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Frequently asked questions regarding Synchronet on UNIX and Unix-like operating systems (e.g. Linux).
What flavors of Unix (and Unix-like operating systems) are supported?
Currently there are four levels of support for Unix-like OSs.
- Operating systems and platforms which are actively used by the developers. These are always expected to work correctly. Currently, only Linux (x86 and x64) and FreeBSD on x86 are in this category.
- Platforms which have been ran by developers and an attempt to maintain support is exerted. These platforms are OS X, NetBSD, and OpenBSD on x86. In general a good bug report will result in a quick fix to these systems.
- Next there is non-x86 hardware with one of the above OSs. We try to ensure that Synchronet works on these platforms, but a bug report may be ignored for months before it is resolved due to lack of access to the platform. When reporting a bug, it would be good if the reporter is willing to grant remote shell access to their system and have a development toolchain installed.
- Lastly there are systems which will never be supported. These generally include systems with 16-bit address buses, lack of an implementation of the pthread API (such as Xenix systems), or ones which are generally painful to work on (such as GNU/Hurd).
What distributions of Linux are supported?
Should work with any GNU/Linux-x86 or x64 distribution (e.g. RedHat, Debian, Slackware, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc.).
64-bit Linux (x64, x86_64, x86-64) distributions are supported.
The installer (e.g. Linux-install from sbbsunix.tgz) segfaults, crashes, or fails to get the file size of sbbs_src.tgz.
This installer has known issues and is currently unsupported. Do not use it. This installer (known to us as “sbbsinst”) may be revamped and re-released in the near future.
In the mean-time, follow the steps given in this document to download, build, install, and run Synchronet for Unix.
Are non-x86/x64 (Alpha, SPARC, 68k, PowerPC, etc) processors supported?
Not currently. Synchronet assumes a little-endian processor. It *may* work on other little-endian processors (e.g. Alpha), but hasn't been tested.
Where do I get Synchronet for Unix?
See the step-by-step instructions here.
Will there be binary releases?
Maybe. Linux is a particularly difficult “platform” to deliver consistently compatible binaries for and unfortunately, it is the most popular Unix-like operating system we currently support.
Mix with Windows
Can I mix Synchronet for Unix and Synchronet for Win32 or DOS or OS/2 nodes on the same BBS?
Yes. As long as all the nodes can access the same live data files (via LAN) you can have as many instances of Synchronet on as many different platforms as you wish.
Does Synchronet for Unix support external DOS programs/doors?
Currently, only the FreeBSD build has doscmd support “built-in” (and this “support” requires emulators/doscmd to be installed):
For FreeBSD, the path that is entered in the Start-up Directory is mapped as C:\ the current node directory is mapped as D:\ and the Synchronet root directory is mapped as E:\. When a DOS door is executed, a .doscmdrc is created in the node directory. Copying this file and using it to run doscmd in X11 mode while running the setup programs is the simplest way to configure the doors.
Other platforms can use DOSEMU or whatever is available for running DOS programs.
For running external DOS programs on Linux using DOSEMU, see dosemu for details.
What external programs/doors does Synchronet for Unix support?
External programs can either use standard I/O (e.g. bash, pico, Lord/X, PimpWars) or socket I/O (e.g. Synchronet XSDK doors).
Does Synchronet for Unix require X-Windows?
No, Synchronet for Unix is currently a console-based application. However, it does have an X-based character mode console now. The X11 headers (Part of the X11-devel package or something similar) are required for this to work.
Are there any plans to make an X-Windows front-end for Synchronet?
Can I use a different compiler (than GCC) to build Synchronet for *nix?
Yes, currently Synchronet has successfully been built with GCC, ICC (The Intel C Compiler), and Clang/LLVM. To specify an alternate compiler, add
CC=icc CXX=icpc to the gmake command lines where icc is the C compiler name
and icpc is the C++ compiler name. If you get errors during the build (not
warnings) please submit a bug report. If you are using a commercial compiler
other than ICC, we will probably be unable to help you without a copy of the
I'm using SELinux and nothing works.
Yes, you'll need to use chcon on each of the Synchronet shared objects (
chcon -t texrel_shlib_t /sbbs/exec/*.so
How much disk space do I need?
A fresh install (as of Feb-2009) requires about 70MBytes. Much of the space consumed is in the form of intermediate build files which may be removed after the build is complete if space is a concern.
What does the error
Unknown terminal: pc3 displayed by some native external programs (e.g.
The error indicates that the value of your
TERM environment variable (in the example case,
pc3) is not a valid terminal type/capabilities name for your system.
The default value of the
ExternalTermANSI key in your
sbbs.ini file is
pc3, and Synchronet uses the value of this key to set the
TERM environment variable for child processes (external programs). If your *nix installation has a terminal type/capability with this name, then this terminal type might work for you (and your users) but there is a better option: to use the Synchronet
ansi-bbs terminal capabilities set (created by Deuce). The configuration/installation instructions for the Synchronet
ansi-bbs terminal capabilities set are covered in termcap.