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Today is sunday the 23rd of April 2017. The time is 09:53:20 and it's week number 16.

(2009-04-09) The History of the Ericade Network BBS

The ERICADE Network used to be a small bulletin board system (ie a BBS) that operated between 1993 and 2000. In a way it was a forerunner to this website. Here you can read its history.

The experience
The ERICADE Network was geared as a generic debating forum with file sharing as its second purpose. The files were legal and mostly Amiga-shareware and Amiga music modules. We profiled us as a "small, local electronic pub". And most of our users were based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The discussions ranged between technology, politics and free form discussions. We used the BBS as a information center for a small community broadcaster (RadioUFS) and a chapter of the federation of young scientists. This part never became as significant feature of the BBS though.

The stats
Telephone lines: 1 dedicated.
Amount of users: 600 *)
Amount of active users: 40 *)
System: Amiga 1200
Software: Nikom
Telephone number: 08-7268265 (Not in operation!)
FidoNet node name: 2:201/370.0

*) Approximate values during the most active years.

The technology
During the first year the BBS ran on an Amiga 500 with two hard drives and 3 MB of ram. Then it was moved to an Amiga 1200 with a bigger hard drive and more ram. This configuration lasted until 2000, when the BBS finally shut down for good.

The BBS software we used was a Swedish command-driven bulletin board software called "Nikom" written by Niklas Lindholm. Command driven BBSes were often seen as more cumbersome than the menu driven alternative. But people bothering to learn the basic commands were treated to a system with superior flexibility.

Most customizations were done with the built in Arexx-scripting language.

This is what you saw after you entered your login and password. The numbers in the column to the right are temperatures in centigrade when the user logged in. The last two logins shows wrong values since they were done after we disconnected the thermo-diode from the system. Also note that the dates are screwed up due to the Y2K-bug! The text is in Swedish and shows various statistics for the logged in user, in this case the guest.

Ericade BBS launches on an Amiga 500 on the 17th of October 1993. The BBS is open between 10pm and 17 pm.

Peter Lönnebring joins as a CoSysop.

In January 1994 the BBS get its own, dedicated phone line and a new telephone number: 08-726 82 65. It is now possible to accept callers 24 hours per day. Mattias Nord joins up as the second cosysop.

Peter Lönnebring quits as a cosysop. He is later replaced by Pamela Strandberg.

During the autumn it becomes clear that the hardware is unable to cope with the load and that the hard drive-space is not sufficient. In September the Amiga 500 is replaced by a brand new Amiga 1200 with a larger hard drive.

During the spring we hold two music competitions where the top five entries are broadcast on community broadcast FM-radio in Stockholm.

During may 1995 we join the Fidonet, a forerunner to the Internet. We are assigned the node-number 2:201/370.0. The South Hub (2:201/300) manned by Göran Eriksson becomes our upstream HUB.

Pamela quits as a cosysop and is replaced by Johan Hansson. We configure the BBS to use a FidoNet to email gateway. This way we allow our users to send local messages to email-users on the Internet. At this time, it's considered a very cool thing.

The emerging phenomena called "The Internet" causes a decrease in user activity.

The user activity starts to dwindle.

In February The ERICADE Network BBS is shut down. We de-register from the FidoNet.

In April we decide to restart it again in a smaller costume. Johan Hansson rejoins as a cosysop. We choose not to rejoin the FidoNet this time.

The user base is now more or less comprised by 20-30 persons which all know each other in real life.

We finally decide that its time to call it quits. The ERICADE Network shuts down... This time it's for good.

The people that made this possible:

The system operator (sysop):
Erik Zalitis

The sheriff's deputies (Cosysops):
Peter Lönnebring (1993-1994)
Mattias Nord (1994-1995)
Pamela Linda Louise Strandberg (1994-1996)
Johan Hansson (1996-2000)

Special thanks:
Johan Lind [Behemoth] for most of our logos.

The legacy
The choice to close the BBS down in 2000 was never a tough choice. By then the Internet was everything and idea of connecting to a site directly through a dial-up connection was obsolete. It might sound strange, but remember that calling a BBS in a another country meant a huge telephone bill. The Internet removed that problem and made the location of the site largely unimportant.

Another limitation was that every user monopolized one telephone line per connection. With the Internet, the limitation is more along the lines of bandwidth and latency. So the BBS-technology is dead forever and that's not going to change.

But The ERICADE Network left a legacy that's still useful. During the years we managed to collect a small, but rather unique collection of Amiga-music composed in the .mod format. In 2005 we put this collection on the air as web radio station. You can still listen to it.

In 2004 we setup which in a way became a successor to the old BBS. In 2005 we added a private mailserver, a few discussion forums and a some mailing lists. History repeats itself.

BBS - The documentary
The story of Nikom, the software we used. It's in Swedish.
Fabbes BBS Possibly the only Swedish Nikom BBS still in use today (Worked in April 2009)
Sweden BBS List: 08 Most of the boards that operated in Stockholm, Sweden

Posted: 2009-04-09 by Erik Zalitis
Changed: 2009-05-25 by Erik Zalitis

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