The first public bulletin board using personal computers and modems was written by Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss in Chicago in 1978 for the early amateur computers.It was about 1984 that the first bulletin boards using the IBM (Bill Gates/Microsoft) operating system and Apple operating systems began to be used. At that time the Internet technologies were only available on the UNIX computer operating system, which wasn't available on PCs.
A lot of the West Coast hackers belonged to the Homebrew Computer Club, founded by Lee Felsenstein.
Bulletin boards are a particularly good place to find free or inexpensive software products.
In the United States alone, there are tens of thousands of BBSs.
Lee had actually begun networking computers before the development of the PC, with his Community Memory project in the late 1970s.
This system had dumb terminals (like computer screens with keyboards connected to one large computer that did the processing).