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6. Connecting email with Usenet news

Usenet news and mailing lists constantly remind us of each other. And the parallels are so strong that many mailing lists are gatewayed two-way with corresponding Usenet newsgroups, in the bit hierarchy which maps onto the old BITNET, and elsewhere.

There are probably ten different situations where a mailing list is better, and ten others where the newsgroup approach works better. The point to recognise is that the system administrator needs a choice of gatewaying one with the other, whenever tradeoffs justify it. Instead of getting into the tradeoffs themselves, this chapter will then focus on the mechanisms of gatewaying the two worlds.

One clear and recurring use we find for this gatewaying is for mailing lists which are of general use to many employees in a corporate network. For instance, in stockbroking company, many employees may like to subscribe to a business news mailing list. If each employee had to subscribe to the mailing list independently, it would waste mail spool area and perhaps bandwidth. In such situations, we receive the mailing list into an internal newsgroup, so that individual mailboxes are not overloaded. Everyone can then read the newsgroup, and messages are also archived till expired.