Usenet clients for Linux

Usenet allows content to be shared between users.

In this post we are going to list some Linux clients for Usenet. You may not have heard of this service or think it's a thing of the past. However, although its number of users is slowly declining, there is still an active community that makes it an interesting option.

Originally it was used to communicate users with common interestsyes In fact, it was the platform chosen by a certain Linus Torvalds to comment on a project he was working on. Something called Linux or something like that, you may have seen it somewhere.

Finally, the main alternative to Usenet, Arpanet (based on the work of the United States Ministry of Defense) would end up imposing itself as the basis of what we know today as the Internet. Usenet today is used primarily as a way to share content such as articles, images, files and email. Statistics say that it stores a minimum of 30,000 petabytes of data.

How the Usenet works

Usenet was born in 1979 and its name derives from the Unix User Network.. Its creators, three students named Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis and Steve Bellovin started the project by exchanging data between two computers using the Unix Copy Protocol (UUCP)

From the users' point of view, Usenet is no different from other popular services. Articles are classified in newsgroups. Articles and their responses are grouped into threads.

Where Usenet has an advantage is in access speed.  It is much larger than the traditional Internet as it works with a distributed network of news servers. Although some of the newsgroups are moderated, most are not so users can post without restriction.

Although it can be accessed from the Internet using common browsers the ideal is to use a special program known as a newsreader. These are usually a combination of search engine and browser and usually require a periodic payment to access the content.

The NZB file format

Usenet uses the HTTP protocol to transfer information, but it transfers files using Network News Transfer Protocol, or NNTP. As for the contents, they can be accessed through NZB files. These contain information on where to find a content specific which avoids having to search for them all over the network.

In practice these files are text files that can be viewed with any editor. since they are based on XML. The news reader downloads the different parts of the file according to the instructions of the NZB and when finished they join it.

Usenet clients for Linux


This application open source is available for Windows and Linux. Work with a web interface and operate with N filesZB. That is to say that it is not useful for reading news. Get information about available files from RSS feeds of indexing services.

Some features:

  • It works in the background and is controlled from the browser.
  • Bind and unpack the binaries at the end of the download.
  • Allows you to limit the bandwidth.
  • Allows you to categorize the downloads.
  • You can set priorities and pause downloads.
  • Support for the secure exchange protocol.
  • End of download notice via customizable email.


Other tool to download open source NZB. It is available for Linux, FreeBSD, Windows and Mac. Some Linux distributions like those derived from Debian have it in the repositories.

The configuration is somewhat more complex, although not too much, and it is done from the web interface. In it we must put a username and password to later configure the Usenet account.

Some features:

  • Little consumption.
  • Responsive web interface.
  • Support for multiple servers.
  • Reading RSS feeds.

My job is to offer you alternatives, not to tell you what to think. personally I don't think the faster download speed is worth the hassle of setup and paying for the service. But, it is you who must test and decide. In any case, it is a service intended for extinction.

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