Duke University, where the Usenet public messaging system got its start in 1979 as the brainchild of graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, pulled the plug on its Usenet server in May, citing feeble usage and increasing costs. Duke initially used the system to communicate with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Here's how Duke announced its move, in part: "On May 20, OIT will be decommissioning Godzilla (godzilla.acpub.duke.edu), an older Solaris login server, and the News Groups server (news.duke.edu) that provides a Usenet news service. The services that were available through Godzilla are now available through the newer, Linux multi-user login servers, login1.oit.duke.edu and login2.oit.duke.edu, and the Usenet services have been made unnecessary by the growing use of blogs, social networking sites and RSS feeds."
Usenet, a distributed bulletin board system that was a precursor to much of today's Internet-based communication systems, generated scads of newsgroups, the most popular of which fell under categories such as computers, news and science. Usenet is credited with spawning terms popular in the online world today, such as FAQ and spam.
Duke's move follows that of many others cutting their Usenet support, including ISPs such as AOL, Verizon and Cox.