Skip to main content

Usenet services have been made unnecessary…

“…by the growing use of blogs, social networking sites and RSS feeds.”

Duke University, 2010

The end of an era.

Major ISP’s have been shedding their Usenet services for years, but when the originator of the service dumps it, the Internet really ought to mark a date on a global calendar somewhere.

Comments

  1. I agree, to an extent. The Pirate Bay has probably done more to obsolete Usenet than anything. I do hope there's a good archive of alt.sysadmin.recovery out there somewhere, though.

    As far as the protocol deathwatch goes, I will point out that gopher://umn.edu isn't exactly a font of knowledge anymore (and gopher.tc.umn.edu isn't even responding).

    Though I have to say I don't miss Bitnet.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm surprised that's still running. They really ought to announce it's death, hold a funeral and move on.

    ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Will it also be unnecessary when people be on mars? The nice thing about usenet is that it is a large distributed system which can't be said about most rss feeds, blogs, etc.

    Usenet was and still is very cool technology and the same for regular http proxy servers which more and more ISP's seem to ditch.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ramon - good point. The store-and-forward nature of usenet would make it far more usable in high latency situations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Necessity" has to be measured by the usefulness of the service, and, unfortunately, Usenet has grown close to useless. But blogs, social networking sites, and RSS feeds don't really replace what Usenet used to be: the multi-user messaging system for all Internet users.

    Once upon a time, at least before the Endless September, if you had a technical question, post to Usenet and have a reasonable chance of getting an intelligent answer, because anyone who knew the answer was also on Usenet. Now, you have to find the right blog or web messaging board (and good luck finding one where the denizens are intelligent and helpful). Usenet had massive positive network externalities back in the day, and nothing—not even Facebook—has managed to equal it.

    Of course, one could argue that Usenet was doomed in the post-Endless September world, and the properties that made it so useful are the reasons it couldn't recover from being overrun with spam and naughty binaries. But gods, was it wonderful back in the good old days.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jim -

    "because anyone who knew the answer was also on Usenet" is the part that I miss the most. That body of expertise is scattered about on random forums mailing lists and #irc channels, likely never to be so concentrated in one spot again.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Cargo Cult System Administration

“imitate the superficial exterior of a process or system without having any understanding of the underlying substance” --Wikipedia During and after WWII, some native south pacific islanders erroneously associated the presence of war related technology with the delivery of highly desirable cargo. When the war ended and the cargo stopped showing up, they built crude facsimiles of runways, control towers, and airplanes in the belief that the presence of war technology caused the delivery of desirable cargo. From our point of view, it looks pretty amusing to see people build fake airplanes, runways and control towers  and wait for cargo to fall from the sky.The question is, how amusing are we?We have cargo cult science[1], cargo cult management[2], cargo cult programming[3], how about cargo cult system management?Here’s some common system administration failures that might be ‘cargo cult’:Failing to understand the difference between necessary and sufficient. A daily backup is necessary, b…

Ad-Hoc Verses Structured System Management

Structured system management is a concept that covers the fundamentals of building, securing, deploying, monitoring, logging, alerting, and documenting networks, servers and applications. Structured system management implies that you have those fundamentals in place, you execute them consistently, and you know all cases where you are inconsistent. The converse of structured system management is what I call ad hoc system management, where every system has it own plan, undocumented and inconsistent, and you don't know how inconsistent they are, because you've never looked.

In previous posts (here and here) I implied that structured system management was an integral part of improving system availability. Having inherited several platforms that had, at best, ad hoc system management, and having moved the platforms to something resembling structured system management, I've concluded that implementing basic structure around system management will be the best and fastest path to …

The Cloud – Provider Failure Modes

In The Cloud - Outsourcing Moved up the Stack[1] I compared the outsourcing that we do routinely (wide area networks) with the outsourcing of the higher layers of the application stack (processor, memory, storage). Conceptually they are similar:
In both cases you’ve entrusted your bits to someone else, you’ve shared physical and logical resources with others, you’ve disassociated physical devices (circuits or servers) from logical devices (virtual circuits, virtual severs), and in exchange for what is hopefully better, faster, cheaper service, you give up visibility, manageability and control to a provider. There are differences though. In the case of networking, your cloud provider is only entrusted with your bits for the time it takes for those bits to cross the providers network, and the loss of a few bits is not catastrophic. For providers of higher layer services, the bits are entrusted to the provider for the life of the bits, and the loss of a few bits is a major problem. The…