Serial.begin and beginSerial

There are a set of serial functions on [u]this page[/u] that I came across by chance. Its not clear what their relationship is with the current serial library but if they are on the website just for backwards compatibility then how about saying that and including a link to the preferred construct. I found that in an early sketch I had initialized serial using beginSerial and used Serial.print everywhere else. It seems to work but the absence of any explanation of the relationship or reason for two sets of functions is a little perplexing.