Usenet service ended

Usenet access was one of the very first things that Sonoma Interconnect (SONIC) provided when Scott and I launched the service in 1994. Back then, “Sonic.net” provided dialup Linux shell access, with access to email, FTP, telnet, Gopher, and Usenet discussion groups. The Usenet feed was delivered to a single dedicated Linux server via a satellite downlink at 19.2kbps, and the content was stored on a RAID array of a couple full-height 5.25″ hard disk drives. We were able to retain text content for months, and binary content for a few weeks.

Today a Usenet full feed is over 24TB (terabytes) of content per day, requiring a significant amount of equipment, bandwidth, power and staff to manage a complete Usenet service. Sonic’s current platform simply cannot keep up, and has a significant cost to maintain as older hardware fails. And today, only about 300 Sonic members use Usenet, so it is not viable to make a significant investment in a new Usenet platform, when far better commercial Usenet services are available elsewhere. (Put another way: it is better to put our limited financial and staff resources into building more last-mile fiber infrastructure, rather than replicating a free or commercial Usenet service which can be found elsewhere online. Binary access can be purchased from a variety of online Usenet service providers.)

Sonic members can find free text-only Usenet access at:
http://groups.google.com/
http://www.eternal-september.org/

(Never heard of Usenet? You’re not alone! Most Internet users see “the Internet” as simply websites, email, and apps. To learn about the Usenet, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usenet)

-Dane

5 comments for “Usenet service ended

  1. This brings back memories when I (probably) met you guys at SRJC at your beginning!!

    It is time for usenet to go. As useful as it was (but not to me anymore).

  2. It was great. Time to close my account as I only kept it for usenet. Thanks and I hope to use your company again some day.

  3. Thanks for your help in keeping the Sonic Usenet community active for so long! We hope to see you again soon. Until then take care.

  4. Considering that Sonic hasn’t had a “complete Usenet service” in years and was outsourcing Usenet from Supernews and others, just how much space did Sonic really need working mostly as a gateway to these other companies?

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