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topQUARK is an updated version of QBBS, which was developed by John Lorance as a replacement for RBBS. Anyone who ever had to struggle with actually using, or even worse, running RBBS will understand why. He succeeded in producing a much superior program, a remarkable achievement, especially for a fifteen-year-old kid with no professional programming experience.
It is closely related to WBBS -- the systems share many features and innovative ideas, including the best message reading system of the day, storing whole message bases in single files (important if you are using floppy drives where every cluster counts), and reasonably high reliability.
Wayne Conrad and Sue Widemark both helped John debug the original version. My favorite bug destroyed a message base and crashed the system if a message base grew above 32k. Not very large these days, but quite large when you are running a system on one 720k floppy drive and a RAM disk to hold the actual program.
After John got tired of maintaining the software, it split into two versions. Sue Widemark created SUBBS, and I continued to maintain QBBS as the software for TARDIS BBS.
Eventually I sold a copy to Aetna Medicare, which they used to run the Aetna Medicare BBS. This meant I had to add many new features... so I added an innovative files section (with files stored as individual records in a database, instead of a flat ASCII file), ANSI color and a whole bunch of other features specifically for Aenta's requirements.
topQUARK is currently being rewritten in Ruby and will be reborn as a multi-threaded, multi-user BBS system complete with on-line games. Why? Because we missed it. The source code is included in the zip file that you can download from this page. Many, many thanks to Laurence Starks for finding it for me.
If anyone wants to help with the topQUARK project, please e-mail: Mark Firestone.