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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Introduction to the FAQ and s.c.j Newsgroups (1/12)
Section - Question 1.1: What is USENET? How is it different than "the Web"?

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                                  Answer:
   
   USENET refers to a network of systems that exchange "news" via a
   protocol called the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). This
   protocol, and its predecessors, predate what is commonly called "the
   web", but are now incorporated into it as one of the supported
   protocols in Universal Resource Locators (URLs).
   
   News is a form of broadcast protocol. Articles are posted, and are
   exchanged on stored on newsservers throughout the network. Your ISP
   quite likely has a newserver; for example, if your ISP is "isp.net",
   look for a machine named "news.isp.net" or "nntp.isp.net". Uses use
   news reading agents to connect to the newsservers; these agents read
   and display news. In the Unix world, common agents are programs such
   as rn, trn, vn, and various newsreaders with Emacs, such as gnus. In
   the PC world, there are programs such as Agent. Most browsers also
   provide support for news. Configure your browser to connect to a
   newsreader (look at the configuration options), and then try using the
   URL <[5]news:soc.culture.jewish>. If you need a newsreader, a good
   source to try is The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software, TUCOWS,
   located at [6]www.tucows.com.
   
   If you do not have the ability or desire to add software, or you do
   not have access to a newsserver, you can visit [7]groups.google.com to
   access a web-based newsreader.
   
   So, how is news different than the web. In news, one typically
   subscribes to newsgroups, and then reads the articles in that group,
   in a manner similar to a bulletin board. In some ways, this is more
   active (you still need to retrieve the article, but finding the
   articles of interest is easier). It also supports more discussion, and
   threading of discussion. The web (and by this we mean normal HTML
   pages) is more interactive: one must hunt down the pages one wants.
   One can implement bulletin boards and forums via web pages in a manner
   similar to news; however, such pages do not use the news protocols and
   cannot be accessed by newsreaders.

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