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Usenet is a mailing list based collection of assorted forum groups accessed via the NNTP protocol.

Currently the major archive of this important forum is Google Groups, which absorbed DejaNews. However, there are some concerns raised by this.

  1. Google could pull Groups at its whim, with no clear donation policy to other archives.
  2. Despite Google's claims not to routinely monitor the service, postings are removed or suppressed for various reasons.
  3. Google currently offers little to distinguish USENET from its own proprietary groups.
  4. The interface used for Groups has issues with some browsers, and accessing text versions of postings is an involved process.

Google Video proves that Google might be the longest-serving goldmine of the internet, but that doesn't make it a reliable long-term host. Copies must be retained by others in safe locations.

Usenet was and is a distributed system, hence no single company or server will have the whole history of it. Some big players, however, have a good portion. Moreover, everyone with access to a news server should just download everything (non-binary) there is on it and publish it on; especially the local hierarchies not mirrored in many places. To do this, it's probably enough to put a free software newsreader at work, which saves on a standard open format? Suggestions needed.

In the meanwhile, Kahle and the Internet Archive are not resting!

It's hard to say how complete those archives will be.

Tools for sorting USENET and public mailing list archives into big Katamari style archives are available at Improvements are greatly appreciated!

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