Zelch: The Commodore Telnet BBS

Back in 1996, a unique wonder was born on the internet. A Commodore 128, running Zelch 128, a normal modem based BBS program, was accepting telnet-based "calls" from the internet by through a host PC running the LINUX operating system.

The Commodore system consisted of a single Commodore 128, a 1571 drive with the BBS boot up disk and files (in case of a power failure), and a 1581 with all the necessary BBS data files. It was hooked to a PC on the internet through a modified null- modem cable between the PC's com-port and the Commodore 128's user port.

The BBS was called "The Zelch BBS" and was based off a modem based system I had run for many years. The software used was a slightly modified version of the Zelch 128 Bulletin Board System. I did not have a transfers section, as the stream based protocols and ascii translation the PC did would not allow it. I did, however, have numerous online games, online BBS "credit" banking system, message bases, the message bases "Wall Street" program, voting booths, and numerous other attractions.

However, when I left Southwest Texas State University in 1997, my access to PCs linked directly to the internet disappeared, and so the system was taken down. However, it was revived again in 2021 using more modern internet solutions. You can check out this BBS at coffeemud.net:6502.

Below are some net articles I've written about this project.

The article written for C= Hacking
The article written for Driven Net Magazine

And here are the links to the files mentioned in those articles.

New Minicom source
New Minicom executable
WatchBoy shell script


Original Ideas - Henry Knoepfle
Minicom modifications - Matt Beall
Linux mods - Henry Knoepfle/Matt Beall/Bo Zimmerman
Commodore Software - Bill Fink/Bo Zimmerman
Commodore modifications - Bo Zimmerman
SysOps - Bo Zimmerman/Bill Fink

Fast forward to 2021, and the idea was revived with the help of modern wifi modems, in particular the C64-Net WiFi. All the prior problems with terminal translation and the missing transfer section has been corrected, leaving a fully filled out and functional BBS!

Check it out today by pointing an ANSI or PETSCII terminal at coffeemud.net:6502

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