Usenet Creator Jim Ellis Dies — Jim Ellis, one of the creators of the globe-spanning messaging system Usenet, died 28-Jun-01 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 45. Jim and colleague Tom Truscott came up with the basic Usenet idea at Duke University in 1979, along with its first implementation between Duke and the University of North Carolina. At its simplest, Usenet is just a way for computers to share and synchronize sets of files, but its social impact was far more significant. For years Usenet was the primary instrument of the Internet community, and today plays host to tens of thousands of groups devoted to a wide variety of topics. Usenet culture was also the breeding ground for things like smileys, flame wars, quoting and reply etiquette, and (of course) spam. Jim had most recently been working as a security consultant for Sun Microsystems, and – though he never made any money from Usenet – received numerous honors for his contributions to the Internet world. [GD]
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