Old usenet news?

From: John Foust <jfoust_at_threedee.com>
Date: Wed Dec 8 21:23:23 1999

I thought this topic had been chewed once or twice on this
Classic Computer Collectors mailing list, but I couldn't find
it in my archive.

I often lament that there may never be an archive of news
in the middle era between the start of Usenet news and the
birth of the Web. Deja News only goes back to about March 1995.

The <http://www.archive.org/home.html> archive appears to be
down right now, but it has a simple archive of a few years'
worth of early Usenet news. I think there's a gap of at
least ten years between its archive and Deja News. Henry Spencer
supposedly archived everything into the early 90s, but did
he save the tapes and shift them to new media in time?
<http://communication.ucsd.edu/A-News/index.html> has an
archive from May 1981 to May 1982, apparently based on his files.

I found a news story on archive.org at
Hmm. I had to blink twice, the picture of the guy running
it looks enough like me to confuse myself. Fortunately, he
didn't look like me in other pictures. He's a net god
of sorts. He founded Thinking Machines, and later sold other
companies to AOL and Amazon. archive.org is trying to
archive all Web sites. <http://www.sflan.com/> is another
project he funded - near and dear to my heart, because I'm
typing this on a VNC window on a 4.5 mile wireless link.

According to <http://www.deja.com/help/faq.shtml>, Deja has
300 million messages, accounting for more than 500 gigabytes
of disk space. They say Usenet posts are increasing geometrically.

At least with old news, you can know there's only a finite amount.
I seem to remember that in 1983 or so, all of Usenet news was only
pumping a meg or two a day. Can anyone confirm this, or supply
any other data points along this curve? How many megs of Usenet
posts might there be in this gap between, say, 1983 and 1995?

What are the chances that someone, somewhere, has an archive of
everything from these years? I guess we only need to find one. :-)

- John
Received on Wed Dec 08 1999 - 21:23:23 GMT

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