GROGGS is a distributed discussion board system on the University Data Network, open to all users. It aims to enable users to discuss a wide variety of subjects, ranging from computing to serious social and political issues. Humour, poetry, advertisements and advice are also welcome; in fact we welcome anything which is likely to be of interest.

GROGGS was a single-system discussion system on the University's mainframe, Phoenix. It has a long and murky history. Phoenix closed on September 1st 1995, and GROGGS has migrated to run on a Unix system.

GROGGS is different from Usenet news in a number of ways. Its concept of items provides much stronger threading than news has. Its centralised nature means that quoting of text is unnecessary and the format encourages well-thought-out replies rather than one-liners. Perhaps most importantly, there are a set of rules and editors to enforce them; this ensures a higher signal-to-noise ratio in serious items.

You can read GROGGS simply by downloading and building the software (or by using that already installed on your system by the staff or other users, if there is any). We hope to provide a read-only WWW browsing interface, too.

In order to post items and replies to GROGGS you must use the client software to apply for posting access. (For legal reasons this is technically application for membership of the Society.) Access is automatically granted to people in the domain; others must contact the editors to register.

The GROGGS Editors can be reached at The active editors of this version of Groggs are Martin Hardcastle, Aldabra Stoddart and Ian Jackson, who is also responsible for the technical development of the Groggs server.

New users should look at the rules of Groggs (currently unmodified from the Phoenix Groggs rules). The Groggs Jargon file, largely as it was on Phoenix, is also available.


Contributions of code (esp. clients for non-Unix systems) are greatly appreciated. These clients are also available by anonymous ftp from, in the directory /pub/groggs .

Technical data

The Distributed GROGGS system uses a central server containing all the items. The items are accessed using the Reverse Gossip Transfer Protocol, which is a TCP-based command-response protocol similar to Internet SMTP or NNTP. RGTP has been allocated port number 1431 by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

The RGTP server for the Cambridge GROGGS system listens on port 1431 on You should not use any name except this alias, as the service may have to move.

Ian Jackson pp. the GROGGS editors.