The FidoNet Technology Network at Wishful Thinking
Wishful Thinking Bulletin Board Service (BBS) belonged to the independent network
known as FidoNet.
FidoNet is, or was an amateur network of computer users connected via the public telephone network (PSTN) with direct dialup between nodes, or addresses on the network (including nodes overseas). It operated by each System Operator (SysOp) maintaining a NODELIST of telephone numbers to connect nodes together, with the dialup between nodes being handled automatically. Indeed, many of the mail transfers would take place overnight when most of us would be sleeping, and indeed, a BBS would often run unattended for long periods of time.
Aw, is he cute,
or is he cute?
Many nodes in FidoNet would also operate a Bulletin Board Service (BBS), although it wasn't essential - some would use it just for exchanging mail. The feature they all had in common, is that unlike the big Internet Service Providers of today, we were all in it as a hobby. Indeed, part of the FidoNet "Charter" was that it was strictly non-commercial.
Each BBS would be unique, as befitting the personality of the SysOp - it felt good to be that little bit different! This could sometimes result in problems for callers, as there was no such thing as the same "look and feel" which is so much a part now of what the average user expects online, or from applications on his or her home computer!
In its heyday in the early 1990s there were over 32,000 nodes worldwide within FidoNet, but when I left the total was under 20,000. Obviously, not all of these were devoted to, or carried Genealogy traffic, but nevertheless there were quite a few worldwide, the most notable in the UK being ROOTS (UK!) 2:440/50 in FidoNet, SysOp Mike Fisher. Mike closed in late 1992, but until early 1998 there were three or four other BBS in the UK specialising in Genealogy besides myself. In its latter days there were just two, myself and Quill's Queries! (SysOp Simon Quill).
There are nevertheless one or two BBS still around, notably But in the UK, The Fidonet gives a better description of how Fidonet, and BBS have evolved into the 21st century, and the Internet today.
Fido®, FidoNet®, and the dog-with-diskette are registered marks of Tom Jennings and Fido Software.