post image is Old Modem Front by Rex Roof

Virtual DOS BBS with Qemu

Every few years I get the urge to set up a telnetable BBS. Over my many aborted attempts, I've tried everything from Synchronet's Win32 port to running various DOS-based BBS software under Windows which worked okay, albeit sluggy and using TCP/IP meant that most of the good old doors were out of the question. Now, however, it's 2008 and virtualization is the buzz-word du jour, so why not learn about it, HTI style??

This tutorial breifly outlines how to get up and running with a Telegard (or PCBoard, or anything that uses a FOSSIL driver, really) BBS virtualized inside of a QEmu container. The first few sections would also serve as a useful tutorial on how to get internet connectivity on an MS-DOS based machine whether it be stand alone (I have an old Pentium 166 in my basement I plan on testing it with) or virtualized (BBS is actually up and running as we speak).

Warning: Learning Curve Ahead

DOS is a very strange and often confusing place. The steps in this tutorial have worked for me twice (once on 32-bit Windows XP as a proof of concept, then on 32-bit Slackware Linux with the kqemu module), but as with everything else (especially in the Linux world), your mileage may vary. If it works, great. If it reduces your computer to a smoldering pile of rubble, it's not my fault.

Copyright Warnings

A lot of the software I mention here may or may not be copyrighted. For certain products (notable Qemm and DesqView) I'm assuming that since most of the people working at the company who now owns the rights don't have any clue what it does and with pre-emptive multitasking and memory mangement built into the operating system these days, I'm assuming that products with no market or bearing on contemporary computers are fair game. Besides, you really have to hand it to Quarterdeck, when those 2 programs came out they really kicked ass.