[Home]What is Usenet

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HTML Newsgroups

Usenet is the infrastructure that delivers newsgroups to your computer. Usenet is to newsgroups as the Internet is to Web sites.

From Eric Jarvis (15 April 2002, [comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html]):

it's Usenet...that's how it works...you ask a simple question...three people give a simple but wrong answer...five people give a complicated and equally wrong answer...three people answer in a way too complicated for anyone else to understand...five people tell you they wouldn't start from here...seven people explain why you are completely conceptually wrong...two people pedant your grammar...ten people post flippant comments usually with an ad in their sig...and if you are lucky you can end up with either a solution to a problem or a completely different problem to work on....
but...in just about every case...the useful information isn't going to appear until late in the thread...after everyone has had a good dig at the underlying assumptions and the context has been thoroughly discussed."

Jukka Korpela has some [interesting material on Usenet].

[RCS - Random Capitalization Syndrome]?

Comments --
Much of modern Usenet relies on NNTP.

Network News Transport Protocol, RFC? 977, urn:ietf:rfc:977

(Since this Wiki and your lousy browser (louser?) don't handle URNs, get [NNTP at IETF], [NNTP from the RFC Editor], or [NNTP at ISI].) (I know, that's totally focused on the United States of America, so go find your nearby [RFC repository]?.)

Although, oddly enough, a URL to a newsgroup is prefixed with "news:" rather than "nntp:".

This isn't accurate. Both scheme?s exist, so I can have

just as I can have

I believe that at the time of writing, September 2003, the "news" scheme? is more widely supported than the "nntp" scheme?, with the latter falling out of use.

Note also that news://news.example.net/newsgroup.name is the format. It is tempting to use news://newsgroup.name but that does not work.
(correction: If your news reader is configured with a news server name, news://newsgroup.name URLs should function)

And, to add to the fun, that's not even allowed! Whoopee! "Uniform Resource Locators (URL)", RFC? 1738 (<urn:ietf:rfc:1738>), published December 1994, is the only finalized and public specification of the "news" and "nntp" scheme?s. The allowed syntax is


Note: a percent sign ("%") in a message ID must be escaped for use in a URI?. So, if you want to refer to a message that bears the field

Message-ID: <a%b@example.net>
you would use the URL

Only "nntp" URLs may include server information:


Why the two scheme?s? The "news" scheme? is a generalist: use any server you find handy, and any protocol, for that matter. Heck, dig the message out of your local filesystem if you can. In this respect "news" URI?s are like URN?s. The "nntp" scheme? is more rigid: go to this particular server using the NNTP.

There is an expired [Internet Draft]?, slightly misnamed ["The 'news' URL scheme"], that set out to redefine the "news" and "nntp" scheme?s and to define the "snews" scheme?. These redefinitions allow server information in a "news" URI?. urn:ietf:id:draft-gilman-news-url-01

The Usenet is now also being used to carry a lot of [usenet binaries]. These include images, video, mp3 and software content.

Oh and one last note: USENET or Usenet? Doesn't matter, as far as I (Etan Wexler) can tell. But don't write "UseNet".

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Last edited September 25, 2003 3:48 pm (diff)

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