Alternatives to a local Usenet server

Una Smith una at doliolum.biology.yale.edu
Mon Aug 22 16:51:15 EST 1994


I (Una Smith) wrote:

>> Dave, are you willing to allow individuals at remote sites to
>> read the bionet.* newsgroups from net.bio.net?
>> 
>> Note, I do *not* mean a feed from your server to another server.
>> Many people have to use e-mail to access bionet.* because they
>> have no local Usenet server.

Foteos Macrides <macrides at sci.wfeb.edu> wrote:

>	If it's not too much of a hassle for the bionet staff
>or strain on the net.bio.net machine, this is a good suggestion.

Well, given a news server built with the access controls turned
on, this would probably require no more personal attention than
is needed to provide an e-mail subscription.  In fact, it could
involve significantly less work.

And it might involve less strain on the server.  Right now, all
traffic in a given newsgroup is sent to each subscriber.  If the
remote NNTP access were used instead, the reader could browse
and select articles by subject or thread, and the server would
only have to send out the articles of interest.  Plus, there 
would be no bounced e-mail to deal with.  *And* the server could
keep track of usage by site, and focus on encouraging those
sites with heavy usage to get their own server running.

Alternatively, commercial (for-fee) Usenet servers could start
selling NNTP access to biologists who would rather pay to read
via Usenet than continue subscribing via e-mail.

This would not help e-mail subscribers who don't have full
Internet access, but then they have no alternative to e-mail
in any case.  On the other hand, there is a news<->mail
software package floating around on the Internet that would
allow anyone set up a gateway, similar to what BIOSCI does
now.

>I suspect there are many sites which do not have a news server
>installed, and are unlikely to carry news locally, but would set
>up a news reader specifically to read bionet.*, or would point
>their WWW clients to net.bio.net for that hierarchy.

[Fote:  your lines are too long to fit in my newsreader without 
wrapping.]

There are at least several million of Internet hosts (I've lost
count), but only about 200,000 Usenet servers (not all of which
are Internet hosts), so there is a *HUGE* number of sites that
do not have access to a local news server.  More evidence:  I
don't know how many subscribers BIOSCI has, but the mailing list
attached to sci.bio.ecology has 1500 subscribers, almost all at
American universities, few of whom have access to Usenet, even
though their universities may have Usenet servers.  But many of
them have personal computers with ethernet links, and could run
a client newsreader without any difficulty.

About WWW, Fote, I assume you are thinking of a newsreader on
net.bio.net being accessible from the WWW server there.  That
should not be any major problem, and it might be significantly
more useful than simply browsing through the archives for each
group using the WWW or gopher client directly.  I think there
are a lot of people who already depend on the archive servers,
instead of using either a local Usenet server or subscriptions.

Any other ideas?

-- 
	Una Smith			smith-una at yale.edu

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104  USA



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