Usenet was created as a sharing medium for ideas and opinions. In the early stages of Usenet, there were no newsgroup binaries and everything was focused on messaging in clear text. As the technology evolved over the years, the peering networks which work together to make Usenet possible, were gradually becoming more advanced and their servers were able to handle some binary traffic. Today, more than 70% of the total newsgroup traffic consists of newsgroup binaries. The hierarchy “alt.binaries” alone accounts for over 70% of the total Usenet traffic.
As Usenet relies on the NNTP protocol for maintaining orderly communications between peers, it is more or less chained to this technology. As a result, newsgroup binaries must be encoded as clear text and transmitted to the servers this way. This is extremely inefficient from bandwidth and speed point of view as downloading a newsgroup binary file of 1MB in fact requires transferring roughly 1.25MB.
Often the newsgroup binaries posts on Usenet are archived in order to save bandwidth to the poster. In addition, most Usenet providers allow only files smaller than 100MB on their networks so posters split even further the archives using specialized posting software programs to ensure they propagate around the world seamlessly.
Combining multiple parts of newsgroup binaries in order to obtain useful information may not be fun but it sure is worth the effort! Despite, the setbacks Usenet is facing as a result of its foundations, it is an excellent environment for sharing newsgroup binaries. From videos to programs, anyone is able to post his or her creation and present it to the world for free!