The x/84 telnet system is written in the Python programming language. With prior programming experience you should be able to pick up the language quickly by looking at the provided sample mods in the x84/default folder. If you are completely new to Python, it’s recommended to read more about the language, like provided by the free Dive Into Python book by Mark Pilgrim.


The following is step-by-step instructions for creating a developer environment for making your own customizations of x/84’s engine and api and building your own 'scriptpath' (defined by ~/.x84/default.ini). You may also simply install x/84 using pip.

Debian, Ubuntu, Mint

You should install the following packages:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential git libffi-dev libssl-dev python-dev python-setuptools python-pip python-virtualenv virtualenvwrapper

And please make sure you’re using an up-to-date version of pip:

$ sudo pip-2.7 --upgrade pip

Arch Linux

You should install the following packages:

$ sudo pacman -S gcc git libffi python2 python2-pip python2-virtualenv python-virtualenvwrapper python2-pyopenssl

And please make sure you’re using an up-to-date version of pip:

$ sudo pip-2.7 --upgrade pip


Optional but recommended, using virtualenv and/or virtualenvwrapper ensures you can install x/84 and its dependencies without root access and quickly activate the environment at any time, but without affecting system libraries or other python projects.

  1. Load virtualenvwrapper:

    . `which`

    There are techniques to automatically load virtualenvwrapper from your shell profile, or to active a virtualenv when you change to a project folder. See virtualenv tips and tricks if you’re interested.

  2. Make a virtualenv (named ‘x84’) using python version 2.7:

    mkvirtualenv -p `which python2.7` x84

Anytime you want to load x/84 environment in a new login shell, source (as in step #2) and activate using command:

workon x84

Install editable version

Instead of installing x84 as a complete package, we use pip to install an editable version – this is so that when a modification is done to the files in our local project directory, they are immediately reflected in the x84 server anytime the virtualenv is activated:

pip install --editable .[with_crypto]

Starting x/84


As another user

When installing x84 as an editable version inside a virtualenv, some care must be taken in regards to using sudo and privbind. This is the method used by the default board:

PYTHON_EGG_CACHE=/tmp/.python-eggs sudo privbind -u nobody -g nogroup `which python` -mx84.engine

The \`which python\` ensures the vitualenv-activated python version of the current user is used, and instead of running the x84 script which would be not be found in the system path of target user nobody, we instead load the x84.engine module directly.

x84 Usage

Optional command line arguments,

--config= alternate bbs configuration filepath

--logger= alternate logging configuration filepath

By default these are, in order of preference: /etc/x84/default.ini and /etc/x84/logging.ini, or ~/.x84/default.ini and ~/.x84/logging.ini.

Contributing using git

If you intend to contribute patches or new mods to the x/84 telnet system, you should fork the repository and clone over ssh.

Features should be developed into a branch, pushed to github, and when satisfied with your changes and you wish to have them included in the base distribution, you should create a pull request.