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BBS Client Software

This page contains a list of known Telnet / SSH clients for connecting to a BBS and is a work in progress.

If you spot something that should be added, edited etc. please get in touch: avon@bbs.nz.


MuffinTerm is a terminal program for connecting to bulletin board systems (BBSes) over the Internet via telnet.

It’s designed to visually emulate traditional PC text-mode hardware of the dial-up BBS era: The original MDA and CGA from 1981; EGA from 1984; and the popular VGA introduced in 1987. Starting with version 1.1, it also emulates the VIC-II video generator from 1982, as used by one of the most popular home computers of the 8-bit era.

It interprets the standard terminal sequences for controlling text attributes such as color and screen layout, and supports the most popular file transfer protocols (X/Y/ZMODEM) traditionally used on BBSes.

On iPad or iPhone, an external keyboard is recommended, but not required. You’ll also need an active Internet connection. If you have an iCloud account, you can also use it to sync BBS details between your devices, but that’s optional.

CompatiblemacOS 11 or later or iOS/iPadOS 14 or later
Transf.Prot.ZModem, XModem, YModem
Open SourceNo


NetRunner is a telnet client originally developed in the late 90s in sync with the release of Windows XP. It was intended to be a console telnet client which stayed true to ANSI-BBS emulation and the old school feel of DOS terminals. Some features include telnet, ssh, rlogin, batch upload/download Zmodem and Zmodem 8K, multiple phone book, mTelnet and SyncTerm phone book importers, original MSDOS and Amiga fonts with font switching, full screen mode, basic scripting language, mouse support, and font UPSCALING that (when enabled) provides the highest quality BBS terminal, even at 2K full screen resolutions! 256 color XTERM color support, 80×25, 132×376 terminal sizes, etc

CompatibleWindows, Linux
Transf.Prot.ZModem, XModem, YModem
Open SourceNo


PuTTY is a free implementation of SSH and Telnet for Windows and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham.

Compatible Windows, Linux
Transf.Prot. No
Open Source Yes


SyncTERM is a BBS terminal program which supports:

  • Windows, Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, OS X, and FreeBSD
  • X/Y/ZModem up/downloads
  • Runs in full-screen mode on ALL platforms (ALT-Enter switches modes)
  • Unix versions will run using SDL, X11, or using curses
  • Full ANSI-BBS support
  • Full CGTerm Commodore 64 PETSCII support
  • Full Atari 8-bit ATASCII support
  • DoorWay support
  • Support for IBM low and high ASCII including the face graphics (☺ and ☻) and card symbols (♥, ♦, ♣, and ♠) which so many other terms have problems with (may not work in curses mode… depends on the terminal being used).
  • Phone books
  • Multiple screen modes (80×25, 80×28, 80×43, 80×50, 80×60, 132×25, 132×28, 132×30, 132×34, 132×43, 132×50, 132×60)
  • ANSI Music (through the sound card if installed)
  • Telnet, RLogin, SSH, RAW, modem, shell (*nix only) and direct serial connections
  • Auto-login with Synchronet RLogin
  • Large Scrollback
  • Mouse-driven menus
  • Copy/Paste
  • Supports character pacing for ANSI animation as well as the VT500 ESC[*r sequence to allow dynamic speed changes
  • Comes with 43 standard fonts and allows the BBS to change the current font *and* upload custom fonts. This tool will allow you to create fonts for use with SyncTERM.
  • Supports Operation Overkill ][ Terminal emulation
Homepage SyncTERM
Compatible Windows, Linux, Mac
Transf.Prot. X/Y/ZModem
Open Source Yes


mTelnet is a telnet client for OS/2 and Windows that has Z-Modem, Backscroll and a Phonebook. It's great for telneting to bbses.

Open SourceNo


Welcome! Qodem is an open-source re-implementation of the DOS-era Qmodem serial communications package, updated for modern systems. Qodem goes beyond similar DOS-era emulators in many ways:

  • In addition to serial/modem connections, Qodem can also connect to remote systems over telnet, rlogin, ssh, raw sockets, or through an arbitrary command line.
  • Qodem is curses-based, and as such can be run in command-line environments such as the raw Linux console, through an ssh session, or inside a graphical X11-based terminal emulator. Qodem can even be run inside itself.
  • Qodem understands its supported emulations much better than many other programs. It has a “vttest score” of 104; under a true xterm it even displays double-width/double-height characters correctly. It can play ANSI Music, supports ANSI fallback for Avatar, translates both PC VGA and DEC multinational characters to Unicode, and can handle the UTF-8 flavors of Linux and xterm emulations.
Homepage Qodem
CompatibleWindows, Linux, Mac
Transf.Prot.Xmodem, Ymodem, Zmodem, and Kermit
Open SourceYes

Unix Telnet Program

Every Linux/Unix system has a native Telnet client program, which can be used to access to BBSes. Compatibility with ANSI graphics depends on your system and settings. No transfer protocols can be used.

Homepage None
CompatibleUnix, Linux
Transf.Prot. None
Open Source Yes

Windows Telnet Client

Every Windows system has a native Telnet client program, which can be used to access to BBSes. Compatibility with ANSI graphics is not great, but usable. No transfer protocols can be used.

Open SourceNo


ConnectBot is a secure shell client for the Android platform. Its ultimate goal is to create a secure connection through which you can use a shell on a remote machine and transfer files back and forth to your phone.

Homepage ConnectBot
Compatible Android
Transf.Prot. None
Open Source No


Mystic BBS, comes with an utility called NodeSpy. Inside NodeSpy is built a telnet client, that can be used to access BBSes.

HomepageMystic BBS
CompatibleWindows, Linux, Mac, RPi
Transf.Prot. X/Y/ZModem
Open Source No
bbs/clients.txt · Last modified: 05/02/2023 20:40 by avon