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Usenet History

In the late 1970s, Unix developers came up with a new feature: a system to allow Unix computers to exchange data over phone lines.

In 1979, two graduate students at Duke University in North Carolina, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, came up with the idea of using this system, known as UUCP (for Unix-to-Unix CoPy), to distribute information of interest to people in the Unix community. Along with Steve Bellovin, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and Steve Daniel, they wrote conferencing software and linked together computers at Duke and UNC.

Word quickly spread and by 1981, a graduate student at Berkeley, Mark Horton and a nearby high school student, Matt Glickman, had released a new version that added more features and was able to handle larger volumes of postings -- the original North Carolina program was meant for only a few articles in a newsgroup each day.

Today, Usenet connects tens of thousands of sites around the world, from mainframes to Amigas. With more than 3,000 newsgroups and untold thousands of readers, it is perhaps the world's largest computer network.

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