Synchronet v3.18b-Win32 (install) has been released (Sept-2020).

Synchronet v3.19a, now under development, requires libarchive-dev to build successfully.

You can donate to the Synchronet project using PayPal.

This is an old revision of the document!



Unix Sysops will particularly want to pay attention to the [UNIX] section of your initialization file (e.g. ctrl/sbbs.ini file.

If you do not want to run Synchronet (and all external programs/doors) as root, you will have to set the User and Group key values. Example:


Also, the file permissions/ownership should be such that the other user would have read and write access to them. The best way to accomplish this is a command like:

# chown -R sbbsuser:sbbsgroup /sbbs

If you want Synchronet to fork and run in the background as a daemon, logging via syslog rather than the local console, set Daemonize=True in this section. Example:


To configure syslog and the LogFacility, a good default to use is:


Then, in /etc/syslog.conf you will need to add the line:

local3.*                 /var/log/synchronet.log

Depending on how your vendor set up syslog.conf initially, you may also want to exclude local3.* from other log files (Noteably /var/log/messages). how to do this varies with your syslogd implementation, but for BSD based ones (Which BSD and many Linux distros use) you would add “;local3.none” to the end of the first field in the /var/log/messages line.

You will have to create this file manually initially by running:

# touch /var/log/synchronet.log

Then send a HUP to syslogd like so:

# killall -HUP syslogd

You will want to investigate how your system rotates logs and set it up to rotate synchronet.log also.

Further use of the LogFacility setting is beyond the scope of this document. Read your syslog.conf manpage for more information about this. In particular, do NOT use the 'S' setting unless you are familiar with advanced syslogd configuration. The S setting will use different facilities for each feature of Synchronet as appropriate. Specifically, S will use:

  LOG_FTP (If available)


Default: Synchronet



Default: /var/run/



Default: 077


Terminal Capabilities

As you may have noticed by now, most telnet clients designed for use with ANSI BBSes do not display full-screen Unix programs correctly. Included with Synchronet is a pair of terminal capability definition files that enable you to run native full-screen Unix programs and have the output displayed correctly in a standard ANSI-BBS terminal. These files are termcap and terminfo, located in your Synchronet install directory. Your system will use one or the other, and it won't hurt to install both. You will need to be logged in as root to install the files.

Installing the terminfo file

1) Get the Synchronet ANSI-BBS terminfo file from here.

2) Enter the command:

# tic terminfo

Installing the termcap file

1) Get the Synchronet ANSI-BBS termcap file from here.

2) Enter the command:

# cat termcap >> /etc/termcap

3) FreeBSD Only run the command:

# cap_mkdb -f /usr/share/misc/termcap /etc/termcap

Once the terminal capability files are installed, edit the ExternalTermANSI value in the [BBS] section of your sbbs.ini file to read:


Note: Once again, many Linux distros do not have a termcap. This is fine. You do NOT need to install the termcap-compat package. If termcap isn't installed, it means nothing uses it. Only if there is a termcap do you need to add the ansi-bbs termcap definition.

Running Synchronet Automatically During Boot-up

If you want Synchronet to start automatically whenever your system boots, you will need to set that up using the system rc scripts. A few example are:


1) Get the Synchronet service run script (init file) from here.

2) Copy the run script (sbbs) into your /etc/init.d directory (if you don't have this directory, then your Linux distribution isn't supported by this file).

3) Add the Synchronet system service:

# chkconfig --add sbbs

4) Start the Synchronet system service:

# /etc/init.d/sbbs start


1) Get the Synchronet service run script (init file) from here.

2) Copy the run script (sbbs) into your /etc/rc.d directory (If using FreeBSD 4.x, install the rc_subr port and copy the run script to /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ instead)

3) Set up the sbbs settings: In one of /etc/rc.conf, /etc/rc.conf.local, or /etc/rc.conf.d/sbbs, add the line:

 sbbs_enable=YES      # Required to run Synchronet

4) In one of the files from step three, add appropriate lines from the following (Defaults are shown here):

 sbbs_flags=""                        # Additional command-line flags
 sbbs_pidfile="/var/run/"     # Path of pid from your .ini
 sbbs_dir="/sbbs/"                    # Root sbbs path
                                      # The rest of the sbbs_*dir derive
                                      # from this be default
 sbbs_program="${sbbs_execdir}/sbbs"  # Synchronet binary
 sbbs_procname="${sbbs_program}"      # Process name as seen by ps(1)
 sbbs_shell="/bin/sh"                 # SHELL variable
 sbbs_user="root"                     # User to START sbbs as.  If this is
                                      # not root, you cannot bind low ports
 sbbs_group="wheel"                   # Group to start sbbs as

5) Start the Synchronet system service (FreeBSD 5.x+):

# /etc/rc.d/sbbs start

(FreeBSD 4.x and lower):

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ start

A note on SysOp paging

For most systems, the BBS must either have write access to the sound card via /dev/dsp, or run as root to page the SysOp. FreeBSD supports an alternative method which requires one of the following:

On FreeBSD 4.x

A custom kernel with the following option in the config pseudo-device speaker

On FreeBSD 5.x and higher

One of:

  1. A custom kernel with the following option in the config device speaker
  2. The speaker module loaded by either:
    1. Running kldload speaker
    2. The line speaker_load=“YES” in /boot/loader.conf file

/dev/speaker should be read/writeable by the user the BBS runs as.

See Also

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