Mystic BBS Linux / OSX Manual


This document contains basic information for getting started with Mystic BBS for Linux, OS/X, and other Unix based systems. There are basically two things you will want to have for doing this:

  1. A terminal capable of displaying high ASCII characters
  2. Above average knowledge of your OS or patience to learn.

I recommend first getting your terminal setup before performing the installation.

In addition it will contain notes and instructions for things like archivers, protocols, and DOS doors with DOSEMU.


Basically you want to set a terminal profile for 80x25 with a good font.

In Linux, terminal setup is usually pretty straight forward. Most Linux distributions ship with a decent XTERM as well as have some fonts that can display high ASCII characters. The idea is to find a monospaced font that can handle codepage 437 glyphs. Recent distributions of Ubuntu, for example, use a wonderful font right out of the box.

If you are not sure or cannot find an appropriate font, I was able to find "ASCII.ttf" pretty easily online using Google which worked okay for me (in my OS/X setup).

Some distributions might have Windows that default to a white background or some odd character sets and will require a little more playing around to get going.

If you are having issues, use the next section on OS/X terminals for guidance on things you might want to change to get it looking just right!


Apple seems to want to move away from supporting a normal terminal found in most Linux distributions. Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended that you download a free application called "iTerm2" which will give you a more standard terminal to use.

After you have downloaded iTerm2, install your ASCII.ttf font which for some reason shows up under the name "New" for me. Once again, you are looking for a monospaced font that can support CP 437 glyphs.

Here are some basic instructions for setting up a newly compatible

  1. Open an iTerm2 window, right click on it, and select "Edit session..."
  2. On "keys" tab, change the two options at the bottom to "+ESC".
  3. On "terminal" tab, change the character type to "Western ISO" and term type to "xterm".
  4. On "text" tab, set your ASCII.ttf font (New). I use it at 24 point Anti-Aliased on my box, and I even slightly reduced the horizontal and verticle spacing once I had a big ANSI loaded up to make it a show ANSI a little cleaner.
  5. Finally, go to the "General" tab and click "Copy preferences to Profile" with Default selected. This will save it so that you never have to mess with the settings again.


Type ./install in your terminal window to install Mystic BBS.

If for some reason you get an error after kicking off the installation, then you probably do not have access rights to create the directory where you wanted to install Mystic BBS.

You can either install it in a place where you have access, or optionally you can exit the install, create the directory as root, then chown it to your current user. Something like this:

sudo mkdir /mystic
sudo chown myusername:myusergroup /mystic ./install

NOTE: If for some reason you are trying to install Mystic under your user directory, do not use the "~" shortcut as it does not always translate.

Meaning for example in OSX, type in /Users/MyUserName instead of ~/ for the installation paths.

If you chose to ignore this, you may end up with a directory named ~ in a location where you didn't expect. And even worse, if you try to delete it from the command prompt, you may end up wiping out your real user home directories.


Once installed, you should note three major command lines that you can execute from your installation directory:

Configuration: ./mystic -cfg
Local login: ./mystic
Startup servers: ./mis

./mis -d <- run in daemon mode *****

I recommend to type ./mystic just to create your SysOp user account, and then after logging out upgrading your access using the user editor in ./mystic -cfg.


Mystic (MIS actually) has built in Telnet (with IO redirection for things like DOSEMU), SMTP, POP3, FTP, and NNTP servers.

When running in Linux/OSX keep in mind that by default the operating system will not let a service bind to a port less than 1025 unless it is a ROOT user (in Linux) and NOT AT ALL in OS/X.

In Linux, MIS has the ability to switch from root back to whatever the user and group is that owns the executable AFTER it binds to the ports it needs for the server. So in Linux you can simply do a:

sudo ./mis

Or if you want to run it as a DAEMON you can do:

sudo ./mis -d

As mentioned, it will NOT run as root. It will only use root until it binds to your ports, and then it will switch to the user who owns the executable.


Instead you have to load the Mystic Configuration and set your server ports greater than 1024. We will do TELNET for example here. Set your telnet server port to "2323" and exit the Mystic configuration.

You can then create a rule to map connections that come in on port 23 to the 2323 port that MIS is listening on, using the following command:

sudo ipfw add 100 fwd,2323 tcp from any to any 23 in

Once that is done you can start MIS using ./mis or ./mis -d

NOTE that some people will want to use inetd or something similar to run their telnet, which Mystic is perfectly capable of. To do this, turn off the TELNET server in your configuration and refer to the section on external telnet.


If you run MIS as a DAEMON, you might be very interested in the NodeSpy program. This program will allow you to snoop, kick, and chat with users who are connected to your BBS. It will also provide you with BBS usage statistics and graphs. Think of this as your "Waiting for call" screen

In addition, NodeSpy also has a terminal mode that offers a full blown ANSI BBS telnet client with dialing directory, scrollback, and Zmodem with ZEDZAP file transfers!

It is important to note that NodeSpy does not currently monitor BBS users while they are using doors.



Setting up a DOS door with Mystic in Linux is now just about as easy as it is to setup in DOS. You won't need to create a ton of configuration files and custom startup nonsense unless you have an odd door that behaves strangely.

Unfortunately, DOSEMU has not been ported to OS/X yet, but in Linux you can use this turtorial on how to setup a DOS door with Mystic.


Most distributions have a package for DOSEMU that will automatically install, so we will not cover this in detail here. In my distribution of Mint Linux, I can simply type this to install DOSEMU:

sudo apt-get install dosemu

This will install DOSEMU 1.40.0 so that is what we are using in this tutorial.


In this tutorial, we will be installing all doors in /mystic/doors/, so the first thing to do is to create the /mystic/doors directory. Next you will want to download a FOSSIL driver, since most DOS doors require one.

I personally use BNU which is easily found via Google. Copy BNU.COM into your /mystic/doors/ directory.

That's it for Mystic.


Now that DOSEMU is installed type "dosemu" from a command line to start a DOS session. Once you are there, switch to DRIVE C: and type "edit autoexec.bat".

Remove any lines you see that have lredir in them, and then add a new lredir command to mount your Mystic directory as the D: drive in DOSEMU.

Here is what my C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT looks like:

     @echo off
     prompt $p$g
     lredir d: linux\fs\mystic
     unix -e    

The contents of this batch file will mount the d: drive to point to /mystic, then switch to the D: drive and load your BNU FOSSIL driver each time DOSEMU starts up.

Once you have saved your AUTOEXEC.BAT, type exitemu to exit DOSEMU.


In this tutorial we are going to use a door called Stack!Em which is a Tetris-like game. The filename is called STACK!32.ZIP.

  1. Extract the door ZIP file into /mystic/doors/stackem
  2. Type DOSEMU on the command prompt and then switch to the stackem directory (cd \doors\stackem)
  3. Run ST!SETUP.EXE to configure the door game, make sure to set the communication type to FOSSIL.
  4. While still in DOS, move to the D:\doors directory and type "edit stackem.bat". This will create a DOS batch file which is used to execute the door. My stackem.bat has two lines that look like this:
       stackem stackem.cfg \temp%1\doors.sys

5. Exit DOSEMU and switch to your /mystic/ directory. Start Mystic's

     configuration and create a new menu item in a menu of the type DG
     which creates DOOR.SYS that Stack'Em requires.  The command should
     look something like this:
     Command: DG
     Optional Data:
     dosemu -I"serial { com 1 virtual }" "/mystic/doors/stackem.bat" %3 /DOS
     The %3 passes the node number, and the /DOS tells Mystic to create the
     door files in DOS text file format.  Note that /DOS must be at the end
     of the command line.
     Save your menu you are done!

There you have it. Setting up a DOS door these days takes the same amount of steps as it does/did in DOS itself, after the intial configuration of course.


Mystic ships with Internal Zmodem and Zmodem/8K (ZEDZAP) protocols. There are not many protocol drivers for Linux and almost nothing for OS/X, but Zmodem should be fine for most people.

Archives are pre-configured but may need some tweaking to work. For example in OS/X, you probably will need to download and install the "rar" command line tool, and then get it into your /bin directory so its accessible from anywhere on your system.

Many Linux distributions already have rar, zip, etc, so they often times will just magically work right out of the box.

If you are having issues with uploads of files or QWK, or FILE_ID.DIZ importing, etc, then make sure you have the archive that is configured installed on your system. Also, make sure any file areas that you might be uploading to have their configured directory on disk created.

Mystic will allow you to create them from within it's editor, but be aware that the default installation does not always create paths for the default file bases.


Mystic can be used with external TELNET servers, which has been the choice of many Unix-based SysOps in the past, as MIS did not always support TELNET directly in Unix.

The only real requirement is that you pass the -HOST and -IP command line options from whatever TELNET daemon you are using, so that Mystic has a record of the IP and hostname of the connection.

It is recommended that you use MIS unless you are experiencing problems, otherwise, it is possible to use telnetd/inetx or even a special version of ddTelnet developed specifically for Mystic BBS.

If you wish to support dialup users, you would use this same method but with some type of mgetty-type daemon.


Most 64-bit Linux distributions will need support for i386 added in order to execute Mystic, assuming you are not using native 64-bit Mystic binaries.

Symptoms of this might be the shell saying the file does not exist when you attempt to execute it, when the file clearly does exist. What is really happening is the operating system does not have the 32-bit libraries needed to run the binary.

This can vary from distribution to distribution and you may need to refer to the distributions forums for more information on how to add 32-bit support, or your OS may already include the proper libraries.

Using the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 11.04, I had to follow these steps:

     sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
     sudo apt-get update
     sudo apt-get install libc6:i386