BBS: The Documentary

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BBS: The Documentary
BBS Documentary.jpg
DVD cover for BBS: The Documentary
Directed byJason Scott
Written byJason Scott
Produced byNicole Sparks
Edited byJason Scott
Release date
May 2005

BBS: The Documentary (commonly referred to as BBS Documentary) is a 3-disc, 8-episode documentary about the subculture born from the creation of the bulletin board system (BBS) filmed by computer historian Jason Scott of[1]

Production work began in July 2001 and completed in December 2004. The finished product began shipping in May 2005.[2]

Although the documentary was released under the Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike 2.0 License[3] and later under 3.0,[4] meaning that anyone can legally download it for free, the author has made it known that the downloadable version is only a taste of the full experience and recommends that individuals purchase the documentary DVDs.


Disc 1[edit]

  1. Baud: the beginnings of the first BBSes, featuring Ward Christensen and Randy Suess [39:12]
  2. SysOps and Users: experiences from those who used and operated BBSes, including B.W. Behling from Ahoy! magazine [44:44]

Disc 2[edit]

  1. Make it Pay: the BBS industry of the 1980s and 90s featuring Philip L. Becker, founder of eSoft [46:48]
  2. FidoNet: details the largest volunteer-run computer network in history [43:56]
  3. Artscene: the history of the ANSI Art Scene which thrived in the BBS world [42:41]

Disc 3[edit]

  1. HPAC (Hacking Phreaking Anarchy Cracking): hear from the users of "underground" BBSes [38:22]
  2. No Carrier: the end of the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet [21:32]
  3. Compression: the story of the PKWARE/SEA legal battle of the late 1980s [20:46]

Disc 3 also serves as a DVD-ROM which contains thousands of photographs from the 200 interviews recorded during the 4-year production of the film. All of the episodes are subtitled in English and include director's commentary tracks. The Artscene episode is the only one to include subtitles translated into Russian. All discs include hidden easter eggs.


  1. ^ "The Grill: Jason Scott | Computerworld".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "New BBS documentary released under Creative Commons". 2005-06-03. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  4. ^ "BBS: The Documentary". 2005. Retrieved 2015-09-05.

External links[edit]