BBS: The Documentary

BBS: The Documentary
DVD cover for BBS: The Documentary
Directed by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Produced by Nicole Sparks
Written by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Edited by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Release dates
May 2005
Language English

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 Sadofsky of

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

Although the documentary was released under the Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike 2.0 License [1] and later under 3.0,[2] meaning that anyone can legally download it for free, Jason Scott Sadofsky has made it known that the downloadable version is only a taste of the full experience and recommends that individuals purchase the documentary DVDs.


  • Episodes 1
    • Disc 1 1.1
    • Disc 2 1.2
    • Disc 3 1.3
  • References 2
  • External links 3


Disc 1

  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 [44:44]

Disc 2

  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

  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. ^ "New BBS documentary released under Creative Commons". 2005-06-03. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  2. ^ "BBS: The Documentary". 2005. Retrieved 2015-09-05. 

External links

  • BBS: The Documentary official website
  • BBS: The Documentary at the Internet Movie Database
  • Some especially interesting scenes from the documentary (from YouTube)
  • BBS: The Documentary at the Internet Archive
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