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Hermes BBS install

cofford

Active member
Hello all,

I have a newly restored iifx up and running, and I'd like to use it to run a Hermes BBS so a few of my old friends can relive our 2400 baud glory days (though with telnet now).  I've downloaded Hermes II 3.5.9 and 3.5.10b3 from hermesbbs.com, and both of them hang during install at the "system prefs" dialog box.  I vaguely remember this happening back in the day as well, but I can't remember the fix.  Has anyone else solved this problem?  Tried in both 7.6.1 and 7.0.1.  Any ideas appreciated.

Thanks,

Casey

 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
I'd love to see a Mac BBS up and running!  I played around with Hermes a while back and couldn't get it to run on my LC III with 7.5.5, but got it working with System 8 or 9 on one of my later Macs.  As I recall it wasn't very stable though...

 

cofford

Active member
Interesting.  Runs great on my Quadra.  You can telnet to 73.53.77.70 to try it out.  Not much there yet.

 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
I've been messing around with Hermes II a little bit myself.  How did the ANSI emulation look?  It looks fine on my BBS screen, but it's definitely off when I connect to it with a terminal program.  Anyone know what's up?

IMG_4579.jpg

IMG_4581.jpg

 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
Fast forward a few years later and I started playing around with Hermes II again! I tested out all the versions I could find - 1.0, 3.0, 3.11, 3.5.2, 3.5.9, and 3.5.11. I also dug up as many Hermes II door games as I could find. I'm posting here so it's at least documented somewhere. Here's my findings:

• v1.0 - 3.5.2 are stable with OS 7.5.5 on my IIci.
• v3.5.9 and greater are stable with OS 9 on my G4 and allow for TCP/IP connections.
• v3.5.2 and less only support modem connections for which a wimodem232 mostly works.
• v3.5.2 and greater have the new development environment and so only a few door games are compatible (see pic).
• v1.0 - 3.1.1 have the old development environment and I found at least 16 older door games that work with it (see pic).

Screen Shot 2023-02-19 at 8.05.26 PM.png Screen Shot 2023-02-19 at 8.09.38 PM.png

So who's ready to set up a BBS on their vintage Mac?! 😁 I'd do it but I'm already running two BBS's... You can download all the above versions of Hermes II from the CQ file server (cqbbs.ddns.net).
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
After fiddling around with this some more, I was able to get the latest beta (3.5.11) to run stably on my IIci with TCP connections. I installed 3.5.10 and used the existing System Prefs file (under Hermes Files -> Shared Files) from a previous 3.5.2 installation. Just don't copy over the extra folders (Externals, Temp, Runtime) from the 3.5.10 installation and it should launch fine. You only need all that Python stuff for the Leech 2000 door game, but the Leech v3.5 door game runs just fine from it. After that copy over 3.5.11 to your 3.5.2 directory, select the existing System Prefs file from 3.5.2 again, and you'll be running the latest version of Hermes II on your 68k Mac!

I was also able to get the earlier versions to work properly @ 19200 baud with the wimodem232 by adding *D1*C0 to the end of the init string and using the "DCD Pin 7/Chip" for Carrier Detect. No luck at any faster speeds yet...
 

icbrkr

Member
Okay, I'm curious what your modem INIT is and which WiModem you're using. I tried a v2.x from cbmstuff,com, and a highspeed cable from Ebay, but:

1. Hardware handshaking doesn't seem to work
2. If I try using something like XON/OFF, when I make a connection, it sends the BBS init string and then nothing.

I hooked it to BBS Server 1.4a also just to see what the signals looked like, and it's a bit of a mess of CTS/RTS being set high. I need to spend more time hunting down what the issue could be.
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
Okay, I'm curious what your modem INIT is and which WiModem you're using. I tried a v2.x from cbmstuff,com, and a highspeed cable from Ebay, but:

1. Hardware handshaking doesn't seem to work
2. If I try using something like XON/OFF, when I make a connection, it sends the BBS init string and then nothing.

I hooked it to BBS Server 1.4a also just to see what the signals looked like, and it's a bit of a mess of CTS/RTS being set high. I need to spend more time hunting down what the issue could be.
I'm using the same v2.x of cbmstuff's WiModem232. You need to make sure that your cable is wired correctly. A bunch of the cables on eBay aren't truly high-speed even though they say they are:

Screen Shot 2023-03-14 at 10.28.09 PM.png

This is what your node and init string should look like (with proper serial port selected):

Subject.png IMG_6048.jpeg

Also, often times when you try to connect to the BBS for the first time after launch it will just display the init string. Hang up and try again and then you should be able to connect. You can also avoid this by hitting Return at the call waiting screen after it initializes on the BBS side.
 

icbrkr

Member
What version of Hermes are you screenshotting? I'm trying 3.5.2, but I'm missing a few options you're showing.

For example, the DCD settings arent there and the formatting isn't the same.
 
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cloverskull

Active member
After fiddling around with this some more, I was able to get the latest beta (3.5.11) to run stably on my IIci with TCP connections. I installed 3.5.10 and used the existing System Prefs file (under Hermes Files -> Shared Files) from a previous 3.5.2 installation. Just don't copy over the extra folders (Externals, Temp, Runtime) from the 3.5.10 installation and it should launch fine. You only need all that Python stuff for the Leech 2000 door game, but the Leech v3.5 door game runs just fine from it. After that copy over 3.5.11 to your 3.5.2 directory, select the existing System Prefs file from 3.5.2 again, and you'll be running the latest version of Hermes II on your 68k Mac!

Hey Byte Knight, am I understanding correctly here that you were able to get the pre-3.5.2 doors to work with 3.5.11 using this method or is that incorrect?
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
Hey Byte Knight, am I understanding correctly here that you were able to get the pre-3.5.2 doors to work with 3.5.11 using this method or is that incorrect?
Nope - I could only find 6 door games that would work with v3.5 or greater, but there are at least 16 door games that work with versions prior to 3.5. What I was describing above was how to install a stable version of v3.5.11 Hermes II on a 68K Mac.

Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 7.36.21 AM.png Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 7.35.18 AM.png

In my search for door games, I also found mention of "Cries in the Dark" but haven't been able to locate it...
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
v3.1.1 with multiple wifi modems and v3.5.11 are up and running at:

v3.1.1 - crowsnestbbs.ddns.net:6400-6403
v3.5.11 - crowsnestbbs.ddns.net:6801

Check 'em out before they're gone!
 

cloverskull

Active member
Duuuuude I love the 3.1.1 so far. Any chance you'd be willing to make a dump of your setup that would work in sheepshaver or something for me to play with before you take it down completely? I love old BBS doorgames, particularly exlusive ones to specific BBS softwares.
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
Hey Byte Knight, do you know how to register 3.1.1? I see the rtf but not sure what to do with the string inside.
I contacted the programmer, David Alyn Miller, but unfortunately he doesn't have a serial number generator for v3.1.1any longer. I found several registration numbers in Cracks & Numbers but none of them worked. 😢
 

Byte Knight

Well-known member
Hey Byte Knight, do you know how to register 3.1.1? I see the rtf but not sure what to do with the string inside.
Thanks to the master-Mac-cracker Sidd Hartha, v3.1.1 has been cracked! From Sidd:
Well, I'm not proud of this crack.

I revisited Hermes after updating my tooling and was able to dig a lot deeper than before. Unfortunately, I still don't have a quick decompiler for 68k, so the functions had to be translated from 68k assembly to C by hand. I gave up since it's probably one of the most complex algorithms that I have ever come across. I can only assume that a large chunk of the 140 character serial numbers were brute forced to be authentic by the author. The math just doesn't make sense otherwise. Add in spaghetti code all over the place and... ugh.

For more detail, the first 8 bytes of the serial number are used as a key to decrypt the rest of the serial number. Then... the bytes of that newly decrypted serial are added together to form a checksum. That checksum is then XOR'd with a private (internal to the application) key to get the final checksum. Here's the absolute mind-melting part of it all -- that final checksum must be the exact same as the first 8-bytes of the serial number!! I've never seen anything like it. The math is circular. Unless there's something that I'm missing, at least some portions of valid serial numbers had to have been brute forced. I even wrote some test programs on a much smaller scale to brute force and there were many serial numbers without solutions. It just didn't make sense. Someone smarter than I could probably figure it out, but beyond that, there was even more shuffling of bytes taking place after the decryption. Madness.

Luckily, I found an old serial number for v3.0.2 and ran it through my test programs to brute force out the private key. I then replaced the private key in v3.1.1 with the one I brute forced. Voila! v3.1.1 can now be registered with a v3.0.4 serial number. The cracked application and serial number are included in the attached archive.

It's not as elegant as I want, but this 68k stuff takes ages. Clearly, the algorithm was written to frustrate. Having said all that, I'm happy you finally have a fully functional copy.
 

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  • Hermes II 3.1.1 [k].sit
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