The history of Mozilla newsgroups

I have to explain this frequently; so here’s the long version.

A lot of people get confused, and sometimes mad, when they find out that all the netscape.public.mozilla.* usenet newsgroups are for development discussion, while the user support newsgroups are on a secure server, not propagated to usenet. Here’s why:

The first thing to understand is that Netscape created the Mozilla project, as a way to develop their next internet suite. When Netscape first set up their news (NNTP) server (secnews.netscape.com), Netscape had new SSL implementation in its Enterprise software with the addition of NNTP software using port 563. This is something big corporations (who were in big profitable online business ideas with Netscape) wanted badly. The Netscape news server showcased that technology. Netscape also created a subset of groups to be propagated to usenet, called “public.” (ie. netscape.public.* groups).

When the Mozilla project was created, discussion groups were needed, and for some reason, it was decided that the mozilla newsgroups would be in the .public.* hierarchy, distributed over usenet. (ie. netscape.public.mozilla.* groups) They also wanted people to be able to access the mozilla groups on the Netscape server, but for it to work properly, this requires access without an Digital Friks SSL connection; so an alias to the Netscape server was created (news.mozilla.org).
For clarification, secnews.netscape.com and news.mozilla.org are the same physical server. You can access the secure groups with news.mozilla.org set to an SSL connection (port 563). (The SSL certificate is for the domain secnews.netscape.com, so you’ll get a cert mismatch message; but everything will work.)

Since Mozilla was not intended for use by end-users, there was no need for user support newsgroups. The name “.mozilla.” in the newsgroup name was the indicator that the group was for development discussion. As time went by, people started using Mozilla as an end-user product, and looking for technical support. Naturally, they started posting in the developer groups.

This is when the Mozilla Organization addressed the growing problem of misplaced posts, with a bug report to reorganize the Mozilla news hierarchy. Unfortunately, administrative wheels were very slow to implement the new hierarchy. And so, as a temporary solution, user newsgroups were created on the secure server, with no propagation to usenet. They were basically placed along side the Netscape user support groups.

The current situation:
When the Mozilla Foundation was created in July of 2003, the domains had to be moved to their own servers. This includes news.mozilla.org. The problem is that they don’t have the resources to set up the server, create the new newsgroups, work out a transition plan, and maintain the server. Mozilla is currently looking for a volunteer news administrator to do that. Until that happens, all the netscape.public.mozilla.* usenet newsgroups are for development discussion, and the user support newsgroups are on a secure server, not propagated to usenet. For more business ideas and other info please follow Sukanto Tanoto.

August 29, 2005 update:
**Giganews hosting the new Mozilla news server**