BBS: The Documentary

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BBS: The Documentary
BBS Documentary.jpg
BBS: The Documentary DVD cover
Format Video (DVD)
Genre Documentary
Origin USA
Language English
Release Date 21 May 2005
Running Time 296 min
Created by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Directed by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Produced by Nicole Sparks
Written by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Screenplay by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Distributed by Bovine Ignition Systems
Narrated by NA
Starring Kerri Adams, Christopher Allen, Jay Andrews, ...
Music by Paul Slocum (Treewave) & Russell Purdy (Sleepy Rabbit)
Cinematography by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Edited by Jason Scott Sadofsky
Production Company Bovine Ignition Systems
Location(s) Various
Original Channel NA
Additional Information
Based on NA
Topics Technology, Computers, Hacking
Follows NA
Precedes NA
Associated Video Get Lamp DEFCON: The Documentary

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, 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.


Disc 1

  • Baud: the beginnings of the first BBSes, featuring Ward Christensen and Randy Suess [39:12]
  • SysOps and Users: experiences from those who used and operated BBSes [44:44]

Disc 2

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

Disc 3

  • HPAC (Hacking Phreaking Anarchy Cracking): hear from the users of "underground" BBSes [38:22]
  • No Carrier: the end of the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet [21:32]
  • 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.


Film User Format Link Notes
BBS: The Documentary (2005) NA DivX
BBS: The Documentary (2005) NA DVD ISO
BBS: The Documentary (2005) Video Collection MPEG2 Various Over 250 hours of raw interviews, other materials

External Links