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Usenet, or the Unix User Network, allows efficient exchange of information among Usenet users around the globe. Originally designed to distribute text messages, it now also allows for the decoding of files (such as documents or images) to text, so they can also be distributed on the global Usenet.

Usenet articles are stored by all Usenet Providers all across the globe. This provides a continuous flow of new Usenet articles. Because Usenet server storage capacity is limited, older articles are removed to create space for newer articles.

Retention is the period of time during which articles are available and depends on the storage capacity available at a Usenet provider. Internet providers (ISPs) provide significantly lower retention (on average 10-20 days) than the retention offered by professional Usenet Providers, such as Xennanews (hundreds of days). Because of the storage capacity needed, low cost or budget ISPs no longer offer access to Usenet at all.

More and more people discover the advantages of using Usenet. Usenet is gaining an increasingly prominent role as a medium for the distribution of open-source software, drivers, firmware, creative commons material, etc.

As more and more information is offered to the global Usenet the popularity of Usenet continues to grow – and the daily newsfeed (or the amount of data offered to Usenet every day) now exceeds 8 terabyte.

Usenet is also known by other names, such as Newsgroups, News or Newsserver.