Computerized Bulletin Board System

What Does Computerized Bulletin Board System Mean?

The Computerized Bulletin Board System (CBBS) was the first system of its kind to create a file transfer protocol and interface for sending files and communicating over the early internet. CBBS was created by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess as well as other hobbyists including members of the Chicago Area Computer Hobbyist Exchange (CACHE). As legend has it, those engineering the project launched it in January 1978 while working through a major blizzard in the Chicago area. CBBS was first set up on an Altair 8800 with an S-100 bus.


Techopedia Explains Computerized Bulletin Board System

Like other bulletin board systems of its time, CBBS was based on a command line interface that allowed for messaging and file transfer. In the early days of online communication, many of the most advanced online networks were simple file exchanges that offered basic interface services such as online chat, message boards and the ability for users to upload and download files. Before the days of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a whole host of visual social media and messaging services, bulletin board systems accessed through relatively low-speed modems provided the primary means for consumers to explore online possibilities.

After its launch, a number of others cloned CBBS systems, which led to a large bulletin board community throughout the 1980s, and a lot of this kind of activity, mainly over low-speed modems and dial-up connections, until eventually, more sophisticated systems made systems like CBBS obsolete.

Reports on the creation of CBBS show that it was modeled after the physical bulletin boards common in public spaces, and the idea of a digital counterpart.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…