Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

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DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:59 pm

I am requesting that someone zip up a functional searchlight BBS. Not the doors, just the bbs itself. There may be a way to get it to run on 64 bit systems. I want to try an experiment to see this. I am operating Vista 64 with no way to run 16 bit anything. This machine is a natural for testing.

Chris, could you go in and zip up your searchlight fully functional BBS and put it a file section I can get at. Not the doors, fido or any addons. Just the BBS itself.

If I can get it to load over here, then that breaths more life into the system and takes it into the 64 bit OSs.

DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:48 pm

Answered my own question. I ended up with a installed copy of Searchlight 5.1. Here is what I found.

The wslbbs.exe is 32 bit. so is the slbbs32.exe The rest of the executables that is required to run the BBS are all 16 bit. The two 32 bit exes were done by Frank and his bunch. What would have made it work into the 64 bit world was to compile the others in 32 bit as well.
As it stands, it was just laziness on Telegrafix part that they never compiled it as a 32 bit all the way. It could have had two different set of Executables like the two different slbbs.exes but that appears to have been too much trouble for them. Instead, they worked on the 16 bit version and completely forgot about the 32 bit version.

This is just plain laziness. Instead of offering as an either/or in one package, why didn't they offer two different versions. One 16 bit like the 4.5 and one 32 bit as the V5. They could have gotten us all to spend money on the new one and possibly stayed in business. But they went out of business and that is that.

The difference is not the coding, it's the compiler.

Now on to Frank and company. The coding in wslbbs.exe is not documented at all or very spotty. Neither is any other executables. Unless all the exes. They are poorly commented. Unless Telegrafix removed all the comments, they may not have been there in the first place. I have a feeling that they were in there and Telegrafix removed them.

This is sloppy work from the 32 bit side of things. It would have been just too easy to introduce a 32 bit BBS. All the tools and programs are there. But they were almost all compiled with a 16 bit Turbopascal compiler.

It's sad that wslbbs.exe runs well under a 64 bit system but none of the supporting executables do.

kparadine
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:08 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by kparadine » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:45 am

It's a lost cause anyway, the whole thing needs to be rearchitected. There's no 16-bit DOS support anymore. You need to spawn an emulator to run that stuff.

Coz
Site Admin
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by Coz » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:09 am

Yep, unfortunately when Microsoft drops the NTVDM from Windows by going 64-bit only - which if it doesn't happen with Windows 8 will almost certainly happen with the next version of Windows - all of this 16-bit BBS software will belong to the ages... and those who have hardware to run older operating systems or want to use dosemu or dosbox with varying degrees of success.

Oh joy! A whole world of Synchronet BBSes with none of the classic doors... :)

This keeps me coming back to what Kevin originally asked... why Searchlight? Lord knows there's much better architected (and supported) BBS software out there. I feel like SLBBS is so simple from both a Sysop and from a user standpoint in its default setup. Configuration all in one place - minimal external files to maintain. Easily understood (if a bit simplistic) message reading/composing/threading/deleting system. Simple access control scheme. And a very easy and streamlined login process for the user. Maybe it's because it's what I grew up with.

Oh well, even if a spectacular 32-bit BBS system is developed we're still going to continue to have all kinds of issues with the classic doors. I suppose Legend of the Green Dragon and Trade Wars Game Server are the way we'll be running these games in the future. Even TWGS has all kinds of issues in a 64-bit environment due to its dependencies on so much 16-bit code.

DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:26 pm

The newest TWGS runs fine in a 32 bit environment. And they are discussing putting out a Lords for the web. And you have the option to run Legends of the Green Dragon as well in Web/PHP. Those two will survive. It's the rest that won't.

Coz
Site Admin
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:09 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by Coz » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:32 pm

DeadMeat wrote:The newest TWGS runs fine in a 32 bit environment. And they are discussing putting out a Lords for the web. And you have the option to run Legends of the Green Dragon as well in Web/PHP. Those two will survive. It's the rest that won't.
I've had problems with the latest TWGS in a 64-bit Win7 environment complaining about not having admin rights even after I've disabled UAC. Have you tried it on 64-bit Windows 7? I'm hoping that the next release (supposedly in beta test) will fix whatever the problem was that I had.

DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:10 pm

In the Version I have access too, it has just enough 16 bit in it to not allow it to load on Vista 64. Can't install the V tws1055.exe. I hope the beta they are working on that I can't seem to find will take care of that problem. As long as the TWGS has V 3.09 TW in it, it's not going to run.

kparadine
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:08 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by kparadine » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:27 pm

I am ambling towards a terminal program that will do justice to SLBBS. If that works out, maybe it's time to rebuild it for a 64-bit world.

DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:59 pm

I think we have one or two already in the Files section including the old Qmodem

http://www.slbbs.com/files/slbbsrelated/qm2_1.zip
Check it out. It does a reasonable Rip and a decent Ansi.

the only problem is, it still has enough 16 bit in it to not to be able to run in 64 bit systems.

DeadMeat
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Let's try and experiment on 32 bit SLbbs

Post by DeadMeat » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:06 pm

It looks to me like Telegraphics, Searchlight and Mustang didn't go into the 32 bit world. While Mustang introduced their own version of everything in 32 bit, the other two just kept plugging at 16 bit and the world just passed them by. Stupid, really stupid. By 1998, the world was already 32 bit. But not one single program coming out of Telegraphics or Searchlight was 32 bit. It wasn't the Internet that killed the BBS, it was it being stuck in 16 bit.

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