Image

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The software package Image BBS is a bulletin board for the C64.


Since one of my passions on the C64 is the bulletin board software package Image BBS, I was happy to see an actual link here. I am attempting to carry on the future of Image BBS with help from others; this includes creating the modest beginnings of a wiki located here:

Commodore BBS wiki

It includes some information on Image BBS.

Also, here is some information on the as-yet-unreleased Image 2.0 branch:

BBS

You can telnet to two active Image BBS's:

Riktronics BBS

Dragon's Eye BBS

To the best of my knowledge, Image BBS's were not seen outside the USA.

History[edit]

To understand the history of IMAGE BBS we must go back a few years to the mid 1980s. At that time the Commodore 64 was an extremely popular computer and there were literally thousands of Bulletin Boards up and running. Probably the most popular was C-Net. At that time the prevailing version was 9.6 or previous versions written by Ken Pletzer. He finally came out with a 10.0 version which was the last version Ken Pletzer wrote for the Commodore 64. (Ken Pletzer held the copyright and owned Perspective Software, the marketing company for C-Net.)

The next C-Net version was to be written by Don Gladden (version 11.0) but Don had a fire at his home and was unable to do the work so Ken Pletzer turned to another programmer (Jim Selleck) who produced the 11.0 version of C-Net. The version was released prematurely and was riddled with bugs, and that, coupled with Perspective Software's notoriety for total lack of support caused them to rush a "totally de-bugged version 11.1a" to all 11.0 owners. The 11.1a, which was supposed to be 11.0 with nothing new but all the bugs fixed turned out to have new features and many new bugs. As a result Ken Pletzer and Perspective Software turned to Don Gladden to produce a new version.

Don Gladden, working with Ray Kelm, produced version 12.0 for Perspective. It was based not on 11.0 but rather on the last version Ken Pletzer had written, 10.0 and was a much improved version. Still, in his zeal to release the software on time Ken Pletzer rushed the release of 12.0 and it was released before it had some of the features Don and Ray had wanted to incorporate. Also, it did have quite a few problems and would not run on certain hardware configurations. The Lt. Kernal was relatively new at that point (1987) and I had one so I got involved with doing a lot of 'repair work' with several other programmers (Little John, Blinky, Gear Jammer, etc.) Who formed a group called CSSC or C-Net Sysop Support Centers) where we made sure the mods were available to make C-Net run on our hard drives.

Shortly after 12.0 was released Don and Ray began working on 12.1a. It was to be the finishing touches on 12.0 and would contain the enhancements that they had wanted to put into 12.0 but had not been able to. Perspective made plans to sell the upgrade for $7.98 and began taking orders and promising a release date in June of 1988. I was doing much of the beta testing on the new version and was running monthly phone bills in the $500 to $700 region.

As June approached there was a "bash" planned and the release party was arranged to take place at Don's house in Michigan. Many of us traveled long distances to be there, I took along my new 2400 baud modems so we could write the 2400 routines which were not yet written for 12.1. Alas, when we had the party we found that the 12.1 was not ready for release though some people were permitted to download it knowing that it was a 'beta version.' At that get-together Don and Ken had a discussion that resulted in Don leaving Perspective Software. The arrangement between them was that either of them could break off the relationship if they chose. Don chose to do so and they parted fairly amicably (though not totally). Don and Ray took the program (12.1a) and made the appropriate changes that Ken Pletzer demanded. Things that he felt were closely identified with C-Net. Those changes were made and NO legal action was taken by either side regardless of rumor to the contrary.

Don left Michigan and moved to Utah where he completed the program, with me doing the majority of the beta testing. The program was now called IMAGE 1.0 and we had formed a company called New Image Software. IMAGE 1.0 was released on November 8, 1988. It was quite some time before the first minor bug showed up and 1.0 was hailed as one of the most 'bug-free' BBS programs around.

After 1.0 Don did little more with the company. Ray worked on a new version, 1.1 which was released in February 1989. It proved to be a disaster as it had a serious problem on IEEE drives. We immediately quit shipping it and Ray worked the bugs out, rewrote the ML routines, redid all the BASIC routines and we finally released the 1.2 version in November of 1989.

We followed the release of 1.2 with the release of the Networking and the Relative File message bases (called the Turbo-RELs). We later released a set of 'mods' that made 1.2 fully compatible with the CMD hard drive -- called the CMD Mods -- which made 1.2 into 1.2a. We later released the necessary 'mods' to allow for high speed modems to be used with Swiftlink cartridges.

In addition to the IMAGE BBS we have had available six PFILE disks (now released to public domain on Port Commodore) and three double sided graphic disks.

Ken Pletzer continued with Perspective Software, he wrote the 128 version of C-Net, gave the C64 version back to Jim Selleck who produced DS2. Ken also dropped the C-Net 128 Version and wrote the C-Net Amiga version which he later dropped and went on to pursue an IBM Version.

Don Gladden left New Image and is now in California. Ray Kelm is in Michigan and John Moore in Philadelphia are working on an IBM version of IMAGE. We have programmers working on a 2.0 version of IMAGE but are not sure if it will be released.

This file was written by Fred S. Dart for New Image Software

Programming[edit]

(The following text is a work in progress, for an upcoming tutorial on programming Image BBS by Pinacolada.)

Programming Image BBS is done in BASIC, using a new command character: the ampersand (&). This can be followed by a quoted string to output to the screen (and modem if the BBS has a user online). & is similar to BASIC's PRINT statement, with one exception: If the cursor is to remain on the same line, a semicolon is not required at the end of the statement.

In BASIC:

print"Hello, world!";

In Image BBS:

&"Hello, world!"

While in a quoted string, the F6 function key can be typed, displaying a reverse K symbol. It will be represented as {F6} in this tutorial. This character outputs a carriage return (plus a linefeed if the user's terminal type requires it).

  • An easy way to remember this character is that it's directly to the right of the RETURN key on the C64 keyboard.

In BASIC:

print"Hello, world!"

In Image BBS:

&"Hello, world!{f6}"

Our first plus-file[edit]

Due to the modularity of Image BBS requiring a few prerequisites, an entire "Hello World" program would look like this:

1 rem "hello world" plus-file
2 &"hello, world!{f6}"
3 goto 1811
999 rem "hello world" plus-file

The program could be saved as "+.hello world" on the plus-file system drive.

REM statements in lines 1 and 999 are required, so that when Image BBS loads its modules, the BBS does not crash.

Line 3 will exit to the main prompt, or a plus-file directory (wherever you called the program from).

Do a console login and type R from the main prompt. Supply the filename, and you should see the text "hello, world!" display.

Links[edit]