All American BBS


Nickolai Smith


No BBS page for any platform would be complete without considerable mention of Nick Smith and his infamous All American BBS program. It was color, it had message bases, transfers, and decent security. No bells and whistles; a few bugs perhaps; but it was stable, and it was available. Rumor has it that Nick adapted the original All American from another freeware program called Mike Black BBS. As Nick is also known for adapting 6487 from 6485, this rumor has some credibility.

Either way, no BBS program was (or, at least seemed) more prolific than this one. Every SysOp, at one time or another, ran or considered running All American. Why exactly it was so darned available is hard to say. Certainly the rumors flew about Nick Smith scouring BBS numbers accross the country for illegal setups, which (depending on the rumor you heard) then resulted in you either being turned in, or a secret back door was used to crash your system. However, wherever you went, there it was.

Maybe it was just because it was so easy to configure. Or perhaps because it was color when others weren't. You can put up with alot when C/G was involved. And maybe it was just that when your first choice was crashing or corrupting disks, or you were a new SysOp wanting to get started-- there was All American. Come to think of it, Nick Smith must've made a bundle!

What it lacked in substance it made up for in flash?

Through the mid-80's All American was never top of the line. Entire version releases seemed to consist in only some color changes to the hard coded text. There was no remote SysOp controls until version 8.X. User files were kept in SEQ files for the first few releases, and if you had a big system, this meant horrendous waits for users trying to log on. The editor was annoying at worst, and typical at best-- but it recorded color/graphics characters, and even cursor movements; though you could count on the final product coming out differently than you typed it.

The SysOp menu is remeniscent of the 648x line.

I have the docs available for version 8.5.

Old All American

The screen at the top of the page is actually from a very old version I gained access to. Aside from being ASCII only, it didn't differ all that much from its posterity. Here are some pics from the menu and SysOp screen to compare to above:

As in all other versions of All American, an extensive sysop menu is only a keystroke away. A message was sent to the user saying that the "SysOp is online!" while you worked.

There weren't a lot of options to speak of here, but again, the prompt and structure sure hadn't changed much over the development time.

The docs for this version are also here.

All American 7.1

By this version, it seemed fairly clear how All American would "bloom". Take a look:

As you can see here, the SysOp menu is not all that different than 8.5's.

The user window, late to AA, is missing in this version

And, of course, here are the docs for version 7.1.

The Facts:

The stats below cover the latest version I ever saw for the C64, version 8.5. If you've seen later versions, please help me update these stats.

I had the opportunity at one point to interview Mr. Smith through email. Here was his enlightening response.

Hardware Information

Computer    :   Commodore 64 or 128 in 64 mode
Video       :   40 cols
Drives      :   (1-4) Commodore, Limited CMD (no subdirs, no parts)
Modems      :   1650, 1660, 1670, Hayes, other RS232 (300-1200)
Input       :   Keyboard
Output      :   Printer optionally
RAM use     :   N/A
Special     :


Pgm Struct  :   Single program
Menu Struct :   Single hotkey menu w/ hard coded submenus
Translation :   ASCII, PETSCII
Access      :   9 levels, decent configurability
Handle/ID   :   Handles allowed, users listed by ID
User info   :   Name, handle, password, last call, phone, credits, etc
User Logs   :   Times, names, transfers logged to disk or printer
Calls/Time  :   Configurable for each access level
Network     :   N/A
Customizing :   Not terribly
  Programs  :   Program is compiled BASIC, not changable
  Displays  :   Menu menu and text files only
  Commands  :   Not configurable
Areas       :   Mostly from main menu, some sub-areas
  E-mail    :   From main menu
  Messages  :   Separate menu
  Transfers :   Separate menu
  Network   :   N/A
  Programs  :   N/A
  Text      :   Some particular files from main menu
  User Cmds :   N/A
  SysOp     :   Locally only, limited functions remotely
  Voting    :   Q&A system from main menu
  News      :   From main menu
  Help      :   From main menu
Other       :

SysOp Utilities and Support

Offline     :   Configurator, file editor
Online      :   All options from local menu (drive, user, file editors)
Remote      :   Small subset of these remotely in v8.5
On-L Display:   User window
W.F.C. Utils:   Same as online
Chatting    :   From any input
User        :   Editor locally, validator remotely
Msg Bases   :   Offline config program only
Transfers   :   Offline config program only
Programs    :   N/A
Network     :   N/A
Drives      :   CBM-DOS commands remote & locally
Terminal    :   N/A


Structure   :   Single news file for each access level
Header      :   No set header
Weeding     :   By SysOp only
Display     :   At logon, or on command


Structure   :   Linear, unlinked messages
Bases       :   Named bases, listed by number
Limits      :   Enforced by SysOp only
Reading     :   By number or locally new
Headers     :   Name, date, subject
Format      :   Text and color/graphics
Writing     :   New posts, or new posts with reply subjects
Anonymous   :   Allowed
Network     :   N/A
Other       :

Message Editor

Structure   :   Line editor
Commands    :   Hitting return on blank line gives a menu
Editing     :   Search/replace
Formatting  :   No formatting supported
Graphics    :   Supported, but lack of format support


Bases       :   Open directory system
Storage     :   By unkeyed filenames in directory
Limits      :   Enforced by SysOp only
Credits     :   Ratio system
Protocols   :   Xmodem, Punter, ASCII
Headers     :   Filename, blocks
Selection   :   By filename
Listing     :   Directories only
Network     :   N/A
Other       :

Text Libraries

Structure   :   N/A
Storage     :   N/A
Network     :   N/A
Other       :


Structure   :   From main menu
Sending     :   By name
Receiving   :   At logon only
Network     :   N/A
Other       :

Program Libraries

Structure   :   N/A
Programs    :   N/A
Network     :   N/A
Other       :

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