A basic description of Usenet and its evolution is simple – a network of computers operating the same basic protocols. That is, a computer can connect to Usenet in one of many ways. It can be plugged in, plugged away, or even connected remotely, if that computer has access to the Internet. In the case of computers without an external Internet connection, it is the Usenet itself which provides access.
Computers that have Usenet access run through the same protocol as users do. The classic protocol for this type of computer is called BBSS. This stands for “Better Shared Services Service”. The red, green, and blue dots on the usenet servers represent the different groups that they host.
arrows between news servers point to the users who have posted messages to the Usenet in that group. In older technology, this was done through the USENET service itself. In newer systems, groups provide their own news servers to other users. To sign up for a news group, the user provides their name, email address, and account location. These details are passed along to the news server, so that the group can assign an IP address to the user.
Another way to access the Usenet is through peer-to-peer (PTP) services. PTP servers allow only one connection at a time to be made to the Usenet. They are used when a user wants to post a message to several news servers. They also come in handy when a person wants to post something to several groups at once. Peer-to-peer services have their own news servers, but most of the Usenet still runs on a singular PTP server. The most recent Usenet systems have a “daisy tree” structure, where new messages are passed down the chain of command until they reach the actual user.
There are two major types of Usenet services that have become the default way for many Internet users. File compression and compressing of the Usenet data has been one of the biggest technological leaps forward in years. Compression improves download speeds, because a large file doesn’t have to be downloaded to the user’s hard drive, instead only having to be read from their Usenet directory. Because the size of the file is significantly smaller, downloading is much faster.
An alternative to the file sharing method used by most Usenet services is the simultaneous reader/post system. This type of service allows the reader of a particular article to post it to a number of other locations across the world at once. Because many users access the same newsgroups, this makes newsgroup Synchronization much easier. Newsgroups often contain images and multimedia, and synchronizing them across different computers requires very sophisticated technologies. Most Usenet directories to support both methods of Synchronization.
Most Usenet services allow users to search for only certain types of material. The traditional newsgroups, named X-News, contain only text. There are some newsgroups, called the Unmoderated newsgroups, which allow for the posting of pictures and audio files. Some Usenet newsgroups allow for both types of content, at the same time.
The Usenet was primarily an information service, until the availability of downloadable software made binaries legal. As more newsgroups became available with the availability of downloadable software, binary-only newsgroups appeared. The majority of Usenet services discourage the use of binaries on the net, because there is the possibility of exposing data that may be private. However, many individuals still post binaries to the Usenet, in an effort to circumvent the limitations of the traditional newsgroups system.
Google groups has an additional advantage in comparison to the traditional Usenet. Because the search engine giant controls the distribution of most material posted on the service, it is able to provide a service that is almost identical to the Usenet. The major difference between binary-only newsgroups and Usenet newsgroups, is that while the former allow for the posting of virtually any kind of content, the latter does not. Google groups allows for the posting of text, pictures and video files.
Binary-only newsgroups are subject to very high retention times. A person can post a newsgroup as many times as he wants, but each post will retain its reference to the time at which it was placed. This can result in a large number of references to the same content, creating what is known as “viral” effects. Google’s service providers do have a mechanism that will expire a post after a specific retention period, but the fact that each reference is retained makes this a less potent form of tuning.
On the other hand, the Usenet has no provision for users to store content other than text. This is the major disadvantage of the newsgroups when compared with the more popular and well known binary options. Users must choose their service provider based upon their needs, and for users who have already invested in highly functional open-source software, the Usenet has little competition. For those who want the choice of binary options, however, the Usenet is the clear leader. If you have no use for the Usenet, at least look into newsreaders that operate under the Linux operating system.