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Could someone explain newsgroups to me?

Discussion in 'Usenet newsgroups - Help, how-tos and discussion' started by Matty_K, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Matty_K

    Matty_K Guest

    Hi all. Been havin lot of trouble recently runnin P2P software with vista, so was looking into alternative methods.
    I recently heard about newsgroups but I'm finding it rather difficult to find any useful info on the subject.
    From what i can gather its kinda like P2P but you pay a yearly subscription which makes the process a lot more reliable.

    Any info would be appreciated. Ta.
  2. Indochine

    Indochine Regular member

    Dec 21, 2006
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    The following is just a simplified description.

    A good website to visit is http://www.slyck.com

    Peer to peer (p2p) works by linking lots of individual PCs with each other. You type in a search and if one or more people out there are sharing that file you can download it. If you have files in your shared folder(s) then other people can get them from you.

    Newsgroups are different. There are news servers that are all linked to each other, and you connect to one or more of them with a program called a "news client". A news server hosts lots of newsgroups. Some newsgroups are text-only. They are meant for discussions. Others are binary newsgroups. They are meant for files such as mp3s, videos, applications, ebooks, whatever. You can download from, and upload to, a news server. Whatever you upload to a news server is copied ("propagated") to all the other news servers in the world.

    The main difference between p2p and news groups is that with p2p, you search, and if somebody has what you want, you can get it. With newsgroups, you check the list of posts in the groups you are interested in, and if you see anything you want, you can download it. If you want a particular file you can post a request message, and somebody might or might not decide to upload it. They probably won't if it was uploaded recently, so it is important to check regularly.

    Of course, there are far more people downloading than uploading. This is a big difference from p2p. Also, if you upload illegal stuff such as copyright material, (or worse. Beware!!!) the owners or the police might get interested and try to trace you or force the server owner to divulge your name and address. In general, though, they don't keep logs of what you download. You have to bear in mind that you can, either accidentally or deliberately, break the law in regard to what you download, and that is a matter that I will not comment about, but be aware.

    Some ISPs run their own good news servers, some ISPs run their own not-so-good news servers, and some don't run one at all. If your ISP is one of the last two kinds, you have to sign up for a commercial news service.

    What makes a news server good or bad?

    1. Retention. Obviously if a news server just kept storing all the millions of posts that are uploaded each day, the owners would have to keep adding hard drives and building new server buildings and therefore they only keep a certain amount. My own ISP, the British company Virginmedia, keeps about 3 days worth. After that time, posts drop off the bottom of the groups, and new ones appear at the top. A big commercial news provider like Giganews might offer more retention time.

    2. Speed. A good news server will be linked to the internet via a high speed connection that can handle lots of customers at the same time.

    3. Number of groups. Virginmedia hosts about 32,000 groups. This is pretty good for a free (that is, included in the monthly connection charge) news server.

    4. Capping. Some ISPs and some independent news providers only allow you so many GB of downloads before extra charges kick in. Some news providers offer different plans where you pay more or less fees before a cap kicks in. My ISP allows unlimited downloads.
  3. Matty_K

    Matty_K Guest

    Just wanted to say big thanks for the time & effort you put in to answering my question.


    O yeah. Thanks for the link. Useful
  4. smlvfx

    smlvfx Regular member

    Dec 9, 2006
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