/yoos'net/ or /yooz'net/ (Or "Usenet news", from "Users' Network") A distributed bulletin board
system and the people who post and read articles thereon. Originally implemented in 1979 - 1980 by Steve Bellovin, Jim Ellis, Tom Truscott, and Steve Daniel at Duke University, and supported mainly by Unix
machines, it swiftly grew to become international in scope and, before the advent of the World-Wide Web
, probably the largest decentralised information utility in existence.
Usenet encompasses government agencies, universities, high schools, businesses of all sizes, and home computers of all descriptions. In the beginning, not all Usenet hosts were on the Internet. As of early 1993, it hosted over 1200 newsgroups
("groups" for short) and an average of 40 megabytes (the equivalent of several thousand paper pages) of new technical articles, news, discussion, chatter, and flamage
every day. By November 1999, the number of groups had grown to over 37,000.
To join in you originally needed a news reader
program but there are now several web gateways, cheifly Google Groups (http://groups.google.com/) (originally Deja News). Some web browsers
include news readers and URLs
beginning "news:" refer to Usenet newsgroups. Network News Transfer Protocol
is a protocol
used to transfer news articles between a news server
and a news reader
. The uucp protocol
was sometimes used to transfer articles between servers, though this is probably rare now that most sites are on the Internet
Notes on news (http://ifi.uio.no/~larsi/notes/notes.html) by Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen .
[Gene Spafford , "What is Usenet?", regular posting to news:news.announce.newusers].