Usenet downloader


Back in the mists of time, before Facebook, Twitter, and even Google, Internet users got their news from "newsgroups." These were secretive enclaves accessed from the terminal where anyone could post, read, and reply to loosely related articles and comments. The great thing about newsgroups was that they were completely decentralized with a web of interconnected servers bouncing messages between themselves. Early ISPs would even have their own news servers, creating an early form of CDN, so that their users could have access to a high performing local news cache. You might reasonably question why this was needed for simple text, but by then text had been supplanted by binaries, albeit encoded as text with uuencode, and Usenet became the go-to location for any kind of file.

Remarkably, Usenet still exists as a kind of hinterland of the old Internet. There are still lots of conversation groups, but there's equally still every kind of binary. It can often be the only place to find old music or Amiga files that were once hosted freely. There's now very little software that can access the old network, but SABnzbd is one that can, built specifically for retrieving those illicit binary files via an aggregation of the posts you want within an nzb file. It's a project that's been around for many years, but it's still being developed and has only recently made the transition from Python 2.x to Python 3.x with its own 3.0 and 3.5 releases. When it's running, you can add NZB files using a variety of methods, from watching a directory to setting up an RSS feed, and downloads are automatically grabbed, decompressed, and repaired if necessary. There are many configuration options, from the width of the web UI to API key access, and it runs perfectly on anything from a Raspberry Pi or NAS to a cloud instance somewhere.

Project Website

The first rule of Usenet is that no one should mention Usenet. Oops!

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