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A mailbox (in computer technology, a mailbox is a system that is used for communication between people and data transport, in which various computer systems (mailbox nodes) exchange and synchronise via a dial-up data transmission network, for example: BTX, FIDO-Net, PILOT-Net, GerNet or the Internet and synchronise and offer their services to users via these networks.

In this sense, it is the predecessor of today's widespread forum systems and e-mail communication on the Internet. Common forms of communication in a mailbox are personally addressed, private messages as known from emails, as well as the public exchange of messages in forums, but also download or upload areas for programmes and data.

Internationally, it is also known as Bulletin Board System (short: BBS). A mailbox is therefore often also referred to as a Mailbox BBS.

Using[edit | edit source]

The computer system that manages a mailbox must be dialled via dial-up. In the early days (around the 1980s and 1990s), a dial-up connection was established using acoustic couplers or modems. A mailbox is usually operated privately and was therefore more expensive than operating a private homepage or website on the Internet today.

In the early days, the use of mailboxes was only reserved for computer enthusiasts, as a wide range of technical knowledge was required and a lot of time and patience was needed to dial into a dial-up network and mailbox.

One operator of a mailbox was the System Operator (SysOp), who is similar to today's administrator of a website or an Internet forum.

Use (apart from the telephone charges incurred) was free of charge for the user (User).

Many mailboxes were connected to each other within a corresponding dial-up network. A mailbox could also be distributed across several locations (mailbox nodes), which kept each other synchronised. Such a location, also known as a PoP (Point Of Presence), gave users cost-effective access to the mailbox at the local rate.

Mailbox (C64)[edit | edit source]

In addition to private mailboxes, the media, i.e. publishing houses, radio and television companies, the post office and later Telekom, were initially represented with their own mailboxes. For example, Markt & Technik Verlag with the 64'er, Heise Verlag with the c't, and COMPUTER Flohmarkt and Brotkasten Live offered their own mailboxes.

Well-known mailboxes were or are:

  • CosmoNet (Heise-Verlag)
  • TECS - Hamburger Tornado Mailbox (Software: Tornado Bulletin Board System; Copyright Schewe, 1985)
  • Delirium BBS
  • Bradley Brothers BBS (Canada; Software: PETBBBBS4.1)
  • Jamming Signal BBS (Toronto, Canada; läuft auf C64-Hardware)

Mailbox Software[edit | edit source]

Following software for mailbox or BBS exists:

Terminal Software[edit | edit source]

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Bulletin_board_system