Simple Introduction to Usenet NEWS

What is Usenet NEWS?

Usenet NEWS is an international conferencing system built on a 'bulletin-board' model. With this model the user posts a message to a subject area known as a 'newsgroup.' Each newsgroup contains 'postings' from people interested in that subject area. The user may run a Usenet NEWS client program to examine current postings in a newsgroup, make their own posting to a newsgroup, or do related functions such as printing the posting, saving the posting for later use, or forwarding the posting to another person.

Usenet NEWS newsgroups follow a naming hierarchy that attempts to reflect the subject of the newsgroup and, at the same time, break high-volume newsgroups into more manageable subgroups. In the Penn State computing environment a number of special newsgroup hierarchies have been developed. One of these is the PSU. hierarchy, which limits distribution to Penn State computer systems and serves for discussion related to Penn State.

Usenet NEWS is a client/server system.

Usenet NEWS works as a client/server system. The user runs a program on their local computer (or host) known as a Usenet NEWS 'client.' The client handles the user interface and takes advantage of the capabilities of the local computer. The client translates user requests into commands for the Usenet NEWS 'server,' which follows nntp (network news transfer protocol) rules for distributing postings.

The CAC Usenet NEWS server has the name news.psu.edu. Clients that connect to this server will access the special Penn State newsgroup hierarchies. They will also have access to a number of Bitnet LISTSERV conferences that have been subscribed by the server. Clients typically require some installation, including designation of the server address, gateway address, client system IP number, and client system name.

Usenet NEWS clients

A number of Usenet NEWS clients are available to people in the Penn State computing community. The choice of a client will depend on the type of computer you are using and the method you are using to access Usenet NEWS. Following is a list of clients available via CAC services:

PSUVM

PSUVM users may run the NETNEWS client to access Usenet NEWS. The PSUVM command HELP NETNEWS may be used to obtain further information on the use of the NETNEWS client for Usenet NEWS. One unique feature of the PSUVM client is the PRIVATE. hierarchy, which provides private conferencing for Penn State courses.

IBM (DOS/Windows) Systems

The TRUMPET client may be used to access Usenet NEWS. This will require that your PS/2 be connected to the Internet either via a local LAN and data backbone gateway or by dialup through the CAC Access Project SLIP/PPP software. Posting is only available from clients that support authentication and when the user has a CAC access account.

Trumpet is available from the CAC anonymous ftp server, ftp.cac.psu.edu, in the directory /pub/access/dos.

Macintosh

The Nuntius client may be used to access Usenet NEWS. This will require that your macintosh be connected to the Internet either via a local LAN and data backbone gateway or through the CAC Access Project software. Posting is only available from clients that support authentication and when the user has a CAC access account.

Nuntius is available from the CAC anonymous ftp server, ftp.cac.psu.edu, in the directory /pub/access/mac.

Sun Cluster

A number of Usenet NEWS clients are available to users of the CAC Sun Cluster. Following is a brief list. Man pages should be available for each of these, except for gnus, whose help is available from within emacs.

For More Information

A lot of information regarding Usenet NEWS is available on the World Wide Web. Follow the link http://cac.psu.edu/~santoro/cac/inex/netnews.html for a listing of the best Usenet NEWS documents and resources.


This page is maintained and made available for educational use by Dr. Gerry Santoro, gms@psu.edu