User Tools

Site Tools



The bboard is a threaded multi discussion bulletin board. It goes back when the original SDF was just a BBS. You may think of it as a corkboard at a community center where members post notes with thumb tacks. It is, along with commode, one of the best ways to get help and news from SDF-EU. Voting of new features and changes on SDF-EU policies also take place at the bboard (ARPA membership or above required)

Some relevant bboards

  • To ask for help from another user, use <HELPDESK> to have your query answered by another user (admins 1) do NOT read <HELPDESK>)
  • All system notices are posted on <ANNOUNCE> (read this first if something is wrong)
  • Current discussions about SDF-EU happen on <SDFEU>
  • You can make requests for new software and discuss account issues at <REQUESTS> (if your request is about your account and is confidential, better to mail
  • <ARPA> and <META> boards are used for ARPA and MetaARPA related questions.
  • Member services (such as VPN or VOIP) have their own board for questions and support.

Getting around

Listing boards

Type bboard on your shell. You will be presented with a list of current bboards (Boards Listing), sorted by most recent activity.

S D F - 1  Bulletin Board
SDFEU        [0066] SDF-EU User discussions
META         [0022] No Description
HELPDESK     [0690] Users Helping Users
NETWORKING   [0008] No Description
ARPA         [0148] ARPA members helping ARPA members
REQUESTS     [0534] Software Updates and Installs for SDF and SDF-EU


To navigate the boards listings, use F (Forward) and B (Backward) keys to go up and down. When you reach the end of the list (or you press Q), you will enter in Command Mode, and a prompt will be presented to you. Every time you run bboard you are placed in the <GENERAL> board by default, hence the prompt <GENERAL> Command: .

Browsing messages

Say you want to review the <SDFEU> bboard for news about SDF-EU. On the Command Mode, type G (GOTO) followed of the name of the bboard (in this case G → SDFEU) You will enter in Posts Listing, with all entries at the <SDFEU> bboard sorted by activity (most recent first)

[ID]     [DATE]          [AUTHOR]  [REP]  [SUBJECT]
[1]   03-May-12            [john]    [0]  New feature: SDF-EU intertubes
[2]   02-May-12            [jane]    [0]  SSH Port Forwarding question
      02-May-12             [jim]    [1]
      02-May-12           [james]    [2]
[3]   02-May-12            [jess]    [0]  Meetup at EuroBSDcon
      02-May-12          [joshua]    [1]
      02-May-12            [jack]    [2]

Like in the Boards Listing, you can navigate the Posts Listing with keys F and B. Pressing Q will return you to Command Mode.

Read a message

Post #3 “Meetup at EuroBSCcon” caught your attention. To read it, press T (TYPE), followed by the post number (in this case T → 3) This will put you on Reading Mode at the first message from the thread. You could also start reading the thread from a specific message; simply enter T → 3.2 if you want to start reading the thread #3 from the second reply.

TACKER:  jess (Jessica G. Doe)
SUBJECT: Meetup at EuroBSDcon
DATE:    02-May-12 21:44:05
HOST:    odin

Anybody wanting to organize a meetup @EuroBSDcon?

<SDF.3.0>(3)[ <ENTER> to follow thread, (R)EPLY or (Q)UIT ]

Post a message/reply

To post a new thread on the bboard you are currently in, press P (POST) and enter a subject. To publicly reply to a post, press R (REPLY) If you are in Reading Mode, you will reply to the thread you are currently in. If you are in Posts Listing, you will be asked for the post number you want to reply. Either way you will end up in the pico editor. Write down your reply and press CTRL-x to finish you post.

New Post

<SDFEU> Command: POST
Subject: Timezone?
You have written:
In which timezone(s) SDF-EU servers are?

This BULLETIN contains 40 characters in 6 words of 2 lines.
POST your BULLETIN? (y/n)
% Rebuilding symbol table for BBOARD:<SDFEU>  [QUEUED]
Would you like to add a READERS POLL? (y/n)


 <SDFEU> Command: REPLY (A NUMBER) 3
 REPLY to "Meetup at EuroBSDcon" ? (y/n)
 You have replied:
 I would love to!
 This BULLETIN contains 16 characters in 4 words of 2 lines.
 POST your REPLY? (y/n)

...and much more

Now that you are confortable with the bboard, try exploring additional features:

  • Post (P), reply (R) and depost (D) a message (use the <TEST> board for that)
  • Review current voting polls (V) or propose your own.
  • Explore the archives (A) and acquire ancient wisdom.
  • See how many people are reading the bboard (W) and get amazed by their idle times.
  • Read the the intro (?) and the list of commands (H).
  • Check the man page (type man bboard at your shell) for a complete reference of settings at startup.

Command Reference

(?) What is the BBOARD?
(L)IST List bulletin summaries
(G)OTO View another BBOARD (“GOTO” lists boards)
(T)YPE Displays the selected bulletin
(N)EW SCAN SCAN the current BBOARD for NEW messages
(n)EW SCAN SCAN all BBOARDs for NEW messages
(F)ORWARD View the next thread within the current BBOARD
(B)ACKWARD View the previous thread within the current BBOARD
(P)OST POST a new bulletin (bulletins live 30 days)
(D)EPOST DEPOST a bulletin you have posted
(R)EPLY Respond to a bulletin
(M)KBOARD Create a new BBOARD
(K)ILL Toggle a BBOARD to and from your KILL list
(A)RCHIVE Enter/Exit the BBOARD archives
(C)OLORS Enable/disable colors
(W)HO Who is reading the bboard
(I)GNORE Manage your user ignore list

Customizing bboard(1)

* For bboard options, check the bboard man page via the man bboard command at the shell prompt.*

How to Use new SCAN and KILL Commands

  • “(N)ew SCAN”–that is, the N command– scans the current BBOARD for NEW messages
  • “(n)ew SCAN”–that is, the n command–scans all boards that are not on your kill list for new messages.

The purpose of the kill list is to “unsubscribe” from boards you don't want to scan with the n command. Go to the board you want to ignore and type K to add it to your kill list. The next time you use “(n)ew SCAN”, that board, along with any other ones already on your kill list, will not be scanned for new messages.

To remove a previously killed board from the list and start scanning it for new posts again, (G)OTO the killed board and press K again to remove it from your kill list.

Change default editor

Change to a better pico

If you want to use an editor with in-program help and simple interface like the default pico, but slightly more powerful than the default bboard editor, you may wish to instead set your editor to nano, which is the default editor integrated into the Alpine mail program. It's the same as pico, but has additional commands, like regex searching.

To do this, instead of setting up your .bboardrc as above, set it as follows (you can do this with nano ~/.bboardrc!):

  # set editor to nano:

Changing the default editor to vi

Many SDF users find the lack of word-wrap and spell-checking when posting in bboard(1) frustrating. If a Vi editor is acceptable, some rudimentary auto-wrapping and spell-checking can be accomplished in bboard(1) with the following configuration files in your HOME (~$USER/) directory:

  " " set auto-wrap width:
  set textwidth=78
  " " set RH margin guide:
  set guidewidth=79
  " " set elvis spellcheck stuff:
  set spell
  set spelldict=/usr/share/dict/words
  set spellautoload
  # set editor to vi (will use elvis(1) editor):
  #uncomment below if you are having problems with colors

Once these files are in place your bboard(1) post editing environment will be elvis(1) based (a Vi editor clone; see man elvis) and should display a highlighted right-hand margin guide at 79 characters over, with text wrapping at 78 characters over. Note that these ~/.exrc settings may adversely affect other Vi-style editors like nvi(1) or vim(1). If you don't like the current color scheme alternatives are possible; type :color within bbvi to see current settings and appropriate syntax.

If you have problems with screen colors (black-on-black), you can also add COLOR=NIL to your .bboardrc file, or update .elvisrc to include:

        set bg=dark
        color normal white
Learning to use Vi-style Editors:

If you've never used a Vi-style editor you may wish to run the vilearn(1) command within your SDF shell session to get some practice. The Vi editor is *modal* - entering a Vi command such as 'i' puts the editor in 'input' mode; pressing the Esc key puts the editor it back in 'command' mode. Within Vi, typing ':viusage' should display a summary of most Vi commands.

A free WikiBooks resource: Learning the Vi Editor

If you decide to practice with elvis(1), the ':help' command should provide an info(1)-like documentation environment (use ':q' to close it). Keep in mind that this :help documentation is not available within bboard(1) as elvis(1) is run in a restricted command mode. More extensive elvis(1) documentation is on the main SDF hosts at /usr/pkg/share/doc/elvis/elvis.html .

Running Spell-check on a bboard(1) Post in vi

Words deemed misspelled by the elvis(1) editor should appear in a different color. To spell-check the entire post, first move to position 1,1 with '1G' (or use the arrow keys, or 'h,j,k,l' keys to navigate) then use 'gs' to move to the first misspelled word. If spelling suggestions are available they'll appear numbered at the bottom of editing screen; to select, use '#gs', where “#” is suggested word number. If no spelling suggestions are available, look the word up elsewhere, use 'cw'+[corrected word]+ESC to correct, then 'gs' to move to next misspelled word.

When finished editing your bboard(1) post use 'ZZ' to quit. If you wish to cancel your post use ':q!' to quit without saving.

If you find the spellchecker is frequently flagging words inappropriately you can create a personal word list, for example ~/.mywords, then add the following to your ~/.exrc file:

" " personal word list:
wordfile .mywords

The words in your personal word file do not need to be sorted however all lowercase words are treated as case-insensitive; use uppercase if the distinction matters. The wordfile words will be treated as “correct” by the spellchecker.

Make bboard More Accessible

You may have luck with the settings below in your .bboardrc:


bboard tutorial - traditional link (using RCS)
This wiki page was reviewed with the Plan 9 abaco, and mothra, browsers.

The admin pseudonym‚ for members′ home‚ is SDF Membership.
bboard.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/25 22:18 by hc9