Farewell to Usenet

Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system established in 1980 which I have been using on and off since 1988 (before the advent of the Web). Google Groups host an archive of Usenet posts dating back to 1981, including this one which I posted to comp.lang.postscript in November 1988 while I was at Dartmouth College in the United States. On returning to England in 1990 I was without Usenet access until I started working at the University of Hertfordshire in 1999 where I eventually started posting again (mainly to comp.sys.sun.admin). The UH news server didn’t work very well so by the time I left my job there in 2005 I had already got myself an account at the German Usenet provider News.Individual.NET who run a pretty tight ship. In April 2005 they started charging 10 EUR per year which I have been happy to pay ever since. I read and post using a command line Usenet client called slrn which I installed on my iMac using MacPorts, but I am currently only subscribed to three groups. Over the years I have learned about NNTP (the Network News Transfer Protocol) and picked up a lot of the culture and history of Usenet but I am about to leave it all behind. Why?

I guess it is all part of an ongoing attempt to simplify my online life and spend less time sitting in front of my computer. The only Usenet group I really engage with now is comp.sys.mac.system, where I have made about two thousand posts over the past six years. At the moment the group is fairly calm but it does seem to attract trolls and I have often become involved in heated arguments, which I could do without. In future if I need to ask a Mac related question I will do so in the appropriate Apple Discussion Forum (see my User Profile). I don’t know if any of the csms regulars will miss me and some might even be glad to see the back of me, although I do believe I have made a positive contribution overall. I don’t think Usenet is dying but after nearly 22 years I have had enough of it and feel it is time to move on. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

5 responses to “Farewell to Usenet

  1. John McWilliams

    Darn sorry to learn of this, but fully understand. Been mulling over ways to limit my time on usenet, or possibly quit altogether. It’s pretty moribund.


    John McWilliams

    637 Moraga Avenue
    Piedmont, CA 94611

    Cell 604-3669

  2. Best wishes to you… Perhaps you might now and then come back in a limited way.

  3. John Varela

    Moribund? I can’t begin to keep up with all the conversation on alt.usage.english, which gets several hundred posts every day. The comp.sys.mac.apps and comp.sys.mac.system groups are more manageable, and I’ve gotten a lot of help and have learned a lot by participating in them.

    I have gone to the web forums a few times and sometimes gotten useful advice. I hate the format. Usenet is, for me, a more pleasant way to carry on a discussion.

    Of course, I’m retired and have the time to spend on Usenet.

  4. The Translucent Amoebae

    i wish i had the strengh to give it all up before it is taken away from me.

  5. A month has passed and I have not so much as taken a peek at comp.sys.mac.system so I don’t know what reaction my farewell post got. Linking from my final Usenet post to this entry gave my blog its busiest day ever, and thanks for the comments from all four of you c.s.m.s regulars.

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