(from a slightly technical point of view)

Monochrome is a BBS written by David Brownlee as a final year project. The system has somewhat evolved from it's original form into possibly the country's largest internet BBS. And the world's second best.

The system runs on several unix based machines : tachyon.mono.org and various other machines who's names change on a frequent basis.

Tachyon is the most important of these as it is the central server. The BBS is based around a mini-client (mono) which is run when you log in. Tachyon is currently a silicon graphics machine of some sort - as kindly loaned by Dave's new employers.

Monochrome consists of a client (mono) and four servers (md.serv) (md.deliver) (md.talk) & (md.group)

There are three forms of communication within monochrome..


These are central to the whole structure of monochrome. Monochrome consists of a main menu and a set of supplemental utilities. The main menu is divided up by subjects and each menu subdivided appropriately. Eventually you reach a comment file. A comment file is exactly that - a series of comments about the said subject

Here is an example from a file within the hotwire section - which I moderate

---------------------------------------------------[Wed May 31 00:30:40 1995]-- From: +++ darien says sooth (darien) Subject: Aha! And as the VERY FIRST to edit, I say this... Rajah said he was getting annoyed with interlaced GIFs. I can see his point, actually - it's pretty irritating to sit and watch the blasted things keep on resolving down for the last 40% or so because by that time you've seen the picture and have normally got the point. Still I do use them, EXCEPT for integrated IMGs because for some reason Netscape 1.1N for Macintosh seems to have problems rendering interlaced GIFs correctly over a background. ---------------------------------------------------[Wed May 31 19:06:46 1995]-- From: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~scp93ch (manga) Subject: So is HTML 3 (as used in Netscape) actually a standard? ---------------------------------------------------[Wed May 31 19:12:16 1995]-- From: No. Let me face the PERIL. (bluemeat) Subject: Well, I've assumed it to be, but could be wrong. ---------------------------------------------------[Wed May 31 19:12:29 1995]-- From: meline scrolls very slowly. This na (gryphph) Subject: Netscape isn't actually HTML3 It is very similar, but they rushed the finished product out before the HTML3 specs were finished. Hence there are some differences (I think the <CENTRE> tag is one of them, but I'm not sure) ---------------------------------------------------[Wed May 31 19:14:37 1995]-- From: No. Let me face the PERIL. (bluemeat) Subject: You mean the standard is the english as opposed to american spelling? Or vice-versa? and so it continues..

The second form of communication is semi real time - user to user messages.

When a message is recieved - the client beeps your terminal and takes you to a file of messages, formatted identically to a comment file. You can then reply - like an email.
Also like an email, any messages sent whilst not online are kept for when you next connect.

The final form of communication is the talker. This is like a primitive Multi User Domain - with a common room and a room for each individual user. You can decorate your room and lock (nobody can get in) or close it (users can only get in if invited or you have linked to them). It is also possible to ignore a person. There are only a few primitive commands implemented - tell, emote, say and shout. The shout function has a two minute delay before you can shout again.
Monochrome works using the rlogin and telnet protocols. Because the mono client is a unix program - it supports every entry in ther termcap file so all the common (and not so common) terminals are supported..

Every user has a personal profile which can be examined and certain elements can be set. You can see my 'full profile' here The user profile looks like this

|\/|           Examining 'bluemeat'  <ttyp6@neutron.mono.org>              |\/|
|  | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |  |

Header - which machine and ttyp i'm using.
       Account : bluemeat        10            (---------)        [-----------]

Account name, user level, ban flags and privileges
In essence the lower the userlevel, the more important the user. 0 is the superuser..
The ban flags represent either the ability to ban the user from an action or the fact that a user has been banned.
From left to right they go
The final field is the privs field.
The privs are :
         Email : bluemeat@mono.org

The user's email - you can set an option to hide everything but the site, in which case it would be "@mono.org". The email is used by various functions, such as the ability to mail the contents of a comment file to yourself, and as such, must be a valid email.
[N]       Name : Can't find COFFEE - programmer halted...       <Male>

Name is a personalised 40 character 'thing' which precedes your account name in comment files. <Male> is the user's sex (choose from Male, Female, Confused or None).
[T]   Terminal : xterm

Terminal type currently being used.
       Created : Wed Nov  2 21:37 '94                      Comments : 5706

When the account was created and how many comments have been added to files by yourself. Every time you delete a comment, your total goes down by one.
       Last On : Tue Nov 21 01:36 '95                     Cost Time : 0

When the user was last on. Cost time relates to certain activities which can have charges associated to them. This is so the mono software can be used in a commercial environment.
 Total Time On :  6 Wks 0 Day                              Times On : 1177

Total time accumulated logged in to the system and how many times i've been on.
    Longest On : 12 Hour 58 Min                                 Ops : 472

My longest continuous connection to monochrome.

This Time On : 38 Min 19 Sec Location : hannah.ecs.soton

How long the user has been on this time, and where from.

Idle Time : 1 Seconds Key Path :

How long the user has been idle for and the series of keystrokes to get to where they are.

Current Action : Reading Messages [ESC][R]

What the user is currently doing.

----{[I] change Infotext}---{[H] history}---{[O] options}---{[P] password}-----

Infotext - 8 lines which follow. You can put what you like in here. Each user has a history consists of any disconnections, bans etc..

In every place, in every time, an evil is loosed whose sole purpose is to destroy all that is good. And in every time and every place, it is the task of the task of the Elder to find and train a warrior...a champion to conquer the evil. As the looming clouds gather, the council of the Elder sits at their ancient table under the sign of the Rose. Once again they must combat the evil that is lurking in darkness and spreading throught the world. They await the word from Morpheus, the caretaker, whether the boy be deemed ready for the sacred rite of accession to the Order of the Rose... The oddyssey begins.. [RET] [E] [Y] [+] [-] [W] [D] [S]:Send [F] [R] [V] or [?]:Help
As of 21/11/95 there were 6,503 known accounts on Monochrome.

As of 14/08/98 there were 5,603 known accounts on Monochrome.

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Last Updated 14/08/98, BM