What is Usenet?

By: Fast Usenet on: September 21st, 2011

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Early Days of Usenet

Let us start from the beginning shall we? What is Usenet? Usenet is the set of machines that exchange articles tagged with one or more universally-recognized labels, called newsgroups. As for administration of Usenet only the website that Usenet is coming through can be administered. Every administer controls his own site. No one has real control over any site but his own. The administrator gets his power from the owner of the system he administers. As long as the owner is happy with the job the administrator is doing, he can do whatever he pleases, up to and including cutting off Usenet entirely.

While doing research I came across a list of what Usenet is not. Usenet is not and organization. Usenet is not a democracy. Usenet is not fair. Usenet is not a right. Usenet is not a public utility. Usenet is not a commercial network. Usenet is not the internet. Usenet is not a Unix network, nor even an ASCII network. Usenet is not a UUCP network. And most of all Usenet is not software.

Where Did Usenet Originate?

The history of Usenet goes back to 1979, shortly after the release of V7 Unix with UUCP; Usenet was better. Two Duke University grad students in North Carolina, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, thought of hooking computers together to exchange information with the Unix community. Steve Bellovin, a grad student at the University of North Carolina, put together the first version of the news software using shell scripts and installed it on the first two sites: unc and duke.

At the beginning of 1980 the network consisted of those two sites and phs (at Duke) was described at January to rewrite the scripts into C programs, but they were never released beyond unc and duke. Shortly after Steve Daniel did another implantation in the C programming language for public distribution.

Tom Truscott made further modifications, and this became the “A” news release. In 1981 at the University of California at Berkeley, grad student Mark Horton and high school student Matt Glickman rewrote the news software to add functionality and to cope with the ever increasing volume of news because “A” news was intended for only a few articles per group per day. This rewrite was the “B” news version. The first public release was version 2.1 in 1982; all versions before 2.1 were all considered in beta test. As the Net grew, the news software was expanded and modified. The last version maintained and released primarily be Mark was 2.10.1.

A new version of news, becoming known as “C” news, has been developed at the University of Toronto by Geoff Collyer and Henry Spencer. This version is a rewrite of the lowest levels of news to increase article processing speed, decrease article expiration processing and improve the reliability of the news system through better locking. The package was released to the Net in the autumn of 1987. Usenet software has also been ported to a number of platforms, from Amiga and Ibm PCs all the way to minicomputers and mainframes.

How Has Usenet Become A Part of Pop Culture?

Usenet Newsgroups have become a part of pop culture when it became more than just downloading binaries. Yes downloading audio, video, and images is fun but you also communicate with other people from around the world. You can make new friends, debate, or just ask questions that you need answered. Usenet over the years has become a very useful tool and is usable by all ages, so you can be 18 years old or 80 years old and you can find many things for Usenet to fulfill your needs when it comes to today’s technology.