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Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP)
dial-up Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access Internet access is the ability of individuals and organizations to connect to the Internet using computer terminals, computers, and other devices; and to access services such as email and the H ...
network architecture.
Tom Truscott Tom Truscott is an American computer scientist A computer scientist is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and bei ...
and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was established in 1980.''From Usenet to CoWebs: interacting with social information spaces'', Christopher Lueg, Danyel Fisher, Springer (2003), , Users read and post messages (called ''articles'' or ''posts'', and collectively termed ''news'') to one or more categories, known as
newsgroups A Usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose UUCP, Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. ...
. Usenet resembles a
bulletin board system A bulletin board system or BBS (also called ''Computer Bulletin Board Service'', ''CBBS'') is a running that allows users to connect to the system using a . Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as ing and ing software and data, ...
(BBS) in many respects and is the precursor to
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online In computer technology and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other El ...
s that became widely used. Discussions are threaded, as with web forums and BBSs, though posts are stored on the server sequentially.The jargon file v4.4.7
, Jargon File Archive.
A major difference between a BBS or web forum and Usenet is the absence of a central server and dedicated administrator. Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of news servers that
store and forward Store and forward is a telecommunications technique in which information is sent to an intermediate station where it is kept and sent at a later time to the final destination or to another intermediate station. The intermediate station, or Node (ne ...
messages to one another via "news feeds". Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server, which may be operated by anyone. Usenet is culturally and historically significant in the networked world, having given rise to, or popularized, many widely recognized concepts and terms such as "
FAQ A frequently asked questions (FAQ) forum is often used in articles, websites, email lists, and online forums where common questions tend to recur, for example through posts or queries by new users related to common knowledge gaps. The purpose of ...

FAQ
", "
flame A flame (from Latin ''wikt:en:flamma#Latin, flamma'') is the visible, gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic chemical reaction taking place in a thin zone. Very hot flames are hot enough to have ionized gaseous components of ...
", sockpuppet, and "
spam Spam may refer to: * Spam (food) Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canning, canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 2003 ...
". In the early 1990s, shortly before access to the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
became commonly affordable, Usenet connections via
Fidonet#REDIRECT FidoNet __ / \ /, oo \ (_, /_) _`@/_ \ _ , , \ \\ , (*) , \ )) ______ , __U__, ...
's dial-up
BBS BBS may refer to: Technologies * Bulletin board system A bulletin board system or BBS (also called ''Computer Bulletin Board Service'', ''CBBS'') is a computer server running software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer sci ...
networks made long-distance or worldwide discussions and other communication widespread, not needing a server, just (local) telephone service. The name ''Usenet'' comes from the term "users network". The first Usenet group was ''NET.general'', which quickly became ''net.general''. The first commercial spam on Usenet was from immigration attorneys Canter and Siegel advertising green card services.


Introduction

Usenet was conceived in 1979 and publicly established in 1980, at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Chapel Hill, or simply Carolina) is a in . The of the system, it is considered a , or a public institution which offers an academic experience similar to ...
and
Duke University Duke University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decad ...
, over a decade before the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational w ...
went online (and thus before the general public received access to the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
), making it one of the oldest
computer network A computer network is a set of s sharing resources located on or provided by . The computers use common s over to communicate with each other. These interconnections are made up of technologies, based on physically wired, optical, and wire ...
communications systems still in widespread use. It was originally built on the "poor man's
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching In telecommunications, packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into '' packets''. Packets are ...
", employing UUCP as its transport protocol to offer mail and file transfers, as well as announcements through the newly developed news software such as
A News :''For the Canadian television news program, see A News (TV series).'' A News, or Netnews Version A, originally known simply as news, was the first widely distributed program for serving and reading Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed ...
. The name "Usenet" emphasizes its creators' hope that the
USENIX USENIX is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization A membership organization is any organization that allows people to subscribe, and often requires them to pay a membership fee or "subscription". Membership organizations typicall ...
organization would take an active role in its operation. The articles that users post to Usenet are organized into topical categories known as
newsgroups A Usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose UUCP, Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. ...
, which are themselves logically organized into hierarchies of subjects. For instance, '' ews:sci.math sci.math' and '' ews:sci.physics sci.physics' are within the ''sci.*'' hierarchy. Or, '' ews:talk.origins talk.origins' and '' ews:talk.atheism talk.atheism' are in the ''talk.*'' hierarchy. When a user subscribes to a newsgroup, the
news client A newsreader is an application software, application program that reads articles on Usenet distributed throughout Usenet newsgroup, newsgroups. Newsreaders act as clients which connect to a news server, via the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) ...
software keeps track of which articles that user has read. In most newsgroups, the majority of the articles are responses to some other article. The set of articles that can be traced to one single non-reply article is called a
thread Thread or threads may refer to: Objects * Thread (yarn), a kind of thin yarn used for sewing ** Thread (unit of measurement), a cotton yarn measure * Screw thread, a helical ridge on a cylindrical fastener Arts and entertainment * Thread (film), ...
. Most modern newsreaders display the articles arranged into threads and subthreads. For example, in the wine-making newsgroup ''rec.crafts.winemaking,'' someone might start a thread called; "What's the best yeast?" and that thread or conversation might grow into dozens of replies long, by perhaps six or eight different authors. Over several days, that conversation about different wine yeasts might branch into several sub-threads in a tree-like form. When a user posts an article, it is initially only available on that user's news server. Each news server talks to one or more other servers (its "newsfeeds") and exchanges articles with them. In this fashion, the article is copied from server to server and should eventually reach every server in the network. The later
peer-to-peer Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A ''distributed system'' is a system whose components are located on different co ...

peer-to-peer
networks operate on a similar principle, but for Usenet it is normally the sender, rather than the receiver, who initiates transfers. Usenet was designed under conditions when networks were much slower and not always available. Many sites on the original Usenet network would connect only once or twice a day to batch-transfer messages in and out. This is largely because the POTS network was typically used for transfers, and phone charges were lower at night. The format and transmission of Usenet articles is similar to that of Internet
e-mail upThe email_address.html"_;"title="at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address">at_sign,_a_part_of_every_SMTP_email_address Electronic_mail_(email_or_e-mail)_is_a_method_of_exchanging_messages_("mail")_between_people_using_electronic_dev ...

e-mail
messages. The difference between the two is that Usenet articles can be read by any user whose news server carries the group to which the message was posted, as opposed to email messages, which have one or more specific recipients. Today, Usenet has diminished in importance with respect to
Internet forum An Internet forum, or message board, is an online In computer technology and telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other El ...
s,
blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the f ...
s,
mailing list A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is refe ...
s and
social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) ...

social media
. Usenet differs from such media in several ways: Usenet requires no personal registration with the group concerned; information need not be stored on a remote server; archives are always available; and reading the messages does not require a mail or web client, but a news client. However, it is now possible to read and participate in Usenet newsgroups to a large degree using ordinary
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
s since most newsgroups are now copied to several web sites. The groups in ' are still widely used for data transfer.


ISPs, news servers, and newsfeeds

Many Internet service providers, and many other Internet sites, operate
news server A news server is a collection of software used to handle Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet acces ...
s for their users to access. ISPs that do not operate their own servers directly will often offer their users an account from another provider that specifically operates newsfeeds. In early news implementations, the server and newsreader were a single program suite, running on the same system. Today, one uses separate newsreader client software, a program that resembles an email client but accesses Usenet servers instead. Not all ISPs run news servers. A news server is one of the most difficult Internet services to administer because of the large amount of data involved, small customer base (compared to mainstream Internet service), and a disproportionately high volume of customer support incidents (frequently complaining of missing news articles). Some ISPs outsource news operations to specialist sites, which will usually appear to a user as though the ISP itself runs the server. Many of these sites carry a restricted newsfeed, with a limited number of newsgroups. Commonly omitted from such a newsfeed are foreign-language newsgroups and the ' hierarchy which largely carries software, music, videos and images, and accounts for over 99 percent of article data. There are also Usenet providers that offer a full unrestricted service to users whose ISPs do not carry news, or that carry a restricted feed.


Newsreaders

Newsgroups are typically accessed with
newsreaders ''Newsreaders'' is an American television comedy Television comedy is a category of broadcasting that has been present since the early days of entertainment media. While there are several genres of comedy, some of the first ones aired were varie ...
: applications that allow users to read and reply to postings in newsgroups. These applications act as clients to one or more news servers. Historically, Usenet was associated with the
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser Multi-user software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast t ...

Unix
operating system developed at
AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a s ...
, but newsreaders are now available for all major operating systems. Modern mail clients or "communication suites" commonly also have an integrated newsreader. Often, however, these integrated clients are of low quality, compared to standalone newsreaders, and incorrectly implement Usenet protocols, standards and conventions. Many of these integrated clients, for example the one in
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
's Outlook Express, are disliked by purists because of their misbehavior. With the rise of the World Wide Web (WWW), web front-ends (web2news) have become more common. Web front ends have lowered the technical entry barrier requirements to that of one application and no Usenet NNTP server account. There are numerous websites now offering web based gateways to Usenet groups, although some people have begun filtering messages made by some of the web interfaces for one reason or another.
Google Groups Google Groups is a service from Google that provides Internet forum, discussion groups for people sharing common interests. The Groups service also provides a gateway to Usenet newsgroups via a shared user interface. Google Groups became operatio ...
is one such web based front end and some
web browser A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. When a User (computing), user requests a web page from a particular website, the web browser retrieves the necessary content from a web ...

web browser
s can access Google Groups via news: protocol links directly.


Moderated and unmoderated newsgroups

A minority of newsgroups are moderated, meaning that messages submitted by readers are not distributed directly to Usenet, but instead are emailed to the moderators of the newsgroup for approval. The moderator is to receive submitted articles, review them, and inject approved articles so that they can be properly propagated worldwide. Articles approved by a moderator must bear the Approved: header line. Moderators ensure that the messages that readers see in the newsgroup conform to the charter of the newsgroup, though they are not required to follow any such rules or guidelines. Typically, moderators are appointed in the proposal for the newsgroup, and changes of moderators follow a succession plan. Historically, a ''mod.*'' hierarchy existed before Usenet reorganization. Now, moderated newsgroups may appear in any hierarchy, typically with .moderated added to the group name. Usenet newsgroups in the Big-8 hierarchy are created by proposals called a Request for Discussion, or RFD. The RFD is required to have the following information: newsgroup name, checkgroups file entry, and moderated or unmoderated status. If the group is to be moderated, then at least one moderator with a valid email address must be provided. Other information which is beneficial but not required includes: a charter, a rationale, and a moderation policy if the group is to be moderated. Discussion of the new newsgroup proposal follows, and is finished with the members of the Big-8 Management Board making the decision, by vote, to either approve or disapprove the new newsgroup. Unmoderated newsgroups form the majority of Usenet newsgroups, and messages submitted by readers for unmoderated newsgroups are immediately propagated for everyone to see. Minimal editorial content filtering vs propagation speed form one crux of the Usenet community. One little cited defense of propagation is canceling a propagated message, but few Usenet users use this command and some news readers do not offer , in part because article storage expires in relatively short order anyway. Almost all unmoderated Usenet groups tend to accumulate large volumes of
spam Spam may refer to: * Spam (food) Spam (stylized as SPAM) is a brand of canning, canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation. It was introduced by Hormel in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. By 200 ...
.


Technical details

Usenet is a set of protocols for generating, storing and retrieving news "articles" (which resemble Internet mail messages) and for exchanging them among a readership which is potentially widely distributed. These protocols most commonly use a flooding algorithm which propagates copies throughout a network of participating servers. Whenever a message reaches a server, that server forwards the message to all its network neighbors that haven't yet seen the article. Only one copy of a message is stored per server, and each server makes it available on demand to the (typically local) readers able to access that server. The collection of Usenet servers has thus a certain
peer-to-peer Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing or networking is a distributed application Distributed computing is a field of computer science that studies distributed systems. A ''distributed system'' is a system whose components are located on different co ...

peer-to-peer
character in that they share resources by exchanging them, the granularity of exchange however is on a different scale than a modern peer-to-peer system and this characteristic excludes the actual users of the system who connect to the news servers with a typical client-server application, much like an email reader. RFC 850 was the first formal specification of the messages exchanged by Usenet servers. It was superseded by RFC 1036 and subsequently by RFC 5536 and RFC 5537. In cases where unsuitable content has been posted, Usenet has support for automated removal of a posting from the whole network by creating a cancel message, although due to a lack of authentication and resultant abuse, this capability is frequently disabled. Copyright holders may still request the manual deletion of infringing material using the provisions of
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations (UN). Pu ...
treaty implementations, such as the United States
Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) is United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constitu ...
, but this would require giving notice to each individual news server administrator. On the Internet, Usenet is transported via the
Network News Transfer Protocol The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) is an application protocol Protocol may refer to: Sociology and politics * Protocol (politics) Protocol originally (in Late Middle English, c. 15th century) meant the minutes or logbook taken at a meet ...
(NNTP) on
TCP Port In computer networking A computer network is a set of computers sharing resources located on or provided by Node (networking), network nodes. The computers use common communication protocols over digital signal, digital Interconnection, i ...
119 for standard, unprotected connections and on TCP port 563 for
SSLSSL may refer to: Entertainment * RoboCup Small Size League * ''Sesame Street Live ''Sesame Street Live'' is a live touring show based on the children's television show ''Sesame Street'' produced by Feld Entertainment. History The VStar Entertain ...
encrypted connections.


Organization

The major set of worldwide newsgroups is contained within nine hierarchies, eight of which are operated under consensual guidelines that govern their administration and naming. The current '' Big Eight'' are: * ''comp.*'' – computer-related discussions (''comp.software'', ''comp.sys.amiga'') * ''humanities.*'' –
fine art In European academic traditions, fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about M ...

fine art
s,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
, and
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
(''humanities.classics'', ''humanities.design.misc'') * ''misc.*'' – miscellaneous topics (''misc.education'', ''misc.forsale'', ''misc.kids'') * ''news.*'' – discussions and announcements about news (meaning Usenet, not current events) (''news.groups'', ''news.admin'') * ''rec.*'' – recreation and entertainment (''rec.music'', ''rec.arts.movies'') * ''sci.*'' – science related discussions (''sci.psychology'', ''sci.research'') * ''soc.*'' – social discussions (''soc.college.org'', ''soc.culture.'') * ''talk.*'' – talk about various controversial topics (''talk.religion'', ''talk.politics'', '' talk.origins'') See also the
Great Renaming The Great Renaming was a restructuring of Usenet newsgroup A Usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose ...
. The ''alt.*'' hierarchy is not subject to the procedures controlling groups in the Big Eight, and it is as a result less organized. Groups in the ''alt.*'' hierarchy tend to be more specialized or specific—for example, there might be a newsgroup under the Big Eight which contains discussions about children's books, but a group in the alt hierarchy may be dedicated to one specific author of children's books. Binaries are posted in ', making it the largest of all the hierarchies. Many other hierarchies of newsgroups are distributed alongside these. Regional and language-specific hierarchies such as ''.*'', ''.*'' and ''ne.*'' serve specific countries and regions such as
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
,
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
and
New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography ...

New England
. Companies and projects administer their own hierarchies to discuss their products and offer community technical support, such as the historical ''.*'' hierarchy from the
Free Software Foundation The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States ...
.
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
closed its newsserver in June 2010, providing support for its products over forums now. Some users prefer to use the term "Usenet" to refer only to the Big Eight hierarchies; others include ''alt.*'' as well. The more general term "netnews" incorporates the entire medium, including private organizational news systems. Informal sub-hierarchy conventions also exist. ''*.answers'' are typically moderated cross-post groups for FAQs. An FAQ would be posted within one group and a cross post to the ''*.answers'' group at the head of the hierarchy seen by some as a refining of information in that news group. Some subgroups are recursive—to the point of some silliness in ''alt.*''.


Binary content

Usenet was originally created to distribute text content encoded in the 7-
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algo ...
ASCII ASCII ( ), abbreviated from American Standard Code for Information Interchange, is a character encoding Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to graphical Graphics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, ...
character set. With the help of programs that encode 8-bit values into ASCII, it became practical to distribute
binary file A binary file is a computer file that is not a text file. The term "binary file" is often used as a term meaning "non-text file". Many binary file formats contain parts that can be interpreted as text; for example, some Document file format, co ...

binary file
s as content. Binary posts, due to their size and often-dubious copyright status, were in time restricted to specific newsgroups, making it easier for administrators to allow or disallow the traffic. The oldest widely used encoding method for binary content is uuencode, from the
Unix Unix (; trademarked as UNIX) is a family of multitasking, multiuser Multi-user software is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast t ...

Unix
UUCP package. In the late 1980s, Usenet articles were often limited to 60,000 characters, and larger hard limits exist today. Files are therefore commonly split into sections that require reassembly by the reader. With the header extensions and the
Base64 In programming, Base64 is a group of binary-to-text encoding A binary-to-text encoding is code, encoding of data (computing), data in plain text. More precisely, it is an encoding of binary data in a sequence of character (computing), printable ...
and Quoted-Printable
MIME #REDIRECT Mime artist A mime artist or just mime (from Greek , , "imitator, actor") is a person who uses mime as a theatrical medium or as a performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed ...

MIME
encodings, there was a new generation of binary transport. In practice, MIME has seen increased adoption in text messages, but it is avoided for most binary attachments. Some operating systems with
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...
attached to files use specialized encoding formats. For Mac OS, both
BinHex BinHex, originally short for "binary-to-hexadecimal", is a binary-to-text encoding A binary-to-text encoding is code, encoding of data (computing), data in plain text. More precisely, it is an encoding of binary data in a sequence of character (co ...
and special MIME types are used. Other lesser known encoding systems that may have been used at one time were
BTOA Ascii85, also called Base85, is a form of binary-to-text encoding A binary-to-text encoding is code, encoding of data (computing), data in plain text. More precisely, it is an encoding of binary data in a sequence of character (computing), printab ...
, XX encoding, BOO, and USR encoding. In an attempt to reduce file transfer times, an informal file encoding known as
yEnc yEnc is a binary-to-text encoding A binary-to-text encoding is code, encoding of data (computing), data in plain text. More precisely, it is an encoding of binary data in a sequence of character (computing), printable characters. These encodings ...
was introduced in 2001. It achieves about a 30% reduction in data transferred by assuming that most 8-bit characters can safely be transferred across the network without first encoding into the 7-bit ASCII space. The most common method of uploading large binary posts to Usenet is to convert the files into RAR archives and create Parchive files for them. Parity files are used to recreate missing data when not every part of the files reaches a server.


Binary retention time

Each news server allocates a certain amount of storage space for content in each newsgroup. When this storage has been filled, each time a new post arrives, old posts are deleted to make room for the new content. If the network bandwidth available to a server is high but the storage allocation is small, it is possible for a huge flood of incoming content to overflow the allocation and push out everything that was in the group before it. The average length of time that posts are able to stay on the server before being deleted is commonly called the ''retention time''. Binary newsgroups are only able to function reliably if there is sufficient storage allocated to handle the amount of articles being added. Without sufficient retention time, a reader will be unable to download all parts of the binary before it is flushed out of the group's storage allocation. This was at one time how posting undesired content was countered; the newsgroup would be flooded with random garbage data posts, of sufficient quantity to push out all the content to be suppressed. This has been compensated by service providers allocating enough storage to retain everything posted each day, including spam floods, without deleting anything. Modern Usenet
news server A news server is a collection of software used to handle Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet acces ...
s have enough capacity to archive years of binary content even when flooded with new data at the maximum daily speed available. In part because of such long retention times, as well as growing Internet
upload Uploading refers to ''transmitting'' data Data are units of information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature ...

upload
speeds, Usenet is also used by individual users to store
backup In information technology, a backup, or data backup is a copy of computer data In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of a ...

backup
data. While commercial providers offer easier to use online backup services, storing data on Usenet is free of charge (although access to Usenet itself may not be). The method requires the uploader to cede control over the distribution of the data; the files are automatically disseminated to all Usenet providers exchanging data for the news group it is posted to. In general the user must manually select, prepare and upload the data. The data is typically
encrypted In cryptography, encryption is the process of Code, encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can ...

encrypted
because it is available to anyone to download the backup files. After the files are uploaded, having multiple copies spread to different geographical regions around the world on different news servers decreases the chances of data loss. Major Usenet service providers have a retention time of more than 12 years. This results in more than 60
petabyte The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, the byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the smallest addressable unit ...
s (60000
terabyte The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
s) of storage (see image). When using Usenet for data storage, providers that offer longer retention time are preferred to ensure the data will survive for longer periods of time compared to services with lower retention time.


Legal issues

While binary newsgroups can be used to distribute completely legal user-created works, open-source software, and public domain material, some binary groups are used to illegally distribute commercial software, copyrighted media, and pornographic material. ISP-operated Usenet servers frequently block access to all ' groups to both reduce network traffic and to avoid related legal issues. Commercial Usenet service providers claim to operate as a telecommunications service, and assert that they are not responsible for the user-posted binary content transferred via their equipment. In the United States, Usenet providers can qualify for protection under the
DMCA The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North Americ ...

DMCA
Safe Harbor regulations, provided that they establish a mechanism to comply with and respond to takedown notices from copyright holders. Removal of copyrighted content from the entire Usenet network is a nearly impossible task, due to the rapid propagation between servers and the retention done by each server. Petitioning a Usenet provider for removal only removes it from that one server's retention cache, but not any others. It is possible for a special ''post cancellation'' message to be distributed to remove it from all servers, but many providers ignore cancel messages by standard policy, because they can be easily falsified and submitted by anyone. For a takedown petition to be most effective across the whole network, it would have to be issued to the origin server to which the content has been posted, before it has been propagated to other servers. Removal of the content at this early stage would prevent further propagation, but with modern high speed links, content can be propagated as fast as it arrives, allowing no time for content review and takedown issuance by copyright holders. Establishing the identity of the person posting illegal content is equally difficult due to the trust-based design of the network. Like
SMTP The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an internet standard An Internet Standard in computer network engineering refers to the normative specification of a technology that is appropriate for the Internet. Internet Standards allow interoper ...
email, servers generally assume the header and origin information in a post is true and accurate. However, as in SMTP email, Usenet post headers are easily falsified so as to obscure the true identity and location of the message source. In this manner, Usenet is significantly different from modern P2P services; most P2P users distributing content are typically immediately identifiable to all other users by their
network address A network address is an identifier for a node In general, a node is a localized swelling (a "knot A knot is an intentional complication in Rope, cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, ...
, but the origin information for a Usenet posting can be completely obscured and unobtainable once it has propagated past the original server. Also unlike modern P2P services, the identity of the downloaders is hidden from view. On P2P services a downloader is identifiable to all others by their network address. On Usenet, the downloader connects directly to a server, and only the server knows the address of who is connecting to it. Some Usenet providers do keep usage logs, but not all make this logged information casually available to outside parties such as the
Recording Industry Association of America The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by busin ...
. The existence of anonymising gateways to USENET also complicates the tracing of a postings true origin.


History

UUCP/Usenet Logical Map  —   June 1, 1981 / mods by S. McGeady November 19, 1981

            (ucbvax)
+=+

+

+ , , , , , , wivax , , , , , , , , , microsoft, uiucdcs , , , , genradbo , , , , , , (Tektronix) , , , , , , , purdue , , , decvax+

+=+

+=+=+ , , , , , , , , , , , pur-phy , , tekmdp , , , , , , , , , , , +@@@@@@cca , , , , , , , , , , , , , +=pur-ee=+=+

=+

+ , , , csin , , , , , , , , +

o

+

+

+

+

+

teklabs=+ , , , , , , , pdp phs grumpy wolfvax , , , , , , , , , , , cincy unc=+

+

+

+ , , , , bio , , , , , (Misc) , , (Misc) , , , , sii reed , dukgeri duke34 utzoo , , , , , , , , , , , , +

+=+=+

+

++

+

++

duke=+

+

+

+

=+ , , , , , , , , , , , u1100s , bmd70 ucf-cs ucf , andiron , , , , , , , , , , , , , red , , , , , pyuxh , , , , zeppo , , , , , psupdp---psuvax , , , , , , , , , , , alice , whuxlb , utah-cs , , houxf , allegra , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , +--chico---+ , +

+=mhtsa

research , /=+

harpo=+

+ , , , , , , , , / , , , , hocsr , , +=+

=+=/ cbosg---+ , , , ucbopt , , , , , esquire , , : , , , cbosgd , , , : , , , , , , ucbcory , , eagle

+

=+

=+

=+

=+ , , , : , , , , , , , , , +-uwvax--+ , : , , , mhuxa mhuxh mhuxj mhuxm mhuxv , , , : , , , , , , : , , , +----------------------------o--+ , : , , , , , , ucbcad , , , ihpss mh135a , , : , , , , , , , : \--o--o------ihnss----vax135----cornell , , : , , , , , +=+

ucbvax

+

+

+=+

+

+=+

+

=+ (UCB) : , , , , (Silicon Valley) ucbarpa cmevax , , menlo70--hao : , , , , ucbonyx , , , sri-unix , ucsfcgl , , , , Legend: , , sytek

+

+ ------- , , , , - , / \ + = Uucp sdcsvax=+

+=+

+ intelqa zehntel = "Bus" , , , o jumps sdcarl phonlab sdcattb : Berknet @ Arpanet
UUCP/Usenet Logical Map, original by
Steven McGeady Steven McGeady is a former Intel Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Santa Clara, California, in Silicon Valley. It is the world's largest semiconducto ...
. Copyright© 1981, 1996
Bruce Jones,
Henry Spencer Henry Spencer (born 1955) is a Canadians, Canadian computer programmer and space enthusiast. He wrote "regex", a widely used Library (computing), software library for regular expressions, and co-wrote C News, a Usenet server program. He also wrote ...
, David Wiseman. Copied with permission from
''The Usenet Oldnews Archive: Compilation''.
Newsgroup experiments first occurred in 1979.
Tom Truscott Tom Truscott is an American computer scientist A computer scientist is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and bei ...
and Jim Ellis of
Duke University Duke University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decad ...
came up with the idea as a replacement for a local announcement program, and established a link with nearby
University of North Carolina The University of North Carolina is the multi-campus public university system for the state of North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly ma ...
using
Bourne shell The Bourne shell (sh) is a shell Shell may refer to: Architecture and design * Shell (structure)A shell is a type of structural element which is characterized by its geometry, being a three-dimensional solid whose thickness is very small when c ...
scripts written by Steve Bellovin. The public release of
news News is information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whethe ...
was in the form of conventional compiled
software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

software
, written by Steve Daniel and Truscott. In 1980, Usenet was connected to
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching In telecommunications, packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into '' packets''. Packets are ...
through which had connections to both Usenet and ARPANET.
Mark HortonMark Horton may refer to: * Mark Horton (archaeologist) (born 1956), British maritime and historical archaeologist, television presenter and writer * Mark Horton (bridge) (born 1950), British author, journalist and expert on bridge * Mary Ann Horton ...
, the graduate student who set up the connection, began "feeding mailing lists from the ARPANET into Usenet" with the "fa" ("From ARPANET") identifier. Usenet gained 50 member sites in its first year, including
Reed College Reed College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades ...

Reed College
,
University of Oklahoma , mottoeng = ''For the benefit of the Citizen and the State'' , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organi ...
, and
Bell Labs Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984)) is an American industrial research and scientific development company A company, ab ...
, and the number of people using the network increased dramatically; however, it was still a while longer before Usenet users could contribute to ARPANET.


Network

UUCP networks spread quickly due to the lower costs involved, and the ability to use existing leased lines,
X.25 X.25 is an ITU-T The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications and Information Communication Technology such as X.509 for cybersecurity, Y.3172 and Y.3173 for machine learning, and H.264/MPE ...
links or even
ARPANET The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the first wide-area packet-switching In telecommunications, packet switching is a method of grouping data that is transmitted over a digital network into '' packets''. Packets are ...
connections. By 1983, thousands of people participated from more than 500 hosts, mostly universities and Bell Labs sites but also a growing number of Unix-related companies; the number of hosts nearly doubled to 940 in 1984. More than 100 newsgroups existed, more than 20 devoted to Unix and other computer-related topics, and at least a third to recreation. As the mesh of UUCP hosts rapidly expanded, it became desirable to distinguish the Usenet subset from the overall network. A vote was taken at the 1982 USENIX conference to choose a new name. The name Usenet was retained, but it was established that it only applied to news. The name UUCPNET became the common name for the overall network. In addition to UUCP, early Usenet traffic was also exchanged with
Fidonet#REDIRECT FidoNet __ / \ /, oo \ (_, /_) _`@/_ \ _ , , \ \\ , (*) , \ )) ______ , __U__, ...
and other dial-up
BBS BBS may refer to: Technologies * Bulletin board system A bulletin board system or BBS (also called ''Computer Bulletin Board Service'', ''CBBS'') is a computer server running software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer sci ...
networks. By the mid-1990s there were almost 40,000 FidoNet systems in operation, and it was possible to communicate with millions of users around the world, with only local telephone service. Widespread use of Usenet by the BBS community was facilitated by the introduction of UUCP feeds made possible by MS-DOS implementations of UUCP, such as UFGATE (UUCP to FidoNet Gateway), FSUUCP and UUPC. In 1986, RFC 977 provided the
Network News Transfer Protocol The Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) is an application protocol Protocol may refer to: Sociology and politics * Protocol (politics) Protocol originally (in Late Middle English, c. 15th century) meant the minutes or logbook taken at a meet ...
(NNTP) specification for distribution of Usenet articles over
TCP/IP The Internet protocol suite, commonly known as TCP/IP, is the set of communications protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system 400px, Communication system A commu ...
as a more flexible alternative to informal Internet transfers of UUCP traffic. Since the Internet boom of the 1990s, almost all Usenet distribution is over NNTP.


Software

Early versions of Usenet used Duke's
A News :''For the Canadian television news program, see A News (TV series).'' A News, or Netnews Version A, originally known simply as news, was the first widely distributed program for serving and reading Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed ...
software, designed for one or two articles a day. Matt Glickman and Horton at Berkeley produced an improved version called
B News 350px, Original and hierarchical spool layouts B News was a Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up Dial-up Internet acc ...
that could handle the rising traffic (about 50 articles a day as of late 1983). With a message format that offered compatibility with Internet mail and improved performance, it became the dominant server software.
C News C News is a news server A news server is a collection of software used to handle Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial- ...
, developed by Geoff Collyer and
Henry Spencer Henry Spencer (born 1955) is a Canadians, Canadian computer programmer and space enthusiast. He wrote "regex", a widely used Library (computing), software library for regular expressions, and co-wrote C News, a Usenet server program. He also wrote ...
at the
University of Toronto The University of Toronto (U of T or UToronto) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organ ...

University of Toronto
, was comparable to B News in features but offered considerably faster processing. In the early 1990s,
InterNetNews InterNetNews (INN) is a Usenet news server package, originally released by Rich Salz in 1991, and presented at the Summer 1992 USENIX conference in San Antonio, Texas. It was the first news server with integrated Network News Transfer Protocol, N ...
by
Rich Salz InterNetNews (INN) is a Usenet news server package, originally released by Rich Salz in 1991, and presented at the Summer 1992 USENIX conference in San Antonio, Texas. It was the first news server with integrated Network News Transfer Protocol, N ...
was developed to take advantage of the continuous message flow made possible by NNTP versus the batched store-and-forward design of UUCP. Since that time
INN Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travelers can seek lodging Lodging refers to the use of a short-term dwelling In law, a dwelling (also known as a residence or an abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation ...
development has continued, and other news server software has also been developed.


Public venue

Usenet was the first Internet community and the place for many of the most important public developments in the pre-commercial Internet. It was the place where
Tim Berners-Lee Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system ...

Tim Berners-Lee
announced the launch of the
World Wide Web The World Wide Web (WWW), commonly known as the Web, is an information system An information system (IS) is a formal, sociotechnical Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development is an approach to complex organizational w ...
, where
Linus Torvalds Linus Benedict Torvalds ( , ; born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the main developer of the Linux kernel, used by Linux distributions and other operating systems such as Android (o ...
announced the
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of open-source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product ...

Linux
project, and where
Marc Andreessen Marc Lowell Andreessen ( ; born July 9, 1971) is an American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer. He is the co-author of Mosaic (web browser), Mosaic, the first widely used web browser; co-founder of Netscape; and co-founder and general ...

Marc Andreessen
announced the creation of the
Mosaic browser NCSA Mosaic was one of the first web browsers. It was instrumental in popularizing the World Wide Web and the general Internet by integrating multimedia such as text and graphics. It is a Client (computing), client for earlier internet protocols s ...
and the introduction of the image tag, which revolutionized the World Wide Web by turning it into a graphical medium.


Internet jargon and history

Many
jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The conte ...
terms now in common use on the Internet originated or were popularized on Usenet. Likewise, many conflicts which later spread to the rest of the Internet, such as the ongoing difficulties over
spamming Spamming is the use of messaging systems to send multiple unsolicited messages (spam) to large numbers of recipients for the purpose of commercial advertising Advertising is a marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimu ...
, began on Usenet.


Decline

Sascha Segan of ''
PC Magazine ''PC Magazine'' (shortened as ''PCMag'') is an American computer magazine Computer magazines are about computers and related subjects, such as computer network, networking and the Internet. Most computer magazines offer (or offered) advice, so ...
'' said in 2008 that "Usenet has been dying for years". Segan said that some people pointed to the
Eternal September Eternal September or the September that never ended is Usenet Usenet () is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose UUCP, Unix-to-Unix Copy (UUCP) dial-up network architecture. ...
in 1993 as the beginning of Usenet's decline, when AOL began offering Usenet access. He argues that when users began putting large (non-text) files on Usenet by the late 1990s, Usenet
disk space A spindle of DVD-RW's. Computer data storage is a technology consisting of computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can perfor ...
and traffic increased correspondingly. Internet service providers questioned why they needed to host space for binary articles. AOL discontinued Usenet access in 2005. In May 2010,
Duke University Duke University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decad ...
, whose implementation had started Usenet more than 30 years earlier, decommissioned its Usenet server, citing low usage and rising costs. On February 4, 2011, the Usenet news service link at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (news.unc.edu) was retired after 32 years. In response, John Biggs of TechCrunch said "As long as there are folks who think a command line is better than a mouse, the original text-only Social networking service, social network will live on". While there are still some active text newsgroups on Usenet, the system is now primarily used to share large files between users, and the underlying technology of Usenet remains unchanged.


Usenet traffic changes

Over time, the amount of Usenet traffic has steadily increased. the number of all text posts made in all Big-8 newsgroups averaged 1,800 new messages every hour, with an average of 25,000 messages per day. However, these averages are minuscule in comparison to the traffic in the binary groups. Much of this traffic increase reflects not an increase in discrete users or newsgroup discussions, but instead the combination of massive automated spamming and an increase in the use of ' newsgroups in which large files are often posted publicly. A small sampling of the change (measured in feed size per day) follows: In 2008, Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable and Sprint Nextel signed an agreement with Attorney General of New York Andrew Cuomo to shut down access to sources of child pornography. Time Warner Cable stopped offering access to Usenet. Verizon reduced its access to the "Big 8" hierarchies. Sprint stopped access to the ''alt.*'' hierarchies. AT&T stopped access to the ' hierarchies. Cuomo never specifically named Usenet in his anti-child pornography campaign. David DeJean of ''PC World'' said that some worry that the ISPs used Cuomo's campaign as an excuse to end portions of Usenet access, as it is costly for the Internet service providers and not in high demand by customers. In 2008 AOL, which no longer offered Usenet access, and the four providers that responded to the Cuomo campaign were the five largest Internet service providers in the United States; they had more than 50% of the U.S. ISP market share.DeJean, David. "Usenet: Not Dead Yet." ''PC World''. Tuesday October 7, 2008. . Retrieved on April 30, 2009. On June 8, 2009, AT&T announced that it would no longer provide access to the Usenet service as of July 15, 2009. AOL announced that it would discontinue its integrated Usenet service in early 2005, citing the growing popularity of weblogs, chat forums and on-line conferencing. The AOL community had a tremendous role in popularizing Usenet some 11 years earlier. In August 2009, Verizon announced that it would discontinue access to Usenet on September 30, 2009.Bode, Karl. . DSLReports. August 31, 2009. Retrieved on October 24, 2009."" Verizon Central Support. Retrieved on October 24, 2009. JANET announced it would discontinue Usenet service, effective July 31, 2010, citing Google Groups as an alternative.
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
announced that it would discontinue support for its public newsgroups (msnews.microsoft.com) from June 1, 2010, offering web forums as an alternative. Primary reasons cited for the discontinuance of Usenet service by general Internet service provider, ISPs include the decline in volume of actual readers due to competition from
blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and floor function Truncation of positive real numbers can be done using the f ...
s, along with cost and liability concerns of increasing proportion of traffic devoted to file-sharing and spam on unused or discontinued groups. Some ISPs did not include pressure from Cuomo's campaign against child pornography as one of their reasons for dropping Usenet feeds as part of their services. ISPs Cox and Atlantic Communications resisted the 2008 trend but both did eventually drop their respective Usenet feeds in 2010.


Archives

Public archives of Usenet articles have existed since the early days of Usenet, such as the system created by Kenneth Almquist in late 1982. Distributed archiving of Usenet posts was suggested in November 1982 by Scott Orshan, who proposed that "Every site should keep all the articles it posted, forever." Also in November of that year, Rick Adams responded to a post asking "Has anyone archived netnews, or does anyone plan to?" by stating that he was, "afraid to admit it, but I started archiving most 'useful' newsgroups as of September 18." In June 1982, Gregory G. Woodbury proposed an "automatic access to archives" system that consisted of "automatic answering of fixed-format messages to a special mail recipient on specified machines." In 1985, two news archiving systems and one Request for Comments, RFC were posted to the Internet. The first system, called keepnews, by Mark M. Swenson of the University of Arizona, was described as "a program that attempts to provide a sane way of extracting and keeping information that comes over Usenet." The main advantage of this system was to allow users to mark articles as worthwhile to retain. The second system, YA News Archiver by Chuq Von Rospach, was similar to keepnews, but was "designed to work with much larger archives where the wonderful quadratic search time feature of the Unix ... becomes a real problem." Von Rospach in early 1985 posted a detailed RFC for "archiving and accessing usenet articles with Index term, keyword lookup." This RFC described a program that could "generate and maintain an archive of Usenet articles and allow looking up articles based on the article-id, subject lines, or keywords pulled out of the article itself." Also included was C (programming language), C code for the internal data structure of the system. The desire to have a fulltext search index of archived news articles is not new either, one such request having been made in April 1991 by Alex Martelli who sought to "build some sort of keyword index for [the news archive]." In early May, Mr. Martelli posted a summary of his responses to Usenet, noting that the "most popular suggestion award must definitely go to 'lq-text' package, by Liam Quin, recently posted in alt.sources." The Alt Sex Stories Text Repository (ASSTR) site archives and indexes erotic and pornographic stories posted to the Usenet group alt.sex.stories. The archiving of Usenet has led to fears of loss of privacy. An archive simplifies ways to profile people. This has partly been countered with the introduction of the '' X-No-Archive, X-No-Archive: Yes'' header, which is itself controversial.


Archives by Google Groups and DejaNews

Web-based archiving of Usenet posts began in 1995 at Deja News with a very large, searchable database. In 2001, this database was acquired by Google. Google Groups hosts an archive of Usenet posts dating back to May 1981. The earliest posts, which date from May 1981 to June 1991, were donated to Google by the University of Western Ontario with the help of David Wiseman and others, and were originally archived by
Henry Spencer Henry Spencer (born 1955) is a Canadians, Canadian computer programmer and space enthusiast. He wrote "regex", a widely used Library (computing), software library for regular expressions, and co-wrote C News, a Usenet server program. He also wrote ...
at the University of Toronto's Zoology department. The archives for late 1991 through early 1995 were provided by Kent Landfield from the NetNews CD series and Jürgen Christoffel from Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung, GMD. The archive of posts from March 1995 onward was started by the company DejaNews (later Deja), which was purchased by Google in February 2001. Google began archiving Usenet posts for itself starting in the second week of August 2000. Google has been criticized by ''Vice (magazine), Vice'' and Wired (magazine), ''Wired'' contributors as well as former employees for its stewardship of the archive and for breaking its search functionality.


See also

* Usenet II * HCL_Domino#History, PLATO Notes *Usenet personality, Usenet Celebrity


Usenet newsreaders

* Newsreader (Usenet) * Comparison of Usenet newsreaders * List of Usenet newsreaders


Usenet/newsgroup service providers

* Astraweb * Easynews * Giganews * Supernews (Usenet provider), Supernews


Usenet history

* Legion of Net.Heroes * Scientology and the Internet * Serdar Argic


Usenet administrators

Usenet as a whole has no administrators; each server administrator is free to do whatever pleases him or her as long as the end users and peer servers tolerate and accept it. Nevertheless, there are a few famous administrators: * Chris Lewis (Usenet), Chris Lewis * Gene Spafford, Gene (Spaf) Spafford *
Henry Spencer Henry Spencer (born 1955) is a Canadians, Canadian computer programmer and space enthusiast. He wrote "regex", a widely used Library (computing), software library for regular expressions, and co-wrote C News, a Usenet server program. He also wrote ...
* Kai Puolamäki * Mary Ann Horton


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
IETF working group USEFOR
(USEnet article FORmat), tools.ietf.org
A-News Archive
Early Usenet news articles: 1981 to 1982., quux.org
UTZoo Archive
2,000,000 articles from early 1980s to July 1991 * Social Accounting Reporting Tool

A comprehensive history of the Internet, including Usenet. livinginternet.com

A comprehensive list of Usenet terminology {{Authority control Usenet, Computer-mediated communication Computer networks History of the Internet Internet Protocol based network software Internet protocols Internet Standards Internet culture Online chat Pre–World Wide Web online services Wikipedia articles with ASCII art Computer-related introductions in 1980 1980 establishments in North Carolina