Powered by OS/2

I think I’m the last one on the internet crazy enough to try this, but here goes…

powered by os2

So the VPS where I run my BBS came up, and they wanted more money.  And honestly, running a BBS from 1994 in 2015 just doesn’t cut it when it comes to system resources, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to bring it ‘home’ so I moved it inside.  The cool thing though is that I don’t have to use usermode nat anymore, so I can use FTP to shuffle files around, which is a nice thing to have.  I may have to investigate if there is an rsync as well, as reading files directly from the VM would be a bonus.  It’d be cool to read things like Tradewars scores, last user activity and whatnot.

While I was setting up HTTP, and repointing to a new address, I figured I’d go all in on OS/2, and load up Apache on OS/2 2.0, and let it host it’s own website.

Hosting on OS/2

Hosting on OS/2

The ‘hard’ thing to fight was updating the mime.types, and dealing with CR/LF issues moving my old pages from Linux to OS/2.  Luckily my C: drive is already HPFS, so I have long filenames already.

I guess the next thing to do is setup a RAM disk, and virtual servers so I can move Team OS/2 onto OS/2.  Someone named Kohtaro Shinya just snagged the original Team OS/2 page.  At least it’s not some forex scam, but now it’s tourism for Osaka.

But yes, my crappy BBS still lives, I think it’s moved hosts at least 7 times since 2011.

BBS down. again.

LOL Maybe I’m just cursed at this point.

This is an email to follow up on the update on our social network accounts (twitter and facebook: @hosthatch) that we are investigating an issue on SSDNode15. Instead of fixing this server, we have chose to restore from 1 hour old backups to some of our other stable servers running for 3+ months with no downtimes. SSDNode15 has unfortunately had very bad luck and has failed 3 times in the past month, which is why we are going to take it out of production, replace most of the parts, burn test it and then put it back into production.

Although I had time to check the log, it turns out I had over 250 users, but a good 150 of them couldn’t figure out the synchronet mandatory send a letter to sysop thing so they abandoned the process.

I don’t know why, but I still liked the idea of being the last OS/2 sysop on the planet, but this year has been ridiculous.  Now that I have it running on VMWare, maybe it’s time I just buy a UPS, and run it on ESX from now on.  But at the same time, I did like the idea of it running in a datacentre.

Running Synchronet on an Amazon EC2 instnace

Well apparently Amazon will even let you have a free ‘micro’ instance on their EC2 cloud for free!  From this blog post, you can see how easy it is to setup a Windows Server 2008 instance, download & install Synchronet.

I would imagine that with the 32bit version of Windows Server, you should be able to even run NTVDM stuff (meaning old MS-DOS Doors).

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 4.32.12 PM

Although I’m going to keep mine running on the old Qemu on top of a Linux VPS.  But this may be easier for some of you who wanted to run one, to get things going.

BBS is back online… again!

Well it certainly is the trade off, hosting  in the ‘cloud’ means you really don’t own anything.  But at the same time it’s not subject to my less than par power, internet connection…

But as long as you remember to backup you can always fish data out, and get back online.  So I think its about a week stale, but its a heck of a lot better than down completely.

And I’ve got to rave about BlueVM, I was kind of bummed about my last VPS basically going under so I was thinking about giving up all together, when I found this offer for $1.50 USD a month!  So how could I go wrong??  So far the server feels nice & snappy, my Qemu processes is running without issue, and its already completed a sync with vert.synchro.net and I’m sure it’ll get back onto the list.

For people with flash enabled browsers, click here or just telnet to bbs.superglobalmegacorp.com ..

Another OS/2 Synchronet BBS

It’s always cool to see them pop up in the wild.  So here is the quick writeup on gabucino.be going over some of the trials of setting up bbs.gabucino.be ..

And apparently he’s had far better luck getting the modems to operate well more like modems.  So no cheating as I did by using passive mode FTP to transfer QWK packets in & out of the system.  Its all very cool, and of course powered by OS/2 on Qemu so that makes me happy!

There isn’t a flash/java based page, so I’d recommend using syncterm.

BBS’ing with Windows/386 & Windows 3.0 under Qemu or how I learned to love rlfossil

A while back I had seen this fantastic site, “Hates the internet” with a great write up on setting up a BBS on Qemu.  In retrospect it did inspire me a bit later to get my BBS going with Qemu, but I chose to use OS/2 once I found out about SIO’s vmodem feature.

HTI (Hates the internet) chose this program called rlfossil, which is for MS-DOS..

RLFOSSIL is an implementation of multi-line serial port driver corresponding to the Fido/Opus/Seadog level 5 specification and a simple HAYES-compatible modem emulator. It allows applications usually worked through BBS’s to run on the Internet, or in IP-based local net.er, and rlogin and telnet emulation using IP services numbers 513 & 23. RLFOSSIL allows combined work with other FOSSIL drivers (X00,BNU etc.).

So I thought between that, and all the Windows/386 excitement I’d try for something even more insane.  How about running a multiline BBS on Windows?

So in the same effort, I was going to use Qemu 0.14.1, with MS-DOS 4.01 (the first version I could find that came with share.exe), and Windows/386 2.11.  The installation of MS-DOS 4.01 worked fine on an 80MB disk image, thankfully it was one of the things that DOS 4 could do better then 3 is large disk images… Yes I know 3.31 could as well, but it didn’t come with share so it was out.  One strange thing after install was this message…

It is kind of forboding that DOS is warning me that because of my “large” disk I better run share.  Since I plan on having a multi node BBS all in one computer, I need to run share anyways.


The next exciting part was installing Windows/386 2.11.  The installation went pretty smooth, and with Qemu the mouse worked fine.  So far, so good.  I couldn’t use himem.sys that comes with Windows/386, nor could I use the himem.sys that comes with MS-DOS as the Windows/386 version complains that that A20 line is already active (?) and the MS-DOS one has Windows complaining that the HMA is already in use.  Sadly then my conventional memory footprint will be unsatisfactory, but I don’t see any way around it.

The next part is configuring rlfossil.  rlfossil needs a driver to talk to the network card, and you can find them on crynwr, namely the ‘other‘ packet archive, which contains NE2000 drivers.  Keeping with HTI, I’m going to use the NE2000 and configure Qemu with the PCI NE2000 driver.

Packet drivers are loaded from the command line something like this:

ne2000 0x60 11 0xc100

This loads the driver on software interrupt 0x60, and by default the PCI NE2000 is configured for IRQ 11, port 0xc100.  Qemu 1.6.0 changed the PCI NE2000 to use port 0xc000 for what it is worth..

So keeping with the HTI tradition, I’m going to put my packet driver (ne2000.com) and unpack the rlfossil archive in c:\packet.  The next thing to do is configure rlfossile which uses the wattcp configuration file.  Since I’m going to use the usermode NAT and a redirect, I configure my VM like this:




With that all in place now it’s time to configure the config.sys/autoexec.bat.  Some things are going to be different from a normal install because we plan to run a BBS, and multiple instances of it!

So my config.sys looks like:


And my autoexec.bat is like this:

NE2000 0x60 11 0xC100

And of course launching Qemu I do it like this:

qemu.exe -L pc-bios -m 16 -net nic,model=ne2k_pci -net user-redir tcp:23::23 -hda telegard.qcow2

This configures the VM for 16MB of ram (which would have cost a FORTUNE back then), the PCI NE2000, and it’ll redirect telnet from my host machine into the VM.

And just like HTI, I went with telegard, because it supports fossil based ports.

Well that sure was a *LOT* of work, and surprisingly testing it with a single node, actually works.  And you can bring up a few other MS-DOS prompts and it’ll work fine. But if you launch the second node…

Disaster struck.  So needless to say, while Windows/386 was pretty slick for the day it just couldn’t measure up.  So I figured for the hell of it, I’d try Windows 3.0  I mean I would have imagined that Windows 3.0 most certainly could NOT handle this kind of challenge.

So with some disks shuffled, I fired it up and..

Two node telegard under Windows 3.0

It actually worked!  So with a LOT of chaos going on I managed to get Trade Wars 2002 running, although I couldn’t figure out how to automatically figure out the node.. Hell the whole door configuration thing is.. bizarre. Synchronet really kicks ass in regards to easy of configuration.

Running TW2002, two copies

And using PIF’s to configure each node for some easy of launching, and some reduced memory, I could easily run all four nodes that rlfossil can support.

Four Nodes!

I have to admit, Windows 3.0 really is impressive considering all the UAE’s and how generally crappy we thought it was at the time.  I’m sure even emulated having a multiple Ghz cpu helps quite a bit.

460KB free!

And look at all that memory.. I guess it’s pretty impressive it even works.  Since Windows anything throttles the CPU at 100% I’m not going to put this online…. Although at the same time combined with an CPU idle program (is there a Windows 3.0 idle vxd?) it sits ok, but who wants a single user system in 2011?


Domain Poker

No really this isn’t some cheezy ad for ‘internet poker’.  Wait, well maybe it is.  Anyways I was on my Synchronet with a friend when we tried ‘Domain Poker’, and the version that shipped with Synchronet for DOS-OS/2 is the trial version.  And it’s old.  So while googling for an updated version I came across dpok2k.zip

Happy Y2K and beyond!
In support of the renewed interest in Synchronet BBS Software and it’s expectedtelnet capabilities some of you have been asking for registered versions of theold Domain Entertainment doors.  Instead, I’ve gone ahead and recompiled thesome of the doors (the games) so that they don’t require any registration.
Be aware that Domain Entertainment no longer makes, sells, or supports BBSdoors so use these at your own risk.  Domain Entertainment assumes no liabilityfor errors or omissions in these files or damages resulting from the use ofthem.
You may freely distribute this software so long as it is distributed in it’soriginal form with all accompanying files.

Wow that’s pretty cool!

So I’ve loaded it up on my BBS, and I’ve also updated the ‘bubble‘ BBS.

Although I don’t know poker for crap, any time I’ve won it’s with ‘neutral computers’ that don’t cheat. lol