The Usenet software allows the support and transport of hierarchies of newsgroups not part of the "traditional" Usenet through use of the distribution mechanism. These hierarchies of groups are available to sites wishing to support them and able to find a feed. In general, these groups are not carried by the entire network because of their volume, restricted spheres of interest, or a different set of administrative rules and concerns.

In general, it is a bad idea to forward these newsgroups to your neighbors without asking them first; they should only be received at a site by choice. Not only is this generally-accepted net etiquette, it helps to preserve the freedom to do and say as the posters please in these newsgroups, as the only people who get them are those who asked to get them. This freedom is more restricted in the Usenet as a whole, because every mainstream posting and every mainstream newsgroup name must be acceptable to a much wider audience than is present in these hierarchies. Because of the sheer size of the mainstream Usenet, extra-long or controversial postings are more likely to cause problems when posted to the Usenet; however, these alternative hierarchies exist precisely to support those kinds of postings (if germane to the hierarchy).

Usually, there is is no restriction on getting these groups as long as you have the capacity to receive, store, and forward the groups; software after B 2.11 news is required to make the distribution mechanism work properly for these groups. How to join each distribution is described below.

Note that the "uunet" service carries all of these hierarchies. Contact for subscription details.


"alt" is a collection of newsgroups that is being distributed by a collection of sites that choose to carry the groups. Many Usenet sites do not receive these groups. Here is a recent list of many active "alt" newsgroups:


"bit" is a collection of newsgroups which are being distributed by a collection of sites that choose to carry them. The "bit" newsgroups are redistributions of the more popular BitNet LISTSERV mailing lists. Contact Jim McIntosh for more information.


"Biz" is a distribution of newsgroups that are carried and propagated by sites interested in the world of business products around them -- in particular, computer products and services. This includes product announcements, announcements of fixes and enhancements, product reviews, and postings of demo software. Current biz groups include:

Feeds may possibly be obtained from,,,, spl1, and among others.


The ClariNet hierarchy consists of newsgroups gatewayed from commercial news services and other ``official'' sources. A feed of the ClariNet groups requires payment of a fee and execution of a license. More information may be obtained by sending mail to "".


gnUSENET (gnUSENET is Not USENET) is a set of newsgroups that are
gated bi-directionally with the Internet mailing lists of the GNU
Project of the Free Software Foundation.  GNU (GNU's Not Unix) will be
a complete operating system, including application programs, with
freely redistributable source code.  Please use ONLY gnu.misc.discuss
for discussion of topics considered contrary to GNU aims and political
philosophy (e.g., porting of GNU code to Apple machines, usefulness of
intellectual property laws, etc.).

The GNU mailing lists and newsgroups, like the GNU project itself,
exist to promote the freedom to share software.  So please don't use
these newsgroups (or the other GNU lists) to promote or recommend
non-free software.  (Using them to post ordering information is the
ultimate faux pas.)  If there is no free program to do a certain task,
then somebody should write one!

Use to discuss software on gnu.emacs.sources and to ask
for sources.  gnu.emacs.sources is archived by many sites and they
want sources ONLY!

The gnu.*.bug groups are pseudo-moderated (that is, the group is
marked moderated so that postings are mailed to and
then redistributed to the both the mailing list and newsgroup from
there).  The gnu.*announce groups are all fully moderated.

If one of your USENET feeds cannot provide you with a feed of the
gnUSENET newsgroups, send mail to
to ask for a feed.

Questions about GNU can be directed to or: Free Software Foundation 675 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139 USA +1-617-876-3296


HEPnet is a collections of networks interconnecting high-energy and nuclear physics research sites. The HEPnet netnews hierarchy was created to facilitate discussions in the HEP and NP communitites. The hierarchy is is maintained by National HEPnet Management. All groups are bi-directionally gatewayed to mailing lists and automatically archived. Questions, requests for feeds, and group deletions/additions should be sent to (Internet), netnews@hepnet (BITNET), or hepnet::netnews (HEP-ES DECnet).


The IEEE newsgroups concern the IEEE -- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The IEEE is willing to distribute these newsgroups via NNTP to any site that desires to carry them. If you would like a feed of these newsgroups, have the news admin for your site contact '' for a feed.


Another alternative hierarchy is the "inet/ddn" distribution. This consists of many newsgroups bearing names similar to traditional Usenet groups and corresponding to Internet discussion lists. These groups are circulated using the NNTP transport mechanism amongst sites on the Internet in an attempt to reduce the number of copies of these groups flowing through the mail (some sites get these groups via UUCP and other transport mechanisms, but the volume can be substantial and load may be significant without a high-speed link). Further details may be obtained by writing to Erik Fair .


The "info" hierarchy is a collection of mailing lists gatewayed into news at the University of Illinois. The lists are selected based on local interests but have proven popular at a number of sites. Groups are removed when they become available via more mainstream hierarchies. Sites are encouraged to mark *'ed groups as 'n' in their active file. These groups are generally concerned with getting real work done and readers dislike extraneous postings. Postings can still be made by emailing to the listed contact address.


K12Net is a collection of conferences devoted to K-12 educational curriculum, language exchanges with native speakers, and classroom-to-classroom projects designed by teachers. The conferences are privately distributed among FidoNet-compatible electronic bulletin board systems in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, as well as available from as Usenet newsgroups in the hierarchy k12.*

Classroom-to-classroom projects are featured in the K12 "Channels"
which are periodically reassigned based on usage and appropriate
project length.  They comprise the k12.sys hierarchy.

Forums for casual conversation among students are divided by grade
level in the hierarchy; there is also an area for teachers to
exchange general ideas about using telecommunications in education.

For more information, contact one of the members of
the K12Net Council of Coordinators:
Jack Crawford Janet Murray Rob Reilly Mort Sternheim Louis Van Geel


Relcom.* is the hierarchy of Russian-language newsgroups distributed
mostly on the territory of the former Soviet Union (non-CIS countries
included).  These groups are available in Europe and Northern America;
due to the 8-bit encoding (KOI-8) of Cyrillic letters, minor software
modifications may be required.

Newsgroups under the hierarchy relcom.commerce contain classified
advertisements and are relatively high-volume; the nature of the
information distributed in those groups may contradict policy of some
networks.  However, they may be valuable for researchers and
businessmen interested in the first-hand information on the economics
of FSU countries.

Eugene Peskin  is the Relcom staff member
responsible for netnews -- contact him for more information.


Groups dealing with AT&T 3B{2,5,15,20,4000} computers -- everything
except for the UNIX PC/3B1.  Both uunet and ames carry these groups.

u3b.config      3B Distribution configuration.
u3b.misc        3B Miscellaneous Discussions.
u3b.sources     Sources for AT&T 3B systems.        3B Technical Discussions.
u3b.test        3B Distribution Testing.


This hierarchy is for topics of interest to VAX/VMS users (but not
necessarily VMS-specific). These groups are a project of the VMSnet working
group of the VAX SIG of the US Chapter of DECUS (the Digital Equipment
Computer User's Society). They are carried by most major usenet news sites,
and almost half of all netnews sites. To find a feed, contact the system
managers of news sites near you, and/or post to a local or regional
newsgroup and ask if anyone in the area is carrying the VMSnet newsgroups. 

If you have tried these alternatives and still can not find a site in your
local area that carries the VMSnet groups, you can send mail to the VMSnet
Network Coordinator, currently Terry Poot , who will attempt
to assist you in finding a feed for the groups. Alternatively, you can send
mail to the VMSnet mailing list , which is
also gatewayed to the vmsnet.uucp newsgroup and ask for help. 

In either case, be sure to state where you are geographically, and what
your constraints are. For instance, if you can only place local phone
calls, be sure to say just what areas are a local call for you. Also
describe your network connectivity (what networks you are on, your uucp
neighbors, etc.).

Groups of Distribution

All groups distributed worldwide are divided into seven broad classifications: "news", "soc", "talk", "misc", "sci", "comp" and "rec". Each of these classifications is organized into groups and subgroups according to topic.

Topics of interest to both computer professionals and hobbyists, including topics in computer science, software source, and information on hardware and software systems.
Discussions marked by special and usually practical knowledge, relating to research in or application of the established sciences.
Groups addressing themes not easily classified under any of the other headings or which incorporate themes from multiple categories.
Groups primarily addressing social issues and socializing.
Groups largely debate-oriented and tending to feature long discussions without resolution and without appreciable amounts of generally useful information.
Groups concerned with the news network and software themselves.
Groups oriented towards the arts, hobbies and recreational activities.
These "world" newsgroups are (usually) circulated around the entire USENET -- this implies world-wide distribution. Not all groups actually enjoy such wide distribution, however. Some sites take only a selected subset of the more "technical" groups, and controversial "noise" groups are often not carried by many sites (these groups are often under the "talk" and "soc" classifications). Many sites do not carry some or all of the comp.binaries groups.
There are groups in other subcategories, but they are local: to
institutions, to geographic regions, etc. and they are not listed
here.  Note that these distribution categories can be used to restrict
the propagation of news articles.  Currently, distributions include:
        world           worldwide distribution (default)
        can             limited (mostly) to Canada
        eunet           limited (mostly) to European sites in EUNet
        na              limited (mostly) to North America
        usa             limited (mostly) to the United States
There may be other regional and local distribution categories available
at your site.  Most US states have distribution categories named after
the two letter abbreviation for that state or category (e.g., "ga" for
Georgia, "nj" for New Jersey). Please use an appropriate distribution
category if your article is not likely to be of interest to USENET
readers worldwide.  

Please notify me of any errors or changes to the information in this article.
David Lawrence,

Here you can find a compiled list of newsgroups related to Eastern Europe and countries of xUSSR

How to Post Message to Newsgroups.

If you send mail to it will be gatewayed into Crossposting is supported by sending a single mail message with the above style addresses listed on either the To: or Cc: headers. e.g.,
will be crossposted to and

Newsgroups with hyphenated names are treated no differently: just convert all dots to hyphens. E.g., to post to, send mail to <>.

We carry the main seven USENET hierarchies, plus many of the useful alt groups. Newsgroups which we don't carry should generate a "user unknown" bounce message.

Most of the *.test groups have been disabled because they generate autoreplies which frequently land in my mailbox.

The gateway supports mail-to-news only, i.e. you can only post news. There is no way you can use the gateway to receive news via email or to otherwise read news.

Cancel control messages are not supported. Once it is posted, there is no easy way for you to cancel it. Forged email and anonymous email are not appreciated. Please don't do it. If the gateway becomes a magnet for such mail, I'll have to turn it off. Thanks for your cooperation.

Donald E. Blais             Internet:
UTexas Computation Center   UUCP:     uunet!!blais
Austin, TX 78712            Phone:    +1 512-471-6387 +1 512-471-3241