The NewsDemon Blog

40 Years of Usenet: The Online Milestones & Timeline

By Newsgroup Usenet January 31st, 2020

 

What a long, strange trip it’s been. For 40 years, Usenet has brought together people all over the world. Creating communities, sharing ideas, interests, conversations and more. Without it, who knows what would have become of the internet we all know today?

 

Would Tim Berners-Lee (who was an active participant on Usenet) ever create the World Wide Web?  Larry Page was also part of Usenet groups, seeking answers to Java questions. Would he have been able to figure them out without Usenet to later create Google? Luckily, we pushed away those altered paths by the birth and sustaining resources Usenet newsgroups have been able to provide. And not just for individuals, but also as the foundation and framework for many other online platforms that have been created since (we’re looking at you, Reddit and Twitter) 

 

In celebration of the first 40 years, we’ve included a timeline of major milestones in the online world since Usenet has been released to the masses and the advancements…and sometimes a step back….we’ve taken throughout this historic journey.

 

 

1979

Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, graduate students at Duke University, conceived a computer network to link together those in the Unix community. They met and discussed their idea with other interested students, including Steve Bellovin, a graduate student at the neighboring University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Once the program was functioning on their respective machines, Jim Ellis went to a meeting of what was then the academic Unix users group known as Usenix. This marks the origin  of USENET

 

1980

During the summer of 1980 at a Usenix meeting in Delaware, Usenet was first announced via handouts that were distributed at the conference that explained the technology and goals that Usenet could offer.

Usenet is launched

 

1991

On August 6, 1991 Tim Berners-Lee (while working at CERN in Switzerland) announced his idea for the WorldWideWeb on the usenet group alt.hypertext. The post was one of the most important steps in bringing the modern communication age into existence.

 

1993

The Eternal September (September that never ended). It refers to the time period when Usenet saw its heaviest influx of users and especially newbies, after AOL starting providing Usenet access to its users.

Also, the first Web browser, Mosaic (created by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications), is released. Mosaic later becomes Netscape which ultimately fails, but partially rises again within the soul of Firefox.. 

 

1994

SSL was developed by Netscape in order to secure communications between a client and server online.

TLS was actually based off of SSL 3.0, despite this, the two are not interchangeable.

Amazon is first launched. 

Forté Agent, one of the first and a highly popular usenet newsreaders, was conceived

 

1996

Many who have been kicked off of newsgroups for breaking Usenet rules find sanctuary in ICQ

 

 

1997

A little company called Netflix is launched with a business model that consists of DVD sales and rentals by mail.

The Usenet Death Penalty (UDP) is implemented to combat spam

 

1998

The birth of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Google was founded. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) is created to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks.

At the same time, a new version of accessing Newsgroups, named Usenet II was launched.

 

1999

Wireless technology called 802.11b, more commonly referred to as Wi-Fi, is standardized

Accessing Usenet newsgroups without an ethernet cable is now a thing.

 

2000

The dot-com bubble bursts. Web sites such as Yahoo! and eBay are hit by a large-scale denial of service attack, highlighting the vulnerability of the Internet. AOL merges with Time Warner

Deja.com sells its Usenet archive to Google

 

2001

Blackberry is the first internet cellphone with push email.

Google Groups is launched that provides a gateway to Usneet newsgoups via a shared user interface.

 

2004

In his dorm, Mark Zuckerberg launches a small social website named Facebook

Usenet still leads as the largest online community.

Thunderbird, a Mozilla Foundation product, is released and is a Usenet newsreader

 

2005

YouTube and Reddit are launched. Cat videos explode online.

Newsdemon is born

 

2006

Twitter is launched (#hashtagseverywhere). By the end of the year, the number of websites reaches 100 million.

Usenet reaches 7.54 Million Daily Posts

 

2007

First iPhone is released. Hulu was launched.

Access to over 1 billion newsgroup articles in over 100,000 newsgroups are available on Usenet

 

2008

Google index reaches one trillion URLs. Android Market is launched.

PC Magazine declares Usenet dead, later that year they announce they will stop printing their magazine.

Usenet traffic exceeds all previous years.

NZB is born. SABnzbd is first released.

 

2009

Tom Trustcott and Brad Templeton reflect on and celebrate the 30th anniversary of Usenet with NewsDemon

ARPANET turns 40

 

2010

Photo sharing evolves with the launch of Pinterest and Instagram. The first iPad is released.

Usenet achieves 5.42 TiB in daily volume

 

2011

First NZB newsreader is released for iOS and Android phones. Linux turns 20

Newsdemon reaches 1000 Days Binary Retention

 

2012

The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which would have enacted broad new rules requiring internet service providers to police copyrighted content. The successful push to stop the bill, involving technology companies such as Google and nonprofit organizations including Wikipedia and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (where Brad Templeton is a chairman), is considered a victory for Usenet and sites such as YouTube that depend on user-generated content, as well as “fair use” online..

 

2016

Google unveils Google Assistant, a voice-activated personal assistant program, marking the entry of the Internet giant into the “smart” computerized assistant marketplace. Google joins Amazon’s Alexa, Siri from Apple, and Cortana from Microsoft.

 

2018

The Cambridge Analytica scandal rocks Facebbok and sees a mass exodus from its social platform.

Usenet users and newsgroup posts remain anonymous.

 

2019

The World Wide Web turns 30 Years Old

Newsdemon launches new website

 

2020

Usenet continues on, 40 years strong