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Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) - Software Patents - CoCo
Folklore - Free Software - Programming

Bulletin Board Systems (BBS)

Montréal BBS List for November 25th, 1988
September 1, 2002

This list was maintained by the Montreal BBS Juxtaposition, which started maintaining such lists in 1985. (Thanks to Paul Guertin for preserving and contributing this list.)

Montréal BBS List for July 21st, 1989
July 7, 2002

This list was maintained by the Montreal BBS Juxtaposition, which started maintaining such lists in 1985.

A Documentary About Bulletin Board Systems
October 6, 2001

Jason Scott wants to film a documentary on Bulletin Board Systems in order to preserve their history. The Web has kept very few traces of this very dynamic world.

In my case, I was a member of several BBSes mostly from 1988 to 1991. The main ones were Alpha-Byte, Cheers!, InfoDoc-Montréal, Infolie and C-PC.

Bulletin Boards are online world's good old days
December 21, 2000

A Montréal Gazette article about the Montréal BBS scene as it was in 1997. The original link was this one, but the page disappeared. Fortunately, I kept a copy of the text.

The History of BBS's
December 6, 2000

This is a 1986 article by Thomas Ark that talked about how stupid users were polluting bulletin board systems. I translated this article in French in 1989. I have searched the Web with the name Thomas Ark but failed to find any mention of him. I would be curious to know more about what made him write this article.

February 27, 1999

A collection of text files that used to circulate on the BBSes of the seventies and eighties.

"Batman" strikes again
January 26, 1998

I was a member of several Bulletin Board Systems, typically under the alias La Galette, from 1988 to 1991 (first with a 1200 bps modem on a CoCo, then with a 2400 bps on a PC...). One of them was called Alpha-Byte, and its sysop was known under the alias of S.T. Garp; I was a co-sysop for that BBS for about eight months. My alias was La Galette.

There was on Alpha-Byte a section where a few users would write a "never ending story": each user write a message that adds something to the story. I kept an example of one of the worst contributions (in French) made by one of the idiots that unfortunately polluted that fine BBS.

Software Patents

Excerpt from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Unites States Constitution:

[The Congress shall have Power] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Copyrights and patents are authorized by the American constitution only towards the goal of advancing science and the useful arts, and not to protect the interests of private businesses...

The documentary Triumph of the Nerds on the beginnings of micro-computers shows very well that the nerds that created major programs like Visicalc for example had no need for legal or financial incentives. They did it because computer programming is a fascinating activity that can also improve the human condition. The software industry was and is still doing very well and does not need to have a patent system that implies the privatization of ideas to the great pleasure of the large companies that have the means to buy them.

The worst effect of software patents is that they endanger the free software movement. But since this movement helps the promotion of liberty and science in general, it is obvious that patents on algorithms violate the Constitution.

Against Software Patents
October 31, 1998

An article by the League for Programming Freedom that explains the whole problem. I have been maintaining the LPF site from time to time since October 1998.

The Constitution never sanctioned the patenting of gadgets
August 9, 1998

En 1950, the United States Supreme Court deplored that the U.S. Patent Office granted patents for gadgets as simple as a rubber tip put on wood pencils to serve as erasers. Such patents have nothing to do with the advancement of science are the arts, which is the only justification authorized by the Consitution for patents and copyrights.


My first computer was the CoCo 2 (a Color Computer, from Tandy) in 1984. I learned to program in Basic and in assembler on this machine, which I found fascinating and remember fondly. It is thanks to my CoCo if I am a programmer today.

Color Eights
May 31, 2015

A card game of Crazy Eights for the CoCo, written in C and compiled by CMOC, my 6809-targeting cross-compiler for a subset of C.

CMOC: a 6809-generating cross-compiler for a subset of the C language
May 31, 2015

This is my cross-compiler, which I used to implement Color Eights and Color Verbiste.

Verbiste for the CoCo
September 6, 2014

I have done partial port of my French verb conjugator to the CoCo.

CoCo mailing list
September 5, 2014

A mailing list hosted by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, publisher in the eighties of Undercolor magazine.

Rainbow Magazine issues
September 5, 2014

PDF copies of most issues (1981-1993).

September 5, 2014

A wiki on the Color Computer.

Emulating the CoCo 3 on a GNU/Linux system
June 17, 2012

This page gives a practical procedure to install and run an emulator for the Tandy Color Computer 3 under a GNU/Linux operating system.

Homebrew 6809 Computer: First Test
April 11, 2010

This YouTube video shows a user entering a hand-assembled machine-language program into a 6809 processor's memory, one byte at a time using switches, and then executing the program successfully.

MESS CoCo 3 emulation
August 23, 2001

MESS, of which a Linux version exists, is able to emulate a CoCo 3. One must have the right files that represent the machine's ROMs. I had to guess how to produce a ';' (with the numerid keypad '+' key) and a '+' (with the same key, but shifted). The joystick's button can be emulated by pressing the AltGr key (the one that produces the X11 "Mode_switch" keysym).

CoCo Game List
July 5, 2001

This site lists hundreds of video games for the CoCo.


I am in possession of a working 5.25" diskette drive (tested on August 29th, 2006). If you are desperate to extract files from such diskettes, I may be able to help you.

Octo-puce (Bits and Bytes)
March 4, 2007

Octo-puce was an educational television series about computers. It was the French version of Bits and Bytes. These series of twelve half-hour episodes were produced in 1983 and aired respectively by the Radio-Québec and TV Ontario educational channels. They taught computer science to the general public and even dared to teach programming. Since about 2008, Google Video has offered this video of Octo-puce and Octo-puce Plus.

Beyond the Tesseract
October 28, 2002

"A highly conceptual game in which you interact with abstract concepts and mathematical entities as if they were tangible." I reconstitued this .tar.gz archive from two shell archives and two patches that I found in old comp.sources.games posts from December 1988, thanks to Google Groups. If you compile this on a modern GNU/Linux system, the linker will rightly complain that the `gets' function is dangerous and should not be used...

SEA vs PKWare
April 22, 2002

The court decision where PKWare was forced to stop using the .arc format, created by SEA, followed by some comments on the affair.

Free Software

The Right to Read
March 22, 1998

A work of fiction on where the copyright system could lead us if we let it out of control... I wrote a french translation which appears on gnu.org.

Brush With Greatness: Dennis Ritchie answers me
November 29, 1997

An article by Dennis M. Ritchie in response to a question that I asked in the newsgroup alt.folklore.computers about the attitude of AT&T towards the Unix versions created by the University of Berkeley.


A functioning Turing machine
March 27, 2010

A man from Wisconsin built a classic Turing Machine with a thousand instruction tape.

Csh Programming Considered Harmful
April 12, 2005

The C shell, and even tcsh, are irreversibly handicapped. It's hopeless.

Verbiste: a French conjugation system
May 30, 2003

This GPL C++ library that I wrote can conjugate and deconjugate French verbs. It comes with two command-line utilities.

BoolStuff, a library for the Boolean Disjunctive Normal Form
November 7, 2002

BoolStuff is a small C++ library that I wrote and that supports a few operations on boolean expression binary trees, like parsing, and computing the Disjunctive Normal Form.

Creating Really Teensy ELF Executables for Linux
October 21, 2002

This document explores methods for squeezing excess bytes out of simple programs. "If you're a programmer who's become fed up with software bloat, then may you find herein the perfect antidote."

GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool
January 4, 2001

This books teaches the complex subject of automatic source code configuration, in the GNU manner. I tried a few times to learn autoconf and co. by hacking it, namely by reading the manual, but in vain.

It is only when I brought myself to read this book that I finally has access to the Revelation. I am quite satisfied to now know this tool suite. Now I can distribute my source code in a familiar form (the well-known ./configure, make, make install sequence).

The Rise of "Worse is Better"
October 19, 2000

This is an article by Richard Gabriel, a designer of Common Lisp and CLOS. It claims that striving for perfection may not always be the best approach:

I have intentionally caricatured the worse-is-better philosophy to convince you that it is obviously a bad philosophy and that the New Jersey approach is a bad approach.

However, I believe that worse-is-better, even in its strawman form, has better survival characteristics than the-right-thing, and that the New Jersey approach when used for software is a better approach than the MIT approach.

Duff's device
October 13, 2000

The most dramatic use yet seen of fall through in C switches, invented by Tom Duff en 1983. He was trying to bum all the instructions he could out of an inner loop that copied data serially onto an output port.

A History of Unix
July 26, 2000

After three decades of use, the UNIX* computer operating system from Bell Labs is still regarded as one of the most powerful, versatile, and flexible operating systems (OS) in the computer world. Its popularity is due to many factors, including its ability to run a wide variety of machines, from micros to supercomputers, and its portability -- all of which led to its adoption by many manufacturers.

The dumbing-down of programming
September 12, 1998

An article by Ellen Ullman that tells how installing GNU/Linux on a PC that had heretofore been equipped with Windows made her discover the archeological marvels of PC history. She deplores that systems like Windows try too much to protect us from ourselves and even tend to use insulting childish language...

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