See also: Newsreaders
Usenet is one of the oldest ways of communicating over the internet. To learn all about it, visit http://www.smr-usenet.com . You may also want to check out http://www.slyck.com/newsgroups.html - they have an excellent resource on finding files on the newsgroups.
Besides offering a large variety of discussions and bulletin boards (including local talk), there exists a multitude of binary posibilities (read: files :) Generally you will want to look in the alt.binaries.* groups. Know however, that running a usenet server is very expensive in terms of storage and bandwidth, so not all ISP's offer binary access, and not all of them do it well. So if you find your ISP drops alot of posts, you may want to check out the google results for 'pay news servers'. Alternatively, you could visit http://www.exit109.com/~jeremy/news/providers/providers.html which has a comprehensive list of usenet providers. And if you are a heavy bandwidth user, you may also want to check some of the discussion at alt.binaries.news-server-comparison.
Useful programs that are available for reading usenet or fetching binaries:
See also Usenet Binaries for simple web based access to Usenet Binaries.