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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
bulletin board system
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communications, application (BBS, bboard /bee'bord/; after a
physical piece of board on which people can pin messages
written on paper for general consumption - a "physical
bboard"). A computer and associated software which typically
provides an electronic message database where people can log
in and leave messages. Messages are typically split into
topic groups similar to the newsgroups on Usenet (which
is like a distributed BBS). Any user may submit or read any
message in these public areas.
Apart from public message areas, a BBS may provide archives of
files, personal electronic mail and any other services or
activities of interest to the bulletin board's system operator
(the "sysop"). Thousands of local BBSes are in operation
throughout the world, typically run by amateurs for fun out of
their homes on MS-DOS boxes with a single modem line each.
Although BBSes have traditionally been the domain of
hobbyists, an increasing number of BBSes are connected
directly to the Internet, and many BBSes are currently
operated by government, educational, and research
institutions. Fans of Usenet and Internet or the big
commercial time-sharing bboards such as CompuServe, CIX
and GEnie tend to consider local BBSes the low-rent district
of the hacker culture, but they serve a valuable function by
knitting together lots of hackers and users in the
personal-micro world who would otherwise be unable to
exchange code at all.