Tag Archives: bbs

citadel: So many things to explore

I am completely unfamiliar with citadel or its supporting community, but was told by a long-time reader of this site that it had a long list of console goodies tucked under one title.


This I find to be very true, although I suspect that my cursory efforts to get it up and running didn’t really expose me to more than a fraction of its potential.

citadel offers e-mail, messaging, calendar and other software bundled as part of a groupware project that has evolved through the 1980s and 1990s. This much I deduced from the descriptions on the Debian and AUR pages. If it looks like BBS interfaces from those decades, it did to me too.

I never connected citadel to a live system, so the image you see above is just looped back into my own address running the daemon in Mint (my Arch builds didn’t work). I did that partly because I am a shy and timid creature :\ , and I wanted a chance to explore without an information overload.

The downside of that being, as you can see above, there’s not much in the way of real data shown. I can navigate the “rooms” and “floors” of citadel and access a few of the features, but my safe little sandbox doesn’t do much in the way of real interaction.

I leave it to you to connect citadel and put it to real use; for what I see from elsewhere on the web, there are companies that use citadel or a variation thereof as a means of collaborating between developers in different geographic locations. So it may be that you use it already.

As a full-featured suite of tools all rooted in the console, I can only give a solid thumbs-up to citadel … even if my own experience was rather brief. 🙂

qodem: I was so very wrong

Sometimes things just click. Sometimes you have to make circles around a program, look at it from a different angle, and suddenly things make sense.

That was the case for me with qodem, a marvelous little tool that I had mentally assigned to the wrong box.

For the longest time I thought qodem was some sort of software-based modem emulator — an idea which stuck in my brain for the longest time probably after reading “an open-source re-implementation of the DOS-era Qmodem serial communications package” too quickly. And unfortunately I too-often dismissed it as something I had no use for.

I was so very wrong. It’s not modem emulator software, it’s something much cooler. Much, much cooler:


If you don’t remember the era of 300-baud modems, BBSes and the prototypical days of Internet culture, qodem might not seem so sassy. I daresay if you were born after 1992, this might seem clunky, dumb and pointless. Harsh, but possible.

On the other hand, if you cruise textfiles.com for an occasional wave of nostalgia, you’ll definitely enjoy it.

I don’t want to bog this down with too much nitty-gritty, but I will mention that setup is a breeze, there’s a giant list of addresses available from the home page (drop those in ~/.qodem/ and press “l” after you start 😉 ), it runs lickety-split at the framebuffer, and … it has color! :mrgreen:

Best of all, if you were born before 1992, and you remember the agonizing pain of 300 baud and the soul-crushing despair of interrupted phone calls, this will trigger a feeling of elation not seen since the 2.4 version of VICE.

The moral of the story? Read more carefully, K.Mandla. And never be afraid to look over a program twice. 😕

P.S., qodem isn’t in Debian. It is in AUR, but the version is out of date. Just so you’re aware. …