Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP
UUCP is an abbreviation for Unix-to-Unix Copy. The term generally refers to a suite of computer programs and protocols allowing remote execution of commands and transfer of files, email and netnews between computers. Specifically, a command named uucp is one of the programs in the suite; it...

 architecture of the same name.

Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 graduate students Tom Truscott
Tom Truscott
Tom Truscott is a computer scientist best known for creating Usenet with Jim Ellis, when both were graduate students at Duke University. He is also a member of ACM, IEEE, and Sigma Xi. One of his the first endeavors into computers were writing a computer chess program and then later working on a...

 and Jim Ellis
Jim Ellis (computing)
James Tice Ellis was a computer scientist best known as the co-creator of Usenet, along with Tom Truscott.Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Ellis grew up in Orlando, Florida. Before developing Usenet, Ellis attended Duke University. He later worked as an Internet security consultant for Sun...

 conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980. Users read and post messages (called articles or posts, and collectively termed news) to one or more categories, known as newsgroup
A usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users in different locations. The term may be confusing to some, because it is usually a discussion group. Newsgroups are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to, discussion forums on...