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Usenet: The Epitome of Internet Download Freedom

July 7th, 2010

Have you ever wondered why Usenet is so popular? How did an older technology manage to last so long? How can Usenet compete with other file downloading technologies? This article will attempt to answer these questions for you.

Usenet was first created over thirty years ago as a way for academics in different areas to carry on discussions over long distances. Discussions were posted on different servers. Users would login directly to the servers to post responses and add to the discussion. With the advent of personal computers, people wanted to be able to login directly from their PCs. As more information started to be put on Usenet servers, the information was organized in a hierarchal fashion into newsgroups. Newsgroups each hosted different categories of ongoing discussions. People could now subscribe to the newsgroups they were interested in and they would receive any and all updates to that newsgroup.

So why is Usenet so popular? I believe it is because there is no censorship on Usenet. You can find anything you could possibly imagine. If you can think of it, chances are it is out on Usenet somewhere. Usenet is also anonymous. Unlike Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Usenet providers, which are how you log into Usenet servers, do not keep logs or records of user downloads/uploads. I feel these are the main reasons not only is Usenet popular, but the reasons it has lasted so long.

Usenet is the epitome of the freedom of speech. The only restrictions to what may be found on Usenet are what the users themselves decide to post. The Internet is restricted by ISPs, as well as local governments. Governments may try to restrict Usenet and make certain servers delete certain posts, but chances are it was already propagated onto another server somewhere else. With more and more countries trying to control and censor the Internet, I feel Usenet will only become more popular.