CGTerm for OS X 10.9

BBS, Commodore 64, Mac Add comments

Ok, so I finally did it. Back in 2011 when OS X Lion debuted I went looking for a good way to get back into BBSing. I have missed the long hours spent in front of the keyboard trying to get a game mod working on my board. Funny thing is, those were fun times. But I didn’t see it that way when I was doing it. In fact as I recall I think I felt like I was trying to get a high score in the game of ‘Blood Pressure’ back then. Of course when you are 16 you don’t care about silly little things like cardiac arrest.

Anyway, I had just bought my first Mac after the family PC died. I was just learning about OS X and had installed Lion. Lion turned out to be a mess. But that’s a WHOLE other post. I had been trying to figure out why Lion kept crashing so when I downloaded CGTerm  and it wouldn’t work I was mad but I had bigger fish to fry. After I fixed what Apple broke, I went to Google to find the answer to my CGTerm problem. Doesn’t Google have all of the answers for everything? And with Apple being so popular I knew for sure someone had figured out the black magic needed to run run this or connect to a BBS from my Mac. But alas it was not to be.

As it turns out, the only version I was able to find that was compiled was for PowerPC. So I decided to figure out how to compile it for the Mac. But that turned out harder then making Lion work as it should. So I did what any good IT person does, I gave up. Well that’s not entirely true. I just turned my attention to getting Color64 to run in an emulator. Which I was mostly successful at.

Eventually I decided I didn’t have enough quests er I mean open projects. I needed at least one more. So I decided I would learn to program iOS. I couldn’t get websites to run the way a giant team with millions of dollars and years of experience to so I figured programming for the phone natively would be easier right? Well sort of….

I had just enough knowledge to cause some real damage so I decided to throw the source code into XCode to see what I got. After messing with the code a ton I was finally able to get something that could be placed in the Application folder and wouldn’t crash on launch. It doesn’t have a native installer because I don’t have the $99 a year per platform Apple needs to keep from going bankrupt. But if you download the zip file and follow the instructions at the beginning of the Read Me file you should be able to start dialing BBS’s.

I wasn’t able to test upload and download and I had to make some changes to the source so it wasn’t so confusing when you saved .SEQ files. And it appears that the person that programmed this originally has abandoned it as it was out of date in 2011 and the website still has some failed links. But I updated the default configuration file to include the address of real working BBS’s and tested them all. So if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I would be happy to help where I can so we can get more people using these BBS’s. One day I hope I can get a terminal program going for iOS.

Just in case it wasn’t clear from this posts title but this compile should run on any system 10.9 or greater. It would work on 10.7 but I couldn’t force it go below 10.9. And besides, who is running anything earlier the n 10.9 now anyway? Now if only I could get Nuke ‘Em running again……

UPDATE (2-9-2015): Zip file was removed. In it’s place is a disk image file with CGTerm v 1.8. Download the DMG file and open. Then move over the link to your Applications folder. Also be sure to move the SDL.Framework folder to link to your Library/Frameworks folder. See my post on fixing bugs in CGTerm for more information on changes made to v 1.8 and the source code for the changes.

UPDATE (3-7-2019): Moved the servers and broke the links. Sorry about that. Thanks to the Sysop over at for bringing this to my attention.


16 Responses to “CGTerm for OS X 10.9”

  1. ultramagnus_tcv Says:


    I would love to talk to you more fully about this and a few of your other projects. A friend and I are putting together a podcast about BBSs but I’d mostly like to ask you about your experiences with getting CGTerm to work. Can you email me? (I presume you can see my email.)

  2. bigmanfrank Says:

    any news on getting a file fix with transfering files working. I has been a great pain getting this work in VICE and we need a working version again.
    Please help

  3. jnichols Says:

    No, I am afraid my personal life was thrown in a little bit of an upheaval shortly after I posted that. But knowing that it matters to other might be just what I need. I should maybe post the project on Github and work more on fixing that part. Thank you for the comment about this.

  4. bigmanfrank Says:

    It matters! OSX support for RETROing is very small, almost nil.
    So for me, the phonebook bug is not a big issue, its the transferring that is causing alot of problems especailly when files are located on a BBS and not online, forcing you to be RETRO.

  5. bigmanfrank Says:

    I had a friend look at this. I asked him compile 1.7b2 and the transfer didnt. We both looked at the code and 1.7b2 and 1.8 and qoute:

    “The default name for xfer_tempdlname is “download.tmp”. It will attempt to create that file in whatever directory you launch the program from. So if you launch it from FInder, I don’t know where it will attempt to create it.

    Copy file to /usr/local/bin/ Try opening a command prompt and make sure it is in your home directory. Then run /usr/local/bin/cgterm Then try the file transfer. It *should* work because you working directory would be your home dir where you have write permission.”

    Safe to say, this works! So i hope this helps you in fixing the next release.

  6. bigmanfrank Says:

    Phonebook is saved as hidden file “.cgtermrc” in /users/[username]/

    Inside flie looks like:

    #keyboard = us.kbd
    #zoom = 2
    #fullscreen = no
    columns = 40
    #localecho = no
    #senddelay = 5
    #recvdelay = 0
    #reconnect = 0
    #logfile =
    #host =
    #port =
    #sound = yes
    #debug = no
    #xferdir =
    #debug = no
    bookmark = 64 Vintage Remix,, 6400
    bookmark = Particles! BBS,, 6400
    bookmark = Anarchy Underground,, 23
    bookmark = Borderline,, 6400
    bookmark = CarrierSync II BBS!,, 6912
    bookmark = The Hidden,
    bookmark = Eaglewing BBS,, 23
    bookmark = Scorp’s Portal,, 23
    bookmark = Riktronics BBS,

  7. jnichols Says:

    I haven’t had a chance to try it, but I left the phone book file as I saw it. So you should be able to uncomment the xferdir command and point it to whatever directory you want. That way you don’t have to move the application to get it to save or upload a file from your home directory.

  8. bigmanfrank Says:

    Any Chance at looking at cgterm for osx catalina. it works but every time you try to receive a file it give a error message of “cant create tempfile!” which is download.tmp. I have tried editing the ,cgtermrc and moving the app to different locations but still the same result.

  9. hendrb Says:

    Good morning!

    Time to create a ZOMBIE! CGTerm 1.8 / 1.9 does not work under OS X Big Sur. When launched you only receive a White screen. Have a feeling it is because SDL needs to be recompiled for Big Sur. (Strangely this happened under Catalina when compiling the 1.7b2 Source, but the 1.7b2 source works fine compiling with Big Sur…). Go figure! My main beef with 1.7b2 is the keyboard mapping is fubar’d! Thanks…

  10. jnichols Says:

    With the old source, I think you are compiling SDL. With my DMG, I think I grabbed a recompiled SDL. If you have a chance, compile SDL from the 1.7b2 and move those over and replace the SDL I put in my DMG and let me know if that worked. I am thinking that this needs to either be Python and or HTML. Apple keeps changing the OS to make it more secure but it becomes a moving target that I never seem to keep up on. I don’t even have a Mac at this point that can upgrade past High Sierra I believe. I am working on Big Sur on a VM but right now I am struggling with a keyboard issue with that.

    I think the key is going to be Python. I have also been working on a Sever version that will allow iOS devices to use a web browser to do the same. I use an iPad mostly and since I don’t have a system that I can use full time to compile XCode with, an HTML app is more likely from me at least. Anyone want to give me remote access to a Mac? 🙂

  11. BBS Lover Says:

    Tha MAC access I could possibly do for you. Do you think you can make the menus on the MAC up on the task bar rather than within the program? That would be great. Are you on Facebook?

  12. jnichols Says:

    Yes, I had looked in to moving some menu items if I remember right. I really wanted to rewrite it so that it would use more up to date frameworks. But that is a huge project. I also wanted access to use my iPad. Still working on a web based version. I have a Facebook account, I just don’t use it because social media is such a dumpster fire IMHO.

  13. BBS Lover Says:

    Let me know how to get ahold of you. I really would like to see this program expanded a bit on the MAC. A few touches would literally make it perfect. Right now it is way too constricted. A menu worked in the menu bar to switch from 4080 columns on the fly would be amazing. Please let me know!

  14. jnichols Says:

    Ok, I am going to check about putting this on GitHub. I don’t know if I already put it up. Once that is done, I need to look into why it is not running with the new security. What do I need to compile to create a binary that runs. Then I can work on the menu’s. Since it is written in C I am not sure exactly how to create the menu items at the top in C.

  15. BBS Lover Says:

    That is perfect. Please let me know when you put on GitHub and if I can have access to the folder that would be great.

  16. BBS Lover Says:

    Hey, I emailed you several days ago. Please get back to me.

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