Alright, instructions on running a BBS with tor are now up on git:

Please make comments, suggestions, etc. There is some formatting weirdness going on that I'll have to fix, and there are a Lot of topics I haven't covered yet.

*Connecting to a Tor BBS* will be it's own document that goes in to detail, but it should also be a section in this doc.

pull requests welcome!

This is my first finished draft of the initial instructions. It does not get in to a lot of security info. It is insufficient in many ways.

That's why it is where it is and not on my blog. It'll get moved to my blog when I'm happy with it.

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Going to spend two hours today working on software documentation and improving the above article.

I'm going to try to connect to my BBS from a client that has file transfer. I'm going to try to upload and download files. I'm going to write about how to do these things. I'm going to explore the ways to connect to onion BBSs (oBBSs) and write about as many as I can that currently exist, and the ones that don't currently exist that I would like to make exist.

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Sidebar about what I want:

I want a modern BBS client that
- is tor aware,
- automatically starts z-modem transfers,
- has an option to automatically fetch and toss posts like as if by NNTP (maybe over nntp?)
- will render images and videos in line
- and will work on desktop and mobile.

Better terminal software will be needed for BBS adoption, IMO.

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Anyway, then, I'm going to stop writing about how to computer differently and focus on Why to computer differently.

The why is just as important as the how.

What I'm covering today is only one how and only one why. We'll need more whys and hows to move forward.

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@freakazoid @ajroach42 looks like there’s a specific guide on getting it to bind low ports as non-root (although this guide isn’t as locked down as I’d like either):

@bhtooefr @ajroach42 I'd hope you could just configure it to only use ports above 1024 instead. It's not like you need to run on specific ports when you're using it as a hidden service anyway.

@freakazoid so that it can bind to port 22. It starts as root, binds to the port and then exits and runs everything else as the sbbs user, iirc.

On my system, I actually have it running on a higher port, and I have my torrc configured to listen on 22 and forward to the higher port.

I'll update the instructions to reflect that. It's a good call out.

@ajroach42 If it runs as the sbbs use you should also avoid giving that user sudo access.

@freakazoid that's a good point too. I had written up granting that user sudo access to simplify the installation instructions, but I don't tell them to remove ssh access before launching the BBS.

I'll rewrite that section when I'm not in a car.

@djsundog still a ways to go, and lots more to cover, but I appreciate it!

I'm seeing typos galore, and I have already made some adjustments to the instructions from a security perspective, but ... Yeah, this is the foundation of something really important.

@ajroach42 This is very cool, and as someone already running a BBS (well, cosysop) in non-onion space, I very much approve (though I am unsure on the early points concerning "you need approval" - in that no, I didn't, but - I'm in a different space being that I host things in a data center.)

What I would like to see next is the _difficult_ part:

How to with with friends to convince them to _use_ said service, rather than other things which are harmful.
i.e. "how to defeat the family's insistence on using Facebook."

Many folks I know are only on Facebook, or google, or what have you because "I can't leave."

This is... well, something I don't have solutions for, so I'd like to see that discussed and find ways of approaching it that are not "gun to head."

@Truck you're still renting space in the DC, yeah?

And most people don't have a DC they can do that with.

Getting people to use things that aren't Facebook is a tricky subject, but it's one I'll cover at length eventually.

@ajroach42 Not ... exactly, but yes. I _essentially_ have always had a DC or two. Your _average_ person doesn't do that.

Keep me posted on the other portion.

I'll keep thinking about how to make the DC I have more accessable to people doing good things.

@freakazoid oh! Zmodem and the rest reimplemented in Python is super useful. That's a third of the way to what we'd need to do a real modern BBS client.

Okay cool. Let me think about this.

@freakazoid there is a fork of putty with zmodem etc enabled, but it's not baked in.

When you say use, do you mean "start with"?

@ajroach42 Well PuTTY w/zmodem support should support everything needed, shouldn't it?

@freakazoid It's easier to use than the old school clients, widely available, and can do upload and download.

It doesn't do some of the extra stuff I'd like, but nothing does yet.

I didn't find the zmodem fork until late last night, so I'll try building it today and see how that goes.

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