Don't ask me why, but it really is Usenet, not Newsnet!

I currently have no news-access, therefore this info might be a bit outdated. In order to use Usenet, you need access to a newsserver. Some providers include a newsserver in their services, some don't. Usenet News is transmitted via Network News Transfer/Transport Protocol (NNTP).

-> There are alternatives if your provider doesn't supply one.

The provider also selects which lists are offered. Not every server provides every newsgroup; especially, binaries groups are often not carried. Newsgroups are sorted by topic, and good newsclients will give you a way to search the available groups for keywords.

Some time ago, I was reading the debian-user mailing list via news. Note that you can't post to those gateway-newsgroups with a newsclient.

-> The Usenet gateway linux.debian.* will let you read debian-* via Newsreader. Theoretically, registering with bofh.it will allow you to post via the gateway. Alternatively, some (all?) Newsreaders will allow you to send mail from the Newsreader, and the Debian lists are set up to accept mail from anyone regardless of whether they're subscribed to the list or not.

Newsreader Software

Newsgroups

There are tens of thousands of topic specific lists in Usenet. Some hierarchies (sci, comp, news, ...) are controlled, whereas the alt.* hierarchy is chaos incarnate.

Caveat Emptor

Of course, this is also a surefire way to dig Spammers out of their hideyholes, using their infrastructure, so you can hunt them down and kill them (... their accounts, of course).