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News Link • Internet

How File Sharing Broke the Internet's First Forum

•, Ernie Smith

As I pointed out a while back, people love free stuff when it comes to the internet.

Beyond communication, it may be the most popular use of the internet around. But what happens when a platform intended for communication becomes overwhelmed by free stuff?

To put it simply, that's what Usenet is. The protocol, with a history that goes back nearly 40 years, evolved from its arcane roots as a place for technically minded college students and sysops to communicate into a newbie-overrun protocol, then into a major hub for file sharing.

The fundamental technology that eventually changed Usenet's fortunes forever

In 1979, two Duke University students came up with the basic idea of "netnews," the service that became Usenet after an array of improvements.

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