Alternatives to a local Usenet server

Foteos Macrides macrides at
Tue Aug 23 09:09:27 EST 1994

In article <1994Aug23.012839.34336 at>,
robison at (Keith Robison) writes:
> Una Smith (una at wrote:
> : I (Una Smith) wrote:
> : >> Dave, are you willing to allow individuals at remote sites to
> : >> read the bionet.* newsgroups from
> : >> 
> : >> 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> wrote:
> : >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 for that hierarchy.
> : About WWW, Fote, I assume you are thinking of a newsreader on
> : 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 Fote is thinking of URL in the format
> 	news:bionet.general


> which allow many WWW clients to serve as newsreaders.  There are,
> I think, even extensions which allow them to serve as 
> _decent_ newsreaders (i.e. basic Mosaic leaves a lot to be desired --
> no posting ability, no threading, etc).
> To read in this way requires access to an NNTP server (in UNIX Mosaic you
> set the environment variable NNTP_SERVER).  

	I'm kind of sorry it stepped into this thread, but let me spell
out exactly what I meant.

	Most sites with biologists are likely to have WWW clients
installed for accessing the plethora of bioservices on the Web.  Many
of these sites, unfortunately, have a "Usenet is for perverts, goof-offs,
etc." bias.  One does not need a GUI client to read news via the WWW news
gateway, and Lynx's gateway has been enhanced to permit "reply to
sender", "followup" and "post", via links created from the news article's
headers.  It's still not as good as a real news client, because it
doesn't keep track of articles read, but it's not bad for a totally
"news-less" site.

	The bionet staff has a policy of helping any site which wants a
bionet.* feed get it, and of providing it themselves if no closer source
of a feed can be found.  That all assumes that the "powers that be" at
an Internet site perceive the need to set up a news server with a
bionet.* feed.  What's also needed is help creating the perception of
this need.  The bionet folks send letters to SCIENCE (that don't get
published), go on speaking tours, etc., to help create that perception.

	Despite Una's analysis of what the bionet folks should do, it
would surely cripple their computer if they openned up their NTTP server
for public read/post access, and that is not what I suggested.  It should
be openned to particular sites, upon request, for a limited "trial"
period.  During this period, the biologists at that site could access
articles via a WWW client, which is better than email, but still not as
good as a real news client/server setup, and hopefully, the need for
a real news client/server setup would be promoted at that site.


 Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
 MACRIDES at SCI.WFEB.EDU     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

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