What is the Usenet?

The Usenet is the decentralized network of news servers and users. It is the oldest, still existing network for exchanging messages and files.  There are many provider but most of them suck, check bestusenetprovider.net/ to find the best one!

When was it created?

It was created in 1979. 3 students at the University of North Carolina and Duke University connected the computers of their universities over the telephone line using the UUCP (Unix To Unix Copy Protocol). From these primitive beginnings, the Usenet emerged within a few years.

The name Usenet was coined during a Usenix conference because it was originally a network of Unix computers. This remained so until the forerunner of the Internet, the Arpanet, was released to the wider public and became the Internet.

By converting Usenet to the TCP/IP of the Internet, computers with other operating systems were able to participate in Usenet for the first time. A new protocol was created for Usenet, the NNTP. However, the original UUCP was not abolished, but continues to exist in parallel, so that the Usenet could in principle still work independently of the Internet. Thus, although the NNTP has become part of the Internet, it is still an independent network and not just a protocol of the Internet.

How does the Usenet work?

The Usenet as a decentralized network works because news servers are also connected decentrally and automatically distribute new contributions and binary files uploaded to the Usenet to their peering partners. Although the peering agreements are also negotiated locally, each news server is connected to the entire Usenet network. Each news server has at least one peering partner. This peering partner in turn is connected to other news servers by peering agreements, so that all news servers are connected to each other decentrally.

These peering agreements often lead to complicated paths from the original news server via which something was uploaded to the Usenet to the news server from which the user downloads it. Sometimes there are more than ten news servers in between because there are no direct peering agreements between the original news server and the news server from which the user requests the file.

On each of these news servers, which are connected in between, the text messages and binary files coming from the original server are stored for retrieval by the user’s own customers and forwarded to the peering partners.

The Usenet itself is only the decentralized network for the distribution of contributions to the participating news servers and thus ultimately to users throughout the world. Nothing is stored in the Usenet itself, the Usenet only serves to distribute newly uploaded postings to the news servers.

  • No news server stores all newsgroups.
  • The administrator of the news server already determines which newsgroups offered by his peering partners are transferred to his news server by the default settings of his news server.
  • The administrator also determines how long these contributions are stored before they are deleted again.

As a rule, all newsgroups offered by the peering partners are automatically taken over according to the default settings of the news server (e.g. no newsgroups of the alternative Usenet hierarchy for university news servers). If newsgroups are removed manually, it is because they are suspected of being used mainly to distribute criminal content.

This means that the news servers differ both in terms of the storage period and the newsgroups managed. On the news servers of universities, unless they have already withdrawn from the Usenet, no binary files are stored and the entire hierarchy of the Usenet alt.binaries intended for binary files is excluded.

Conversely, it is precisely this hierarchy that not only keeps the Usenet alive, but has also helped the Usenet to a renaissance after a decline in the late 1990s.