Beyond The Internet – Discover The World of Usenet

The following article is brought to you by UseNeXt. -Ed.

GlobusWith the rise of the computer age, nerds and geeks have become increasingly popular. It has changed our perception of them, from young computer nerds working in garages turning into billionaires to one of today’s most popular TV show “The Big Bang Theory”: nerds are funny, nerds are successful and, ultimately, nerds are cool.

And let’s be honest: we all act a little geeky or nerdy sometimes. We post, share and like stuff on Facebook, follow Tweets or are registered in some kind of online forum. We connect. We network. How the world has changed!


Before there was something like the internet, three students from the University of North Carolina and Duke University connected two UNIX computers and therefore created an alternative to the Arpanet, which was controlled by the US military and various research facilities. Since then, the Usenet has been a trendsetter. Some examples?

– Scott Fahlman created the symbols 🙂 and :-(. They were intended as “joke markers” and have since expanded as the global phenomenon of Smileys and Emoticons and exist in uncountable variety.
– The expression “LOL” was first introduced in a newsgroup discussion in June of 1990 and has, much like the smileys and emoticons, gained worldwide fame and usage.
– Linus Benedict Torvalds tried to connect his computer to the UNIX-server of his university in Helsinki, Finland in October 1991. Torvalds realized that slowly but surely he was creating an own operating system. He integrated requests, ideas and suggestions of the Usenet community. The operating system is today known as Linux.
– In September 1995 the Comic Book Guy character in “The Simpsons” is searching the newsgroup alt.nerd.obsessive for information. At the time, this was meant as a parody to the existing newsgroup. However, in 1997, the newsgroup alt.nerd.obsessive was created for real.

So web 2.0 ideas like discussion forums are not really that new. But is that all there is to the Usenet? Why sign up (and pay) for something I can do for free on the internet?

Because it offers more than just a platform for discussion.

In more than 100.000 newsgroups the Usenet offers 6.000 Terrabyte of data and includes also binary files, including user-created works, open-source software, and public domain material. It is a creative marketplace.

So if you want to try out and discover the world of the Usenet for yourself you can do so two weeks for free: the Usenet provider UseNeXT offers a two week free trial period, including 40GB (instead of the regular 10GB) of download volume with access to all data available! Simply go to and sign up for free.