Telstar Viewdata Client

To experience Telstar properly it needs to be accessed by a microcomputer or Viewdata Terminal from the 1980s. However, for a simple way to get started, the Telstar Viewdata Client can be used.

The Telstar Viewdata client is available for Mac, Linux and Windows and has no dependencies, It allows access to viewdata systems through either a direct TCP/IP connection or via a Modem connected to a local serial port.

  • Linux (amd64)
  • Linux (arm64)
  • MacOS (arm64)
  • Windows (386)
  • Windows (amd64)

All versions of the telstar-client are available here https://bitbucket.org/johnnewcombe/telstar-2/downloads/telstar-client.zip

Examples of connection files for Serial connections, NxTel, TeeFax, CCF4, EOTL etc. can be found here https://bitbucket.org/johnnewcombe/telstar-2/downloads/example-connection-files.zip

Installation

Installation differs slightly between platforms, however, in each case extract the file(s) from the downloaded archive and follow the platform specific installation instructions below.

MacOS

The extracted telstar-client.app bundle can be run from anywhere. However, this would typically be placed in the applications folder. Simply double-click the bundle to launch the program. To connect to other services see Connection Files below.

Linux

Once the files have been extracted execute the following command from the folder the files were extracted to.

$ sudo make install

This should install the software as follows

install -Dm00644 usr/local/share/applications/telstar-client.desktop /usr/local/share/applications/telstar-client.desktop
install -Dm00755 usr/local/bin/telstar-client /usr/local/bin/telstar-client
install -Dm00644 usr/local/share/pixmaps/telstar-client.png /usr/local/share/pixmaps/telstar-client.png

To connect to Telstar, simply select the telstar-client from the distributions menu (other) or run the telstar-client from the command line e.g.

$ telstar-client

To connect to other services see Connection Files below.

Windows

Extract the files and double click the telstar-client.exe file.

Connecting to Services

The software will connect by default to the Telstar Viewdata System, however this can be changed through the use of connection files.

The software will connect by default to the Telstar Viewdata System.

Each supported service is defined in a .yml file e.g. nxtel.yml. Several of these files are supplied with the software. Each file is commented which should make it simple to create new files as required. The filename can be specified on the command line as detailed below or opened using the Open toolbar button.

Command Line Parameters

The binary file can be launched from the command line (to use the command line when using MacOs, it is necessary to copy the files from the app bundle (./Contents/MacOS and ./Contents/Resources) to a convenient folder).

For example to connect to NxTel on startup:

telstar-client -address=nxtel.yml

Below is an example TCP connection file for Telstar.

--- # Endpoint definition for the Telstar Viewdata System

# name: Used as a display name for connection dialogues.
name: "Telstar Viewdata System"

# address: Address details for the service to connect to.
address:
  host: "glasstty.com"
  port: 6502

init:
  # telnet: If true, sends the IAC DO-SUPPRESS_GOAHEAD some systems
  # may need this. In the case of Telstar, this will disable the
  # 1200 baud simulation from the server and run the system at full
  # internet speed.
  telnet: false

  # initchar: Some systems need an initial character or characters 
  # to be sent e.g. 0x5f (Hash) to detect a connection.
  initchars: []

Below is an example serial connection file for Telstar.

--- # Endpoint definition for the Telstar Viewdata System

# name: Used as a display name for connection dialogues.
name: "/dev/ttyUSB0"

# serial: Serial port configuration details.
serial:
  # port: serial port to use e.g. "COM1" or "/dev/ttyS0"
  port: "/dev/ttyUSB0"
  # baud: Baud rate of he serial interface. Note that this cannot
  # use a split baud rate, therefore when connecting to 1200/75
  # baud systems the modem would typically be configured for V23
  # with the modems serial interface set to a 1200/1200 baud rate.
  # Most modern modems support this.
  baud: 1200

  # parity: When set to true, 7 bit even parity is used otherwise
  # no parity is used. Telstar uses 7 bit even parity for dialup
  # connections and no parity for tcp/ip connections.
  parity: true

  # modeminit: The 'modeminit' string will be passed to the modem
  # after successfully opening the serial port. This field is
  # typically used to send initialisation and dial commands to a
  # connected modem.
  modeminit: "ATDT01756664433"

init:

  # initchar: Some systems need an initial character or characters 
  # to be sent e.g. 0x5f (Hash) to detect a connection.
  initchars: []