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About Newsgroups

Newsgroups reside on their own network known as Usenet. Usenet is a huge collection of messages which are made available to users worldwide by means of the UUCP and NNTP protocols, for Unix to Unix Copy Program, and Network News Transport Protocol, respectively. They are accessed via a news server.

Every Usenet message belongs to a newsgroup; there are a few thousand of these, each containing messages on a particular subject. Users sending Usenet messages must address each message to a particular newsgroup. There are newsgroups on subjects ranging from education to science fiction and from environment to politics. The quality of the discussion in newsgroups is not guaranteed. Some newsgroups have a moderator who scans the messages for the group and decides which ones are appropriate for distribution.

Some of the newsgroups provide a useful source of information and help. Users needing to find out about a subject often send questions to the appropriate newsgroup, and an expert somewhere in the world can often supply the answer. Lists of Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs are compiled and made available periodically in some newsgroups.

The messages may contain both plain text, and encoded binary information. Each message has a series of header lines which define who the message came from, when it was posted, where it was posted, what newsgroup it was sent to, what route it has taken over the network, and other administrative information.

Usenet was originally developed for Unix systems in 1979. There are now thousands of sites running a number of operating systems on many hardware platforms communicating via Usenet around the globe. The messages of many mailing lists are also distributed in Usenet.

To access a newsgroup must have a newsreader.

As with Email Software, we find a newsreader is preinstalled along with Internet Explorer on Windows systems. Thunderbird is an Open Source Newsgroup and Email application software supported by the Mozilla Foundation. The aim of Thunderbird is to create an efficient mail and news application that can be used across multiple platforms with different browsers.

You can download Thunderbird in UK English from... https://www.thunderbird.net/en-GB/

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