I've spent some time today moving the Free Internet Morabaraba Server forward. I have abandoned the PHP-based telnet server (though it was cute), and implemented a .NET based server. I'm doing the development in C# using MonoDevelop on Linux, which I haven't touched for ages. I'm very impressed with how it's come along - MonoDevelop is stable and capable, and Mono is much, much easier to set up than it used to be (it was a doddle on Ubuntu).
Anyway, I have the basic telnet handler set up, backed by a MySQL database for user registrations and so forth. Simple communications between logged in users are done, and the next step is to automate registration and implement the gameplay features. The protocol is inspired by FICS, though much, much simpler - but in time I should be able to add ratings etc. The server design should be quite scalable, and, because it's Mono-based, it will be cross-platform. Another day or two's work would probably see a first version in place, although unfortunately I suspect it may be another week or two before I get to do said other day or two of work!
After that, I will need to create a client - but given the Lazarus GUI stuff I already have for Morabaraba, I may just do the first version quickly in Lazarus.