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Mozilla Severs Netscape News Legacy

After years of official separation, Mozilla is just now shaking off some of the last vestiges of its parental association with Netscape.

Mozilla's Usenet public newsgroups have been moved from netscape.public.mozilla.* to just mozilla.*. The renaming officially ends Mozilla's public Netscape news legacy after more than 8 years of active use.

"It should be no secret these days that the Mozilla Foundation and its related projects are no longer a pet project of Netscape, yet the newsgroups we are using for public discussions still bear the Netscape name," Mozilla Corporation System Administrator Dave Miller wrote in a newsgroup posting. "

Most of the approximately 63 different newsgroups that began with the old moniker have now been officially abandoned, according to Miller.

The Mozilla Organization was spun out in 1998 to shepherd development of the Mozilla browser, and in 2003 the non-profit Mozilla Foundation officially took ownership.

The renaming of newsgroups is also being accompanied by a transition of where the Usenet groups are being hosted.

Giganews, which claims to be the world's largest newsgroup service provider, is now sponsoring access to the Mozilla newsgroups. As part of the deal, Giganews provides all the systems and server infrastructure to run the Mozilla groups.

Jonah Yokubaitis CEO of Giganews, said that in the Mozilla forums, many of the Mozilla developers were publicly discussing the need to find a new hosting solution for the new mozilla.* newsgroup hierarchy.

"Giganews was reading this discussion and volunteered to sponsor the newsgroup hierarchy for Mozilla's developers," Yokubaitis told internetnews.com. "The turnaround time from discussions to hosting took approximately three months."

There is no apparent direct financial compensation as part of this arrangement. Yokubaitis said that the value for Giganews is to sponsor and support the Mozilla community, which helps to develop products that Giganews customers use on a daily basis.

Giganews also uses Firefox and Thunderbird internally.

For many Internet users, Usenet is likely a foreign concept. Discussion boards of various flavors and blogs seems to have replaced the role that USENET once played for many.

Yokubaitis argues, though, that USENET is far from a dead technology and its usage continues to grow.

"Usenet is an active and vibrant community with participating members from all over the world," Yokubaitis said. "Giganews alone has customers in over 180 different countries. The number of people participating in Usenet along with the volume of content is constantly increasing."

According to Yokubaitis, well over 10 million broadband subscribers have Giganews as the default newsgroup option in their homes, both as individual subscribers to Giganews and through Giganews's commercial customers, including Comcast, Adelphia, Casema, Sun Microsystems and Boeing.

"Usenet is a technology broadband customers tend to grow into as their sophistication with the Internet progresses," Yokubaitis said. "As these users become more sophisticated, they start to explore technologies on the Internet other than just e-mail and the World Wide Web."