Usenet & Mailing Lists Lore


Version 0.13: March 2009


Usenet is not the real world.
It does not even resemble the real world.

(Refounded by Kane in January 2005)
Adversus solem ne loquitor

Main USENET Topics

Related Topics

Pre-Introduction and Google's Usenet mask

I realised that we need a link to the even more older lore (Gopher) and one to google's usenet's search engine: google groups, that have now fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives, and offer access to more than 1 billion messages, dating back to 1981!     This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled... and a fascinating first-hand historical account.

Also note that google groups now indexes a LOT of messageboards that are -strictly speaking- outside Usenet
(you may now choose "Search: all groups" ==> &sitesearch= or "Search: Google Groups" ==> &

Go to Google Groups Home  
 Advanced Groups Search Groups Help | About Google 

Find messages
with all of the words
with the exact phrase
with at least one of the words
without the words
Newsgroup Return only messages from the newsgroup
(Example:, comp.os.*, *linux*)
Subject Return only messages where the subject contains
Author Return only messages where the author is
Message ID Find the message with message ID
Language Return messages written in
Message Dates
  Return messages posted between and
  Search:          all groups           Google Groups


Usenet. Ah, yes, usenet, I remember... many many years ago, back in the winner of ninety-two, before the commercial invaders transformed the web in a tasteless soup, there already existed a global system of thousands of interest-based boards, called "newsgroups," that offered instant access to information and online community, as well as a quite effective system for trading executables, documents, sound and picture files: Usenet.

Usenet still exists, but it has largely faded into relative obscurity -proportionally- since the rise of the Web in the mid-'90s. Its exact proportions are anybody's guess, but it is calculated that the number of peple using Usenet (were 15-20 millions back in 2002) is only a quarter of the number of people using PRIVATE messageboards around the world (60-80 millions in 2002). These relative proportions shouldn't have changed much.
Most young readers have probably never even heard of Usenet. But that is a mistake: many of those that do post on Usenet are hugely informed, bright and opinionated netiziens. A good guide for beginners is Uzi Paz' usenet access guide.

Usenet will give you an incredible mass of micro-information, with mostly very useful results, especially for seeking, combing, klebing and stalking purposes. In fact the importance of usenet as huge repository of files, programs and ideas is so staggering that it does not wonder me that the big commercial powers of the web are actively trying to AVOID people using it.
Keep in mind -however- that usenet searching can be VERY time-consuming, and that some special skills are needed to perform it with an high degree of effectiveness.

To access 'correctly' usenet you should use news reader software which provides a convenient user interface in order to list, track and display the articles you may be interested in. The same software also allows composing and submitting new articles, should you want to contribute (or lure or troll). All you need to know is the newsserver machine name, which you will use to configure appropriately your software. There are many free versions of news reader software, moreover a news reader is built into many Internet Browsers. One of the best news readers is, imo, nomadnews, that has unfortunately a 25 days ~ limited use protection so simple that even a kid could bypass it (which also means that you'll easily find hundreds of "ready made cracks" for it all around the web... tsch tsch... when will programmers learn how to protect better their appz?).
Nomadnews' advantage is that it will automatically "reconstruct" multipart postings into one single file (which is of great use when downloading huge software applications, films, music and so on).

To peruse usenet, you must access a news server, which is nothing else than a computer system which provides shared storage for Usenet articles. Usenet must use "shared storage" because its total volume is truly HUGE. Instead of requiring each reader to obtain and store 200,000 articles in 2 GBytes per day, the articles can be kept in a central location and thus can be "shared" by many readers.
This sharing works in the following way: when you request to read an article, a copy is sent from the server to your news reader. After you read the first article and move onto the next, the copy is usually discarded, so it does not take up space on your computer.
In most cases, news servers are accessed using the Internet, but they can be accessed over a LAN, if such a news server exists on the LAN.
Note that most internet service subscribtions include access to a news server which you can use for free. In order to make profit, many news servers are not open to the general public (ahem... in theory :-) in fact in recent years they have been more and more commercially "bastardized" for exclusive use by "customers".
I will list here various links that you can use to peruse usenet and to access usenet "on the fly" during your queries.

Be aware of some typical usenet "quirks": Each server has ONLY A PART of the total articles. Your news reader can only display articles which are present on the news server you access. If an article is not present on the server, it is because either that article has never arrived at your server, or it has been cancelled, or else it has expired.
Because there is a limited amount of storage on a local news server, articles "must" expire. But fortunately, the accumulated body of information of Usenet is not lost: There are a number of WWW sites which archive and index Usenet articles. Thus you can retrieve posts which have expired (or perhaps had not even arrived) at your local news server.
Instead of asking a question in a news group, you can use the Usenet archives to retrieve articles which discussed your question long ago.
By searching first and posting questions only if you find no answers, everyone will be much happier (this is valid for messageboards as well, btw :-)
Searching first you will get an answer faster. You don't have to wait for your message to reach the far corners of the world. You don't have to rely on someone nice enough to write a reply. Perhaps those in the know aren't listening right now, even if they answered the same question in depth in the past.
Searching offers an added advantage: you will also find the groups which have an interest in your topic. Do not underestimate it. So if you cannot find the answer in the archived messages, you will have a good starting place to ask questions.

A final word of WARNING: there are a series of anonymity concerns that you should consider when posting on usenet. Visit my [anonymity] section or read directly my [When posting on Usenet] snippet.

We will examine'general' newsgroups repositories, but remember that there are also many 'specific' usenet repositories (which are of course time-limited). For instance, say, the slick Austrian small 15-days repository for [software reversing newsgroups] or -as Giglio points in his '[Zen of porn-images searching]' some huge 10-days repositories for all sort of erotic (and non-erotic) newsgroups à la Guba.
See [the importance of names] to understand why these repositories can be QUITE useful, just delivering you all the necessary 'angles' (and names) for your searches and queries... even in those rare cases where you should not manage to get inside them for good simply guessing, finding or passwording your entrance :-).

Ach... I almost forgot... THIS interesting attempt to create a [Usenet 2] could help you understand some of the topics involved...

Finally it is worth underlining that Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 1 billion messages, dating back to 1981.
This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.


USENET Clients


NZB Support
Windows & GNU/Linux


One of the better freeware binary leechers. It's one drawback is the database corrupts on groups with a large amount of headers. This is being fixed in BNR3 by porting to the database to sqlite.
One of the only clients capable of managing header downloads in the millions. While being one of the most capable binary downloaders, this client is malware. So if you plan to use it, make sure you block its outgoing to anything but your news server.
"GrabIt is worth mentioning. It is not quite on par with Newsleecher, perhaps (the "large header bug" which I have yet to reproduce), but it is free and mostly NZB compliant. And unlike Newsleecher one is not required to edit one's host file to circumvent the callback feature. Unfortunately, editing the hosts file breaks the "Super Search" function. It's too bad the developer started charging for the search function (search w/o downloading the headers)" (Kuririn)
A freeware client that is mostly suited to reading text posts, but is also suited to light binary downloading such as JPG's.
"Xnews is quite capable of handling heavy binary downloading, and it is, I think, the finest client available, for whatever that's worth. I swear by it, for whatever that's worth" (Kuririn)
Windows & GNU/Linux
Freeware (GPL) nget is a command line nntp file grabber If used with external scripting languages such as BASH or PERL, can become a powerful automated robot.

"Not to neglect the speed of command line newsreaders: Tin & SLRN, for starters" (Kuririn)



NZB-O-Matic is an easy to use, free, multi-server usenet NZB download program.
GNU/Linux & UNIX Variants
Freeware (GPL)
A command-line based binary newsgrabber for Linux, Unix and MacOS X supporting nzb-files.

Search Engines

[USENET Search Engines] [Mailing List Search Engines]

USENET Search Engines

Binary Search Engines

[BinSearch] [] [NewzSearch] [Issociate]

NFO Search Engines


When used in conjunction with a NZB downloading tool, it can save hours of time downloading from other mediums such as P2P through its on the fly NZB creation.

Query example: combat

You can also browse groups

Results per page:
search subject/filename search body (yEnc .nfo only)

Item has been around for a lot longer than BinSearch, and has NZB capabilities too, but cannot on the fly create NZB files from a search.

A nice one for perusing and searching binaries... Browse by Topic: Diverse - Games - Movies - MP3 - Software

Results per page


(Form provided by berne)

Search: all words, any word

Search in apps, mp3s, movies
Group by newsgroup


(Form provided by Selim)


Ganzer Beitrag   Nur Betreff  
Suchen in:
Ergebnisse nach Datum sortieren in:
Filter by user:




Match: Sort by: Per Page: Archive:


Mailing List Search Engines

[ListTool] | [Catalist]

You can search for mailing and discussion lists by keyword



You can search for mailing and discussion lists by name or host name

Powerful tool: you can search for multiple topics by separating them with a comma. For instance, a search on "search,hints" will return all the entries containing the word "search" (also "research" too) OR the word "classical". To search for a topic that actually contains a comma, type two commas in a row. Catalist

Look for:  
List name Host name List title
Lists with web archive interface only


Specialised News Servers


Mostly useful for spyware discussion. Average poster is not very experienced.
A wealth of information for browser features/customisation. See also the forums.
Discussion for Mozilla development.
PHP news and implementation.


Open Server Lists & Free NNTP Browsing

[Open Server Lists] [Free Newsgroup Browsing]

FAQ on Open News Servers

One of the longest running and most reliable open server reporting websites around.
Large list of easily parsable open servers.
Another long running open server website. Also hosts many other USENET tools.



Browse text newsgroups free on the web. lets you to read your usenet newsgroups through an elagant web interface.


Commercial Server Reviews


Should host free newsgroup access for the Mozilla developer community. Has "70 days of binary retention and 99%+ completion rates", according to Matt :-)
Owned by A quick index to compare one usenet provider to another in some of the major categories

Misc Resources


Free tools include: news resources archive, web news server, send questions to news groups, news server searching. Requires a valid email to sign up, use a throw away or a
USENET portal. Has lists of open servers, software, server comparisons and more.
Commercial crap at its finest. Yet check the "Free Sections" part.
Large portal dealing with all areas of netiquette to NNTP programming.
Newzbin is a service that is dedicated to indexing the ever-changing contents of Usenet.
Comprehensive newsgroup reference list by Hierarchy.




Large forum dealing with new usenet software, provider discussion and general technical help.


USENET Related Essays
The Zen of porn-images searching
by ~S~ Giglio
How to get to newsgroups
by ~S~ gs

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