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Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, and it was established in 1980.

Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroups.

Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers that store and forward messages to one another in so-called news feeds.

Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server operated by a commercial usenet provider, their Internet service provider, university, employer, or their own server.

Usenet differs from such media in several ways: Usenet requires no personal registration with the group concerned; information need not be stored on a remote server; archives are always available; and reading the messages requires not a mail or web client, but a news client.Or, talk.origins and talk.atheism are in the talk.* hierarchy.When a user subscribes to a newsgroup, the news client software keeps track of which articles that user has read.The later peer-to-peer networks operate on a similar principle, but for Usenet it is normally the sender, rather than the receiver, who initiates transfers.Usenet was designed under conditions when networks were much slower and not always available.

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