From: "William K. Karwin"
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 1991 18:48:58 PST
Secret-Identity: The Easter Bunny
Subject: History of UCSCB Forums
Time for a trip down memory lane... :-)
Evan Hunt and I started talking about the evolution of source code for
forums on UCSCB earlier the other evening. We got quite a bit of
information about who wrote what and who influenced whom, but I'd like
to check with you old timers :) to get corrections, additions, etc.
Pretentious title follows:
MODERN DAY GUTENBERGS:
AUTHORS OF MULTI-USER FORUMS AT UCSC
The earliest author of forum code we know of was Nate Ingersoll. The only
information we have of his early forum is that it influenced later work.
Dan Heller seems to have worked on forums too, but we are unclear as to
how much his products were actually used.
Brian Moffett was influenced by Nate's and Dan's work to write "dforum"
(d for dorimay). It is unclear if this was a hack on previous code, or
original code inspired by existing forums.
Jim Kinoshita built on to dforum, but that version didn't go very far.
Evan Hunt built on Jim's work, but he didn't do much more.
In 1985 Keith Reynolds acquired Nate's source. He used this and also was
influenced by dforum, to create "sforum" (s for shonnon). This was very
popular and many forums used this source.
About this time, Chuck Peterson wrote the multi-node "tforum" (t for
tree-structured), presumably from scratch. This code was fixed, modified,
and updated for years, but "/usr/games/tforum" remained as a staple of
UCSCB users. Jon Luini and Evan Hunt both wrote remote tforum clients.
A new version of Chuck's work is in place even now, as /usr/public/forum.
It's less buggy and more popular than ever.
In 1986, Jon Luini became interested in writing forums. He acquired
sforum, and wrote "SHADES", which evolved into the multi-node forum,
"romp". A rewrite was called "uromp", then the single-node "gazebo", and
finally another multi-node version of gazebo called "gromp". Gazebo and
gromp survive today on UCSCB. They are full of useful and fun features,
but this makes them slow programs to use.
Nate Ingersoll wrote Q+A, a networked graphical forum, about this time.
Though it was the first UCSC forum to have been designed as a distributed
forum, it had an unfamiliar interface, authentication problems, and
mostly technical subject matter, so it didn't become very popular, and
eventually fell into disrepair.
In 1987, Bill Karwin acquired sforum, fixed some bugs and added some
features to create "cforum" (c is for C). This source is still used by
several privately-owned forums on UCSCB, including the mainstay of
private forums, Romance Forum. Fewer features, but faster than gazebo.
Bill has also written forums in csh and sh, and made an attempt at
implementing a forum using only sed.
I used UCSCB back in 1979, when it apparently still ran System V. There
was "/usr/games/gsh forum", written and managed by persons unknown to me,
and there were also at least two private forums, but I didn't know how to
use directories and pathnames very well, so I didn't become familiar with
these. I recall that none of the forums were tree-structured. At some
point, the forum in /usr/games became known as "Overforum", as a pun on
the underground, privately owned "Underforum".
Can any of you guys add to or correct this information? What was the
forum technology before 1984? What was the policy of CATS toward forums
over the years? What forum sources became most popular?
If you know the current email address of anyone else who worked on (i.e.
not just used) unix b forums between the late 70's and early 80's, and
would be interested in contributing to the scholarly study of local
history, :-) please let me know, and I'll mail them too.
Just a collector of trivia,
From: Nathaniel Ingersoll
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 91 11:17:58 PST
: From billk Mon Jan 28 18:48:18 1991
: MODERN DAY GUTENBERGS:
: AUTHORS OF MULTI-USER FORUMS AT UCSC
: The earliest author of forum code we know of was Nate Ingersoll. The only
I don't know any names, but Fantasy Forum [daveu] and /usr/games/forum
were definitely around before I started hacking.
By the way, please s/Nate/Nathaniel
: Dan Heller seems to have worked on forums too, but we are unclear as to
: how much his products were actually used.
I remember him mainly taking nroff/troff source and turning it into
"qroff", and turning Mail into mush.
: Brian Moffett was influenced by Nate's and Dan's work to write "dforum"
: (d for dorimay). It is unclear if this was a hack on previous code, or
: original code inspired by existing forums.
Probably original, I believe it predated my own efforts.
: Nate Ingersoll wrote Q+A, a networked graphical forum, about this time.
: Though it was the first UCSC forum to have been designed as a distributed
: forum, it had an unfamiliar interface, authentication problems, and
: mostly technical subject matter, so it didn't become very popular, and
: eventually fell into disrepair.
I decided not to have general topics, which probably was a bad idea at
least from the usage standpoint.
However, my main concern at the time was dissemination of technical Q&A,
since everyone was always interrupting me in person, so I didn't really
care if it wasn't used for talk and rumor forums.
: I used UCSCB back in 1979, when it apparently still ran System V. There
probably UNIX V7, not system V.
: Just a collector of trivia,
From: Brian Moffet
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 1991 11:36:34 PST
> Brian Moffett was influenced by Nate's and Dan's work to write "dforum"
> (d for dorimay). It is unclear if this was a hack on previous code, or
> original code inspired by existing forums.
I was originally influenced by the forum source going around, and
was going to modify it. However, I deleted the source, and
so I wrote my forum (dforum?) from scratch. I can't remember the name,
it was just the thing to do. :-) A fun feature regarding security
was to encode the path for the data files in a cute quote,
I had mine encoded in a song (American Pie I believe?) so that a
core dump wouldn't show where the file were.
After that, I determined that a much better method was what I called a
circular forum, a message was divided into section or blocks, and
you allowed only a certain number to exist in a data-base. I worked on
this for a while, and when I got it finished, it became "hacking forum",
where people could discuss various techno-babble.
This is also where the "Fire Denny because he is incompetant" started up.
I believe this forum influenced the tree-forum a bit, and was definately
around for a while. Its major characteristic was a single data file,
and almost no maintenance.
From: Dave Uebele
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 91 13:38:53 PST
Just a couple of bits and pieces that I remember or sort of remember.
I think I got forum source from either account vandy (Andy Valencia I think)
or Steve All. I think vandy was games manager at the time and I believe
steve all (not sure of account name) set up the underround gameshell.
This was in response to a hard limit of 15 users or less to be allowed
into "above ground" gameshell.
I may have this backward, account vandy may have been the one running the
underground gameshell. Account noman (Scott N.) might remember more
about this time period.
People being people, the "underforum" become the "in" forum to read.
I think Fantasy Forum was one of the first speciality forums in
existance. Another "hacker" at this time was Brian Tickler II.
He started "tforum". Then it seemed like everyone had a speciality
forum program. I don't remember exact order of private forums starting.
Anyway, at some point I started using the rewrite of the forum program
provided by Brian Moffet.
I was not really much of a C programmer at this point. I mostly took
existing code and just changed printfs, things like that. I think
it was Brian Moffet that added the hooks to record actual login name
along with forum message. The original forum program had no provisions
for recording uid/login.
I did write/adapt a simple exec program that was used to hide the location
of the actual forum binaries and related files. This program also
had code to selectively lock out certain users. The program was designed to
not leave a "clean" core image that might include filename
information. Using "strings" on the core file usually produced poems
or things along those lines.
Later on, setgid programs were used to provide security to forum files.
When I first started using ucscb, it was still possible to use setuid
programs, but due to various problems with trojan horse programs,
this call was disabled. But thats another story....
About Operating systems, ucscb was a PDP 11/70 running V7. Sometime
Around 86, Steph Marr convinced the computer center to get
a copy of the 2.9 tape from the computer center at Davis and Jim Haynes
got ucscb up and running as a 2.9 machine. This allowed people
to start experimenting with sockets and TCP/IP on the PDP.
I think the summer of 86, they switched to a new hardware platform.
Thus 2.9 was only around for about 3 months.
I know they had real problems with disk space about this time because
all the binaries took up more space and there were more users and
what seemed like a lot of space suddenly was not nearly enough.
This is what really killed the private forums.
UCSC had two PDP's, "a", and "b", the "a" machine was faculty
only. The other machines "c" through whatever were mostly VAX'es.
When I started I think they only had 2 Vax, and by the time I left they
had about 10 and getting other 6800 based computers.
From: Nathaniel Ingersoll
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 91 13:40:41 PST
Actually, from when I got there ('82) until the 2.9 tape, "unix b" was
running a hybrid V7 mixed with enhancements pulled out of BSD2.8
From: Steph Marr
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 91 14:19:38 PST
The "fire Dennie" thing was a direct result of Dennie abusing root
privs and chmod'ing everyone's home directory to 700. This pissed me
off, so I made use of a know security flaw in msgs and edited a dennie
message to make it look like dennie had finally figured out that he
was incompetent, and that he should resign. however, his incompetence
prevented him from doing so, so anyone with any knowledge about how he
might go about this should call him at **his actual home phone number**
any time, day or night, preferably at 3:00am collect from Tel Aviv.
The Subject: line said "I am a TWID (read this one kidz!).
This got msgs immediately wiped (well, 6 or 7 hours later), and msgs
didn't come back up for about a week.
At that point, O.W. Jones stopped contributing to the various forai
and (not) Dennie started. Later, and underground games shell called
ngsh (for (not) the Games Shell) was run by (not) Dennie.
Should we tell him about how grimjak and rayond's accounts were "disappeared?"
No one has mentioned SMUTforum, the precursor to chunkstyle.
I think Andy wrote forum first. Steve All may have hacked on it, but
not much I don't think. Steve was more into accidentally destroying
filesystems and barely holding onto his accounts.
The student convergence upon CORC might be an interesting tale....
From: Michael Berman
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 1991 15:39:01 PST
In forum engineering history, I suppose I was the first manager to
institute allow and deny restrictions. This was during the evil time
when (do to the actions of the gang of four) forums (at least all the
underground ones) were banned by CATS. This was after Brian had turned
hacker forum over to me. I believe hacker forum, gay forum, and maybe
fantasy forum (at one time) used my security implementation -- although
other forums had similar restrictions.
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 1999 16:35:02 -0700
From: Brian Tickler
Under the login "tickle2", I was fairly involved with the forums on
UCSCB in '83 and '84; I've added info where I remember it...
History of B Forae
> The earliest author of forum code we know of was Nate Ingersoll. The only
> information we have of his early forum is that it influenced later work.
The earliest author I am aware of is actually Steve Barnes. He wrote
the code for the /usr/games/gsh forum (admin'ed by Rob Mace at the time)
and the undrforum (run by Steve All as I recall). Steve B. was an early
proponent of open source and had all his forum source in a
world-readable directory...it was actually Steve's admission to me that
the source was free for the copying that caused me to start Tforum,
which lead to people asking me how I got my own forum, which in turn led
to people starting a whole host of forums, most of which faded pretty
quickly (like my own secondary forum, HackerForum, or like EliteForum,
one of many forums set up by login "rush", which was password
protected), and a few that stuck around, like Fantasy Forum (hi Dave)...
> Dan Heller seems to have worked on forums too, but we are unclear as to
> how much his products were actually used.
Certainly Dan spent a lot of time reading/posting to various forums, but
I'm not aware of any development work he did unless it was after '84.