Let's start with the real facts of the story, and then after a horizontal line, we'll go into my little rant.

Current website of the software: http://www.telegard.net

Telegard is another BBS that is derived from the source code of WWIV, a very kind and generous product which gave obsolete source code out as a service to the scene. Always amazed how cool that was.

Original author was Carl Mueller, with help from David Boisvenu. This was mid 80s that this happened. Eventually, Carl dropped out of the BBS scene entirely. Carl had left a bad taste in many peoples' mouths about Telegard because of some his attitudes about "the competition" (TAG BBS) as well as life in general.

Later, the software is picked up by the very talented and young Eric Oman who ran The Pointe BBS (in Grosse Pointe, go figure). He took an early leak of the original Telegard source code, and without permission, modified it to become the Telegard which became popular in the late eighties and earliest of nineties. He started with the help of a few "old timers" who rarely showed their faces anymore. The only one that stuck around was Garfield, whose real name I never did find out. Later, he added to the team Todd Bolitho, Martin Pollard, and myself: Daniel Chapman. Eventually, I dropped from the team when Martin Pollard wanted to clean up the image of the software. (I was a young'un and ran a BBS that showed it.) Eventually, I met Carl Mueller, told him about the Telegard code existing on, and he was cool with it.

Later, in the early and mid nineties, Tim Strike discovered a piece of source code which got leaked out (How the Telegard source got leaked to the world). Without permission, he started modifying the source code. Reading his web site and such, it looks like he made many attempts to contact Eric. I eventually got ahold of Eric again, dropped him a note, and he was cool about it. (pattern, no?)

Since that day, I believe Tim Strike has passed the code down again. The source code won't die. It's spawned several clones, but the most popular is Renegade.


Now for my rant:

Speaking as one who FREAKING KNOWS (having been there during the inception with Carl Mueller, Dave Boisvenu, and eventually Eric Oman) Telegard was NEVER EVER a rip off of TAG BBS software. MY GOD! I can't believe that rumor is still going around. It was a complete source code rip off of WWIV (back when it was written in PASCAL)! Which was the SAME as "humble beginnings" as TAG. Everyone ripped off the WWIV source code back then! They released their old source "free for the public" after new versions. We all completely respected them for that. Had Telegard been a rip off of TAG, we would have inherited some of its bugs, and we would have avoided some of the bugs that we had. See, TAG branched from WWIV much earlier than Telegard. TAG branched back when WWIV was written in Turbo Pascal 3.0, we branched and immediately used Turbo Pascal 4.0 I think. We eventually went to 5.0 and followed with every new update of TP. TAG remained at TP 3.0 for the longest time, still using .CHN files instead of overlays, and caused all sorts of old crustiness. I remember, I was THERE. Heck, I hung out with "The Tag Team" back in the day, got made fun of as "The Telegard Spy!" (I preferred to think of myself as "the diplomat" who attempted to quiet the silent war between the two Detroit area BBS software development teams.)

We were like any other free software product out there in the market. We stole good features from our competitors by seeing how those features worked, we avoided crappy implementations that we saw didn't work, and we tried to do it in our spare time for absolutely no pay. And I attempted to occasionally "give back" to the TAG Team... (And tried not to be insulted when I was ignored.) We were a bunch of teenagers, back then. The Tag Team wasn't. They were in their twenties or thirties. They had jobs, had kids, had respect by virtue of age. We had to earn our respect, and sometimes were refused it by our elders.

Calling our software a "rip off" is completely insulting and painful to me to this day. And I had far less invested in that source code than many people. By the same token, Renegade BBS could be called a rip off of Telegard, but Cott Lang has put a tremendous amount of effort into fixing things. Carl Mueller and Eric Oman (the first and second primary developers of the software) were both QUITE young when they developed Telegard, not having formal computer science training. You will have to excuse some of the faux pas they made in the source. Cott Lang didn't, though. And I sometimes got irritated reading his "this bug fixed" reports.

Oh, and the only feature that I know of mine that existed in Telegard that made its way into Renegade and current Telegard implementations: If you hit Alt-F9 it would beep on the user's terminal until the user hit a key. Heh. A lot of my other features were stripped out or improved to the point where they were Eric's features. I was amazed to learn that this 12 year old kid was writing better software than I. (I was still cutting my Pascal teeth back then, but I was 15 and he was 12... Age don't mean a thing to code.)

Want to know how Telegard really started?

Easy enough, I (Dave Boisvenu) got to know Carl Mueller online during the old BBS days. Don't really recall how we starting talking, he probably broke into Sysop chat at some point when I was on his BBS. I can't even remember what BBS he or I was running at the time, probably RBBS or Opus or something. I may not even had my BBS running yet. I was very new at the BBS thing. Carl guided me though some of the early days. We were both young, probably 14 or 15 tops.

Eventually we decided to meet in person. We hung out on and off talking about computers, games and BBSing. I vaguely recall us discussing how none of the software out there did what we wanted it too. We talked a little about writing our own, which was kind of humorous since we had never really written anything serious before.

We also had a third friend, Bill something or another. I can not remember his handle or last name for the life of me. Apparently Bill and Carl were talking and Bill coined the name Telegard if I remember correctly.

One day shortly after these discussions with Carl I dial into his BBS and the first three lines where something like this:
Telegard Bulleting Board System, Version 1.00 Alpha
By Carl Mueller, Dave Boisvenu & Bill (something)
(C)opyright , All Rights Reserved

That first version was a very minimally modified WWIV. I actually had nothing to do with the first version code wise. Later versions I did minimal stuff. Carl was the true presence behind the early versions. The guy was a genius and maybe a tad unbalanced. He had a raging temper and a love for fabricating chat logs.

I ended up really ticking Carl off, and I don't blame him. That explosive encounter was pretty much the end of contact between us. I saw him a couple once or twice a years after encounter. Many years after Telegard we e-mailed a couple times. As of now I'm not sure where he is or what he is up to.

On a side note, anyone watch the BBS Documentary yet? http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/ . I guess there is an interview with Wayne Bell, the creator of WWIV. I bet that would be interesting.

Another funny thing, I actually worked with Dan Chapman for awhile. Lost touch there too. I'm lousy at keeping in touch.

I'll write up my vague recollections of the TAG war soon.

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