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11. Usenet news clients

This HOWTO was written to allow a Linux system administrator provide the Usenet news service to readers of those articles. The rest of this HOWTO focuses on the server-end software and systems, but one chapter dedicated to the clients does not seem disproportionate, considering that the raison d'etre of Usenet news servers is to serve these clients.

The overwhelming majority of clients are software programs which access the article database, either by reading /var/spool/news on a Unix system or over NNTP, and allow their human users to read and post articles. We can therefore probably term this class of programs UUA, for Usenet User Agents, along the lines of MUA for Mail User Agents.

There are other special-purpose clients, which either pull out articles to copy or transfer somewhere else, or for analysis, e.g. a search engine which allows you to search a Usenet article archive, like Google (www.google.com) does.

This chapter will discuss issues in UUA software design, and bring out essential features and efficiency and management issues. What this chapter will certainly never attempt to do is catalogue all the different UUA programs available in the world --- that is best left to specialised catalogues on the Internet.

This chapter will also briefly cover special-purpose clients which transfer articles or do other special-purpose things with them.

11.1. Usenet User Agents