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Usenet related terms

Welcome to our database of usenet related terms. Please select a term from the list to view more information about it.


This whole site is about binaries, but what exactly are binaries and what does the term mean?

While browsing the internet or searching some newsgroups, you will come across the term binaries at some point. Binary is a way of encoding files. You will find these files in the binary newsgroups on Usenet, which can be recognized by the word binaries in the group name (e.g. alt.binaries.sounds.mp3). These groups contain various posts consisting of applications, music, images, games, movies, etc. The group name partially reveals the content of the group. So alt.binaries.sounds.mp3 would most likely contain music posts in the popular .mp3 format.

If you ever open such a group in your email client (e.g. Outlook Express), you will probably see a large number of messages. If you open one of these messages you will see a chaotic mess of symbols. The message doesn't contain any readable text because it has been encoded for storage on the news servers. This message is just a small part of a much larger file, which has been split up into smaller pieces called articles. So you are now actually ‘reading’ an article.

Outlook is unable to show these files correctly because it doesn't support yEnc encoding, which usually is used to encode these posts. You therefore have to use a newsreader to download from these binary groups. A newsreader is a special program that is designed to download from binary newsgroups. These programs do support yEnc encoding and can also see whether or not a file is complete.

There are many newsgroups, so logically you can't know immediately which groups are interesting and which are not.