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The Effort to Save Duke University's Usenet Server
May 1, 2010
Thomas Mennecke
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The story of the newsgroups began in 1979 at Duke University. There, students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis brought to life one of the most enduring aspects of the Internet - Usenet, or the newsgroups. Usenet was the first public social gathering places, where people could find common topics to discuss a wide variety of subjects; for example, the newsgroup talk.politics.misc would focus its subject matter on political discussion. The variety of topics, even to this day, continue to be near-endless.

After 30 years of service, it seems that Duke will be shutting down their news server, following a common trend among ISPs. Their rational isn't much different than RoadRunner, Sprint, or Verizon: low usage and high cost. From Duke University:

"On May 20, OIT will be decommissioning Godzilla (godzilla.acpub.duke.edu), an older Solaris login server, and the News Groups server (news.duke.edu) that provides a Usenet news service. The services that were available through Godzilla are now available through the newer, Linux multi-user login servers, login1.oit.duke.edu and login2.oit.duke.edu, and the Usenet services have been made unnecessary by the growing use of blogs, social networking sites and RSS feeds.

"If you have any questions or concerns about the servers being decommissioned, please contact the OIT Service Desk."

Because of the historical significance of Duke's news server, Newsgroup Reviews is focusing an effort to save this slice of Internet history. Duke's post doesn't seem to leave much room for consideration, but it should be interesting to see how much feedback Duke receives, or what level of momentum against the shutdown builds.

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