[Haskell-cafe] Maintaining the community

Jonathan Cast jcast at ou.edu
Sun Jul 15 00:47:56 EDT 2007

On Saturday 14 July 2007, Andrew Coppin wrote:
> Anthony Chaumas-Pellet wrote:
> > From: Andrew Coppin <andrewcoppin at btinternet.com>
> >
> >> Really? Most web servers will accept a connection from anybody. (Unless
> >> it's *intended* to be an Intranet.) I'm not quite sure why somebody
> >> would configure their NNTP server differently...
> >
> > The scale of an NNTP server is simply a *lot* bigger than most web
> > servers, where you only need as much storage capacity and bandwidth as
> > you have content to offer.
> >
> > Daily traffic on the whole of the Usenet takes up a few terabytes, and
> > you presumably want to store more than one day worth of Usenet
> > traffic. You also need to keep in sync with the other Usenet servers,
> > as you are not the sole provider of content.
> >
> > So, NNTP servers need to be powerhouses if they hope to serve even
> > part of the Usenet, and they're closer to search engines than to HTTP
> > servers in terms of the resources required.
> >
> > (For what it's worth, my ISP uses a high-end, dedicated NNTP provider
> > for their Usenet service. For a regular user, it actually costs more
> > to subscribe to that NTTP server alone than to my ISP. Unsurprisingly,
> > my ISP only authorizes its own users to access that particular
> > service.)
> What is this "Usenet" thing people keen mentioning?
> When I want to visit the POV-Ray website, I point my HTTP client at
> www.povray.org and it displays the page. When I want to use the POV-Ray
> NNTP forums, I point my NNTP client at news.povray.org and it displays
> the forums. It works the same way. I don't see how this involves "a few
> terabytes"...

Usenet is a giant network of NNTP servers (and UUCP servers before that...) 
that ISPs (and various Unix sites before that) maintained at one time (most 
seem to have given up on it now), with thousands of general-purpose 
newsgroups that at one time were the premier online community.

*goes back into a corner to await the inevitable flames from the rest of the 
0.01% of humanity that finds Usenet interesting...

Jonathan Cast

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