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Enormous 80s Textfile Archive 79

Jason Scott writes "I have opened a new WWW site dedicated to the textfiles (also known as "g-philes" or "etexts") that populated the BBS World of the 1980's. Of course, in doing so, I have also gathered together many, many files from the 60's, 70's, and 90's. The purpose of this is to provide a central repository for this important part of online culture to bring back memories or show where we came from. The site is called and is well past 9,000 textfiles online. "
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Enormous 80s Textfile Archive

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  • They only have the 100-question version of the purity test. I'll send them the 500-question version, along with the other 3 MB of stuff I have sitting around...
  • Thanks dude. It's, port 7777.

    And we hope to someday use DHTML and/or Javascript to develop the first web-based messaging interface that doesn't suck.

  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    There's some super-neet content here, I'd recommend it highly. I've spent hours looking through all the stuff on there.

    Also, his site was the only site to email me and thank me for linking to him on my page, which I thought was pretty nice. You don't find many webmasters like that around.

  • Excerpt from The Language List V1.9 []:

    COOL -

    1. Concurrent Object-Oriented Language.A parallel version of C++.
    "COOL: A Language for Parallel Programming", R. Chandra
    <> et al in Languages and Compilers for Parallel
    Computing, D. Gelernter et al eds, MIT Press 1990, pp.126-148.

    Bahahaha.. You lose again, M$!

  • I feel like i'm missing out -- when most of these texts were written i was about 2 years old. I had a c64, but was way to young to appreciate it...I think I played last ninja on it, tho. that's about all i remember from that era :( Hrmph. Oh Well.
  • You might want to try a WAIS implementation like FreeWAIS. This is the sort of thing it's good for, and they aren't overly resource intensive. You will have to append to the "inverse files" whenever you add new content, but that isn't as hard as it sounds.
  • Well, I agree that they aren't 1980s, but I wouldn't exactly call them "alive and well" either. I still call several local BBSs, but over half of the ones I used to call have shut down, including the last board running on an Amiga (that I know of) in the area. FidoNet is still the best of its kind though - webboards and UseNet simply cannot compare.
  • Man, I was barely into the scene and I remember THAT one... :)

    That was around the time when 9600 was very common (I had a 2400)
  • "Telnet too slow"

    Um, Telnet is as fast as your connection, man...

    Hell, people here want to slow down Telnet for nostalgia's sake... :)
  • My last Atari crapped out a couple years ago so I have no access to the tons of stuff I used to have archived on that thing. I have several printouts but I just can't see typing that stuff in. I might have some goodies on some floppies laying about but nothing really old and interesting.

    I was very active during the mid-late 80's in New Orleans area BBS. I've actually used this alias since those days because revealing your "real-world" identity was verboten. Hell, the classic Assassin's Guild went down in January '98 after a 15 year uninterrupted run. I emailed the former sysop in the hopes that she'd still have some goodies laying about.

    I have to admit, I miss being able to read as fast as the modem could put characters to the screen (300 baud). It's still weird to me that my parents actually understand the terms "modem", "online" etc. after all these years. I met some of my current best friends through BBS way back then when we were kids.

    Thanks for the cool nostalgia.
  • I'm going to check and see if Ripco and Lunatic Labs are still around (Ripco was, as of a couple years ago, and was an ISP to boot)...

    It's amazing how trivial stuff like this can trigger a flood of memories. Every time I see stuff like this (and recognize names, to boot) it seems like the world gets a little smaller.

    Then again, maybe it's just Slashdot.

  • This is more than nostalgia. Files like "UNIX
    for intermediate users", "Bash shell programming"
    and "How to use DEBUG.COM" are still just as
    useful today as ever. Excellent archive!
  • Wow, there's a ton of stuff I remember from the 70's and 80's. Viewing them on high powered equipment such as the Vax and TRS-80 workstations. Nice work. Love the green - works very well with the site! :)
  • Yes, the Model 12's - large floppies, Xenix...
  • It was meant as a joke... :)
  • I'm having nostalgia overdoze!

  • I still honour odd tidbits from e-mail, the www and usenet and put it in $HOME/texts, but this page has gotta be the first that made me recognize that other people identified.

    It used to be so much fun, someone bringing up an obscure topic, and me saying, "i got a textfile on that." :)
  • They are seriously missing so much stuff. Wizard Twankey's Good Mud Guide =SHOULD= be there, for a start! It might very well be one of the most important non-tech text docs ever put onto a BBS.

    (For those who have only a vague memory of UK BBS' in the 80's, the words "MUD" and "Essex", along with the address "A2206411411" may help.)

  • A file I wrote is in there, though it doesn't date back to BBS days.
  • This site comes up fine in Opera... Their server however seems to have a problem with Lynx. Anybody know what might cause this?
  • Hey, I have a 32 node license for Falken, and could set up whatever I want. 64k upstream bandwidth.. Need 128+ people on at once to make the illusion complete..
  • Try a few of the Worldgroup BBSes out there.. It's a new version of LORD, optomized for multiplayer (has a chat module and stuff)...
  • this site is most impressive. However, I remember one incredibly disgusting, but very humorous text file I read sometime around 1989-1990 called how to microwave a cat. Anyone got this one?
  • Hi,

    looks like the site is inaccessible either
    due to the /.-effect or the provider taking it
    down due to too much traffic... here's why:


    *** can't find Non-existent host/domain

    bohoo! I remember calling San Diego based
    BBS'es on my friend's C64 whose father did NOT
    have to pay for his phone bills... those were
    the days! ;-)

  • Anyonne remember this text file? I remember downloading it from a Milwaukee-area BBS around 1987. A classic, IMO! totally funny..

    I really miss those days.. 1200 bps makes me all misty-eyed..

    (haaz, ex "The Peeler")
  • I take exception to the phrase "BBS world of the 1980's." BBS's are alive and well, and still offer a more interactive, online-community-oriented experience [] than the Web does. Long live the BBS! (And visit mine [] while you're at it)
  • I haven't used my Atari ST and Atari 1200XL in SO long... I'll admit when I was a kid I used to collect this stuff (or was it 'stuph'?)

    If my old floppies still work there are probably a few things I can send over. I remember when 90K text files tool FOREVER on my Atari 830 modem (300 baud)... and 90k filled 1 side of a single-density disk. And disk notching.. wow. I feel old.
  • hehe the resonant gravity coil...I truly never thought I would see that one again.
  • This is one of my favorite 80's text files, but I've never had the education to actually figure out what it would do. From what I can gather, it looks like it was designed to fry the people silly enough to actually build it, but it seems too well designed and to do it so inefficiently. There are better ways of cooking HaXoRs. :-) Can anyone read the schematics well enough to explain this thing?

    Here's the file: ac []

  • The site brings out warm-fuzzies from my youth. I remember not only reading thousands of those text files (had a whole massive collection of the CDC stuff back-when), but I ran a really popular BBS in the NorthWest in the late 80's and early 90's that had every text document I could possibly gather together- It was almost exactly like this new site, except of course, it was running on Major BBS (after moving up from Remote Access).

    There used to be a BBS for those 18 and over in Portland called Enigma. They decided to close-up shop though after some punk-ass kid got onto the board, downloaded instructions on how to compose a bomb, and then FAXed the instructions to his father-- at work!

    Needless to say, they called the FBI, and the site was apparently in hot-water for distributing such information.

    And that brings me back to the days of Banished CPU... All those wonderful memories. It used to be nice when only computer-geeks were online. Now every moron with 500 bucks has a computer and treats it like a damned Nintendo.

  • After all these years, I finally find out what that rod does aside from scaring the bird. That was a tremendous game. I didn't realize that you could bypass so much and still get "Grand Master" status.

  • I went to that site and looked on their message board, what should I find but LORD in java!!! It's been done and can be played on up to 6 servers, each with up to like 255 players. Jeeze, we had 2 lines on the little board I played on, and it was rare to see anyone else in the game at the same time...
  • Sorry about that, in my excitement to get logged in over there and start killing things and flirting with the barmaid, I forgot to include the URL to their page. It is not on the SethAble web page, it's at Go and create a character now, and If you find Downlad in a field sleeping in server #5, don't kill him!
  • Except now it's how to have fun at Wal-mart. It's being forwarded by users who weren't alive in 1987. Eeek.

    BTW, I used to have a 2400bps connection in 1996. That's when I decided that the Web has too many graphics for its own good.
  • by jarod ( 15787 )
    This site really stole from my work time today : ). Ahh who could forget "Better Homes and Trashing, by The Saint" one of my all time favs... Didn't LOD come out with a LOD Communications CD a few years ago of all of the messageboards on their old bbses?

  • Do you remember Tradewars 2000? I loved that game
    It sahould be brought back as a graphical game with a central server for the internet.
  • Nothing beats ascii nudies. I saw them long before I ever glimpsed the inside of a Playboy.

  • Here you are.

    John Riney III
  • It's about time. Sometimes you forget that any of
    this happened anymore, especially when you "grow-up" and have some way of getting on the Internet. Back then, it was some great entertainment. I still feel that BBSs were more personal, on a level that the web has yet or may never achieve. I've only taken a quick glance of
    the sight and have already found tons of files
    I read so many years ago, many I have on the disks
    of some old crappy C64 or IBM PC. I love the layut of the sight, since I viewed the whole BBS world
    from my lovely green-on-black monochrome monitor and ran my own BBS from the same view, collecting all that stuff...Then again, now looking at my Xterm now up right now on my laptop...I notice the same green/black
    scheme. Maybe something never do change. Hmm, Where was that stack of floppies again? I'm sure I've got a 5 1/4 drive here somewhere...and a C64 emulator.
  • Hello, Slashdotters. I just wanted to stop in and say a big hearty "Thank you" to everyone who has stopped by to visit today, including those who have sent me e-mail and especially those who have sent in suggestions or submitted textfiles for me to add to the site. It really makes me happy to see that people have taken the same interest in this period of history that I have, and that they're proud they were a part of it too.

    I also wanted to answer a few of the subjects that came up on this Slashdot topic, just so everyone sees my answers.

    First of all, not all of the textfiles are up yet. In fact, while there are 9,000 textfiles up, I have something in the range of 20,000-40,000 waiting to be sorted through! I just wanted to choose a good "break" in my work to invite the world to come see, so that I wasn't toiling in silence and darkness without sharing what I've found so far. So, expect that the site will grow even more in the months to come. A few people expressed unhappiness that I didn't have X file or Y file; in fact, I might very well have it, just not put up on the site yet. At worst, if people feel my site needs a certain file, they should send it to me at the above address.

    A VERY large group of people have expressed that I should have some sort of search engine on, and while I agree with them, I don't know any way to do that and still have the system move with any sort of speed. If there's a really good indexing program out there, I'd like to see it, but the site is already into the hundreds of megabytes and I'm concerned that there's no easy way to do it. I have a sort of backup plan, however, and I may have the hotbot [] site do the work for me because you can search by domain. If this is the case, I will utilize it. Otherwise, I don't know if I can help with that.

    There were some minor aesthetic differences that people have with some of my choices on the site. Where I can non-intrusively implement the suggestions, I will, but otherwise, I kind of like things as they are. It makes me feel very cozy and nostalgic, and a lot of users have agreed with me.

    At some point I might sell CDs for people who want the ease of getting a piece of plastic instead of spending hours downloading files, and I will possibly look into T-shirts if there's an interest. This is mostly because I like T-shirts.

    It might interest some people to know I am speaking at DEFCON [], the annual technologist/hacker convention held in Las Vegas. I hope some of you decide to make the trip. I'd love to meet you and talk about the old days and the wonder of the new days.

    Finally, is running on a Dell 486/33 box running Red Hat and apache, and it handled over 15,000 users today without any major problems. What a wonderful operating system, and what a great web server.

    Jason Scott

  • ...a program that does just that...converts gifs to ascii.

    - jay

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.