[TUHS] Steve Bellovin recounts the history of USENET

Henry Bent henry.r.bent at gmail.com
Sat Nov 23 06:49:58 AEST 2019

On Fri, 22 Nov 2019 at 15:19, Justin R. Andrusk <jra at andrusk.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 04:58:01PM +0100, Leah Neukirchen wrote:
> >
> > arnold at skeeve.com writes:
> >
> > > Jason Stevens <jsteve at superglobalmegacorp.com> wrote:
> > >
> > >> I keep a copy of the utzoo files.
> > >
> > > Any chance of getting them to Warren for storage? Or are they
> > > generally available somewhere?
> >
> > They are also on archive.org:
> > https://archive.org/details/utzoo-wiseman-usenet-archive
> >
> > --
> > Leah Neukirchen  <leah at vuxu.org>  https://leahneukirchen.org/
> I'm half tempted to take the archive.org Usenet files and throw them
> into Elasticsearch and create a web front end for searching. Storage
> would be expensive, but search would rock!

Has anyone definitely proven that any of the contents of these files are
not in the searchable Google Groups interface?  I don't really see any need
to duplicate their efforts.  I am 100% certain that Google got Deja News's
entire archive and 99% certain that it was fairly quickly supplemented with
the University of Toronto material provided by Henry Spencer.  Certainly
the headers in a thread like this would seem to indicate that the material
all came from utzoo:
(see "show original" for any message in the dropdown box in the upper right
hand corner by the date).  While Google has not shown a tremendous deal of
interest in Groups over the years - notably, the search was very
lacking/incomplete at various points - I would think that there is now
enough acknowledgement of the historical importance of these messages that
Google would at the very least do their best to preserve what they have.  I
would also imagine that if someone else had approached them with a
substantial enough private archive that they would have accepted it, and
not necessarily done a huge press release depending on the time frame, but
that's pure supposition on my part.  It would be fascinating to look
through messages from before 1995 (when Deja News started archiving) to see
if any clues can be unearthed about message sources other than utzoo.

As somewhat of an aside, my father was the head sysadmin at Deja News at
the time of their purchase by Google and I may have recounted this story
before but it's worth sharing again. Google's entire purchase of Deja News
involved a couple of Google engineers flying to Austin with a large disk
array, letting it mirror over a weekend, and then flying back to
California.  Google did not, as far as I recall, take possession of any
physical assets whatsoever.

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