CNET GLOSSARY: Terms for the techie
bulletin board system
Before the World Wide Web emerged, computer hobbyists and companies often connected to other techies via electronic bulletin board systems, or BBSs. At its simplest, a BBS consists of a computer, BBS software that provides e-mail and discussion groups, and a modem. Anyone wanting to access the BBS would dial directly into the system's modem. Once connected, they could send and receive e-mail or reply to messages in the newsgrouplike posting sections.
Some BBSs became quite sophisticated and grew into large operations that allowed users to download files, chat in real time, and play games online. BBSs could also join networks, such as Fidonet, allowing mail to be transferred from one BBS to another. The Web has replaced dial-up BBSs for most purposes, though some sysops and companies still maintain their systems or even provide a Web interface.
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