(Were you looking for our page on Usenet?)
Prior to the migration of networked computers to the Internet, UNIX
computers communicated over various network protocols. One of these, the
program and protocol (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol), was used. During its era,
UUCP spawned an application service known
Usenet was originally designed by
Duke University Computer Science graduate
students Tom Truscott (interesting interview
and Jim Ellis. The first
program was authored by Steve Bellovin, a Computer Science graduate at the
University of North Carolina. Their
original goal was to create features
available over UUCP for universities which
were not yet connected to ARPANET
(the early Internet) such as mail and file transfer and announcements.
On June 28th, 2001, Jim Ellis died of
non-Hodgkins lymphoma at his home in
Pennsylvania at age 45.
After attending a meeting where Truscott and Ellis discussed their ideas,
Bellovin wrote the first version. It was comprised of 3 pages of UNIX Bourne shell scripting
language. The application was designed to move files over
the UUCP protocol between two computers
over an modem telephone connection.
The program was called "Netnews".
This early version, which was later rewritten in the C programming language,
simply checked files within directories for their last-updated timestamp,
and copied newer files if available. Connected systems included
University and the University of North
Carolina. The Duke University
Medical Center Department of Physiology was added in 1980.
In January 1980, Truscott and Ellis presented the
idea to the USENIX
conference in Boulder, Colorado. Truscott employed fellow
student Steve Daniel to rewrite a newer version which was dubbed "Netnews
Version A" (aka "A News").
As freely available public domain software with great usefulness, Netnews
spread quickly throughout the UNIX/university world.
It is unclear when "Usenet" replaced the name "Netnews",
but the relevance
of Usenet over UUCP
caused the two terms to often be used interchangeably
(incorrectly). In 1982 a USENIX vote
resulted in Usenet (the news service)
keeping its name, but the UUCP network
being renamed to UUCPNET.
This may explain why the term "Usenet" is a fairly ambiguous description of
what is now a rather narrowly-defined Internet service. The
"World Wide Web"
and "Email", by contrast, are more descriptive. This is probably one reason
why the Usenet retained a fairly under-the-radar following compared to these
services as the Internet exploded in popularity in the mid nineties.
In 1982, Matt Glickman and Mark Horton authored Netnews Version B (aka "B
News") in order to deal with increasing traffic loads. In 1984, Rick Adams
at the Center for Seismic Studies took over maintenance of Version B.
In 1985, the Network News Transfer Protocol allowed Usenet traffic to be
routed natively over TCP/IP rather than bootstrapped from UUCP, and today of
course the majority of Usenet traffic is originated and distributed over the
Henry Spencer and Geoff Collyer at the University of Toronto took over in
1989 to write Netnews Version C for Netnews ("C News") to obtain even
In the early 90's InterNetNews (INN) was developed to take greater advantage
of the Usenet's continuous flow of messages made possible via NNTP vs the
"store and forward" methods in use at that time.
Bill Stuart's Living Internet http://www.livinginternet.com/u/ui_netnews.htm
The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/06/29/usenet_creator_dead/
Rick Adams http://www.answers.com/topic/rick-adams