User Network (usenet)

We have just passed a milestone in the history of the internet, as Duke University shut down its Usenet server. The idea for usenet was created in 1979 and it went on to become an instrumental piece of the dramatic story of the growth in use and functionality of the internet and web. UUCP (unix to unix copy) is a protocol that was originally developed by Bell Labs primarily for file transfers and mail routing and later adapted to allow posting announcements and news stories. These posting articles were eventually sorted into categories known as newsgroups that grew to become valuable archives of knowledge. Google groups now hosts an archive that contains usenet postings back to 1981.

A Piece of Internet History – [duke.edu]

Durham, NC — This week marks the end of an era for one of the earliest pieces of Internet history, which got its start at Duke more than 30 years ago.

On May 20, Duke will shut down its Usenet server, which provides access to a worldwide electronic discussion network of newsgroups started in 1979 by two Duke graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.

Working with a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, they came up with a simple program to exchange messages and files between computers at Duke and UNC using telephone modems.

The “Users Network,” Usenet for short, grew into an international electronic discussion forum with more than 120,000 newsgroups dedicated to various topics, from local dining to computer programming languages. Each group had a distinctive name such as soc.history or sci.math.

20 Year Usenet Timeline – [google.com]

Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.

Usenet Newsgroups History – [livinginternet.com]

Who invented Usenet newsgroups? Usenet was the first Internet peer-to-peer technology. Originally created just to share files between computers, it evolved into a natural net-wide hierarchy of eight major categories plus a catch-call. The following sections provide more information:

* Netnews
* Early Hierarchies
* Network News Transfer Protocol
* Modern Hierarchies
* The Alt Hierarchy
* BITNET
* Bulletin Board Systems & FidoNet
* InterNetNews
* Commercialism
* Old Maps.

Usenet Software: History and Source – [faqs.org]

1999 – Currently, Usenet readers interact with the news using a number of software packages and programs. This article mentions the important ones and a little of their history, gives pointers where you can look for more information and ends with some special notes about “foreign” and “obsolete” software. At the very end is a list of sites from which current versions of the Usenet software may be obtained.

Netizens: An Anthology – [columbia.edu]

Part I – The Present: What Has Been Created and How?
Chapter 1 – The Net and the Netizens: The Impact the Net has on People’s Lives
Chapter 2 – The Evolution of Usenet: The Poor Man’s Arpanet
Chapter 3 – The Social Forces Behind The Development of Usenet
Chapter 4 – The World of Usenet

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