Eternal September : The September That Never Ended

Earlier this week a member of NGR brought to our attention.  The site is part of a private project offering free text-only newsgroup access.  Previously  Read our Eternal September review to learn more.

Were you around Usenet before 1993?  If so you may already be familiar with the term “eternal September”.  Did you get your first taste of Usenet when AOL opened the doors to members?  If so this post is definitely for you.

To understand the meaning of eternal September you must first have some background on the history of Usenet.  Usenet started in 1979 and for the first several years was dominated by university members.  As Usenet grew incoming freshmen would join in on the action when the Fall semester started each September.  Since most universities didn’t give much guidance on netiquette it would take some time for new users to adjust and cause heartburn for Usenet natives.

Then in 1993 all hell broke loose as AOL opened up Usenet to all its members.  Many Usenet veterans would say it was never the same and thus the terms “eternal September” and “the September that never ended” were coined.

According to a 1994 post in alt.folklore.computers by Dave Fischer:

It’s moot now. September 1993 will go down in net.history as the September that never ended.

Some Usenet veterans who dreaded incoming freshmen longed for those days again.  Because when AOL broke loose the influx was immediate and ongoing.  New users just kept coming and have never stopped.

Let’s fast forward to 2010.  How many technologies or ideas have followed the same path.  Remember the good ole days of Yahoo, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc?  Those are just recent examples.  Not that any of them are bad now.  They’re just different. In fact most are continuing to grow and evolve.  I suppose Usenet is the same way.  An important technology in 1979 and still important today.  As the web booms so do issues like net neutrality and censorship.  Having a separate network like Usenet to share ideas on is that much more important today.  We’re all for September never ending.