Usenet news (often called Netnews or just news) is a collection of more than 20, 000 different discussion groups on a variety of topics. Several main categories of Usenet newsgroups exist, as well as dozens of local, regional, and esoteric categories. Our ISP carries about 25, 000 newsgroups, which is fairly typical. The Common Usenet Categories sidebar lists some of the main Usenet categories. The newsgroups you'll have available through your Unix system depend on which ones your ISP or company subscribes to.
You can read news using a variety of news readers, including pine and tin, which we'll cover in this section. Both of these are fairly easy to use and available on many Unix systems.