NUTS Family

The “NUTS” family of talkers all trace their origins back to the original Neil’s Unix Talk Server, written in C. This lineage is probably the most prolific and popular across the various codebases, simply based on the number of forks made.

A NUTS-style talker often defaulted to a “speech-first” mode, where entered text was treated as normal chat text unless preceeded by a command or command shortcut character. In speech mode, input lines that begin with a dot(.) immediately followed by a command word were interpreted as commands that would either alter the speech behavior (ex: .shout) or execute other functions in the world (e.g. moving between rooms in the case of .go). An alternative “command mode” was available for users who preferred a more MUD-like experience, where all input began with a command word and “normal” speech required the use of the say command.

This user experience was so popular that some of the other talkers outside of the NUTS family adopted or emulated the dot-command input behavior along with other features like markup formats for changing ANSI text and background colors within user-entered text without requiring users to understand ANSI color codes.

For more information, please read the NUTS Frequently Asked Questions written by Neil Robertson.


On July 18, 2002, in the alt.talkers Usenet group, author Neil Robertson retroactively applied the GNU General Public License v2.0 to all original NUTS source code releases. (Note: the GPL version was not explicitly stated but, based on the date, GPLv2 is assumed since it was the latest version available at the time.)

I’ve decided to GPL the entire NUTS code from the very first version to the very last. Since I can’t be arsed to re-release all the code with a new copyright this post will have to suffice. Why anyone would want to use 10 year old badly written flaky code in their own I’m not sure but someone did and asked if he could GPL is so I thought what the hell, might as well GPL the whole lot.

Presumably, the terms of the GPL license would apply to new derivative works based off of the original NUTS code after that date, but forks and other derivative works that already existed as of July 2002 (and also their derivatives, if any) would be grandfathered under the previous terms of use. However, this paragraph is not legal advice; you are encouraged to seek proper legal counsel if you have questions regarding the full implications of this retroactive assignment.

NUTS History (also written by Neil)

NUTS started out as a university project in 1992 for the final year of my degree course and it was the 2nd best option in my opinion from writing a MUD which the CS department decided “wasn’t appropriate”. So I came up with some specious title for a talker project along the lines of a “multiuser realtime networked conferencing system” or some such bullshit and they fell for it :) Having seen a number of other systems such as the complex EW-TOO by Simon Marsh (which to me seemed to be inhabiting some middle ground between mud and talker), the very simple such as the talker built into Unaxcess (sp?) and the truly appalling (did someone say IRC?) I designed NUTS as being a system that anyone would be able to master straight away the minute they logged in. These days its somewhat more complex and probably sits alongside EW-TOO in the talker stakes but hopefully its still just as easy to use for first timers.

These are the dates on which various nuts version were release as best I can remember or find out…

Winter 1992Chat ServerOriginal project code - never released
Jan or Feb 19931.0.0Project code with bug fixes and name change
1.0.2March/April maybe
May 19931.0.3
October 19931.1.0
December 19931.2.0
April 19941.3.2
May 19941.3.3
June 19942.0.0
July 19942.0.2
August 19942.1.0
September 19942.1.1(date from archived tarball)
November 19942.2.0
December 19942.2.1
January 19952.3.0
Feb 19963.0.0aalpha test release
March 19963.0.0
April 19963.1.0
May 19963.1.2
July 19963.2.0
September 19963.3.0
October 19963.3.1
November 19963.3.2
3.3.3Final NUTS 3 version
September 20054-1.4.1(date from archived tarball)

family members

* missing source code