. Further info about the Fidonet network is here.
My mail hub operator finally emailed back last night saying script kiddies likely attacked my system. No, I don’t think so. It’s likely political with all the Republicans and Trump supporters being cancelled by Joe Biden’s associates and fans!
Life goes on without Fidonet once nicknamed Fight-O-Net! 🙄