A Small History about BBS and Terminate 2.0

Post Reply
kim
Posts: 183
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:35 pm
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

A Small History about BBS and Terminate 2.0

Post by kim » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:17 pm

So around 1994 I used to do a lot of dial-up BBS'ing. For that you need to use a "dial-up terminal" program. I used several but after a while settled on something called Terminate 1.5. Here's a random thread no one in their sane mind should care about...
So the reason why I liked Terminate was because you could play TETRIS while you DOWNLOADED STUFF from a BBS. This was huge at the time: since you didn't have real multitasking, if you wanted your ZModem download to succeed you had to let it download stuff on the foreground!So Terminate had this thing where you could run a separate "process" (just a different part of the loop) while your computer downloaded a file. They had Tetris in there as part of a "Super ZModem" protocol (lol).

I couldn't get a good image, but it's like this, only with Tetris on a new window. Imagine looking at this screen as the bar fills up so you know your file is downloaded.

Image

Anyway, at some point I upgraded to Terminate 2.0. I remember being a bit miffed, as this new version was a bit funky. It had a lot of differences to the previous 1.5x version.Anyway, I remember reading a crazy README-like document in the application's folder (DOS applications tended to come with a billion TXT files back then!) explaining that the original author had sold the source code of Terminate to a new company and this was that version..but I also remember being a bit of a crazy story of this new company complaining that the previous author had decided to release more versions of Terminate based on his source code, that they were going to sue, asking people not to use versions prior to 2.0, etc.

I didn't think much at the time, but a recent random tweet about BBSs made me remember the episode and I wanted to find out what was the story behind it.Lo and behold... all Terminate versions are onlined in various BBS archives so I decided to investigate by... installing them on a DOSBOX instance so I could inspect the doc files.I started by installing Terminate 1.5x, just to remember how things were. All good, no issues. I can't believe but I still remember some shortcuts.

Anyway, this version doesn't have anything funny and the docs are pretty straightforward. How to configure, etc.

Image

Then I installed Terminate 2.0, the first "new" version, created by a company called "Intershop". The installation is pretty different, very abrasive.

I'm not supposed to be installing this, I suppose?

Image

And what the hell is this supposed to test form? Only people who know English and can decipher their weird puzzle questions can install? I got it right on the 4th try (it's "FREEWARE").
Image

And then interestingly, they include this note on the installation, stating the original author (Bo Bendtsen) transferred rights over the application to them. Okay...Terminat 2.0 itself is fairly similar to 1.5x. The file tree structure is a bit different but it checks out. But then you start checking the documents, and things are a bit crazier...On HISTORY.DOC, Intershop repeats the claim that Bo Bendtsen has sold them the rights to the program, and accuses him of selling new, false versions.

Image

in "BO$WELLCH.TXT", they have this, along with a bunch of very long archived messages from some thread. These guys seem serious!

Image

And to reinforce all of that, "FAQ.DOC" has this as the last question.On top of all that, the documents also feature a file called "LIAR_WOOD.DS" where Interplay responds to some (completely irrelevant) claims that they had sold illegal versions of another terminal program, Telix.

Image

So this is all I remember. At the time I thought this guy had sold his software to a company, recanted, and started releasing his own versions. Simple, right?Well, I checked today and realized there's version 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 of Terminate released (the last one from 1997)....and all of these versions were released by Bo Bendtsen! What gives? If he was infringing on a copyright he sold, how did he release new versions??!

So I finally did some digging.Surprisingly, Bo himself doesn't mention much on the docs for subsequent Terminate versions. They're fairly concise and focused, even if very large in quantity (programs used to ship with a lot of helper tools back then I suppose).

Image

...turns out a company had stolen his software, re-released it, and accused him of violating some agreement. The fact that Intershop's Terminate versions disappeared after that probably means that's truth.Anyway I told you it was something nobody should care about, but I finally scratched that itch. 25 years later, I know what was the deal with Terminate versions.Also a while later I started downloading files on a Windows terminal client and multitask. No more Tetris.

Thanks for Reading



john
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:36 am
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: A Small History about BBS and Terminate 2.0

Post by john » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:36 am

a very nice article.bbsing was the in-thing back in the day i guess.i have also seen some live bbs boards in 2019.oh well i guess somethings donot die easily

theone
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:18 am
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 0
Contact:

Re: A Small History about BBS and Terminate 2.0

Post by theone » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:17 am

bbs still going strong.

faith
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:19 am
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 0
Contact:

Re: A Small History about BBS and Terminate 2.0

Post by faith » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:24 am

and to imaging lynx browser was a thing back in the day it amazing .

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest