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14. Documentation, information and further reading

This section fills in gaps which were hard to classify under any of the previous chapters.

14.1. The manpages

The following manpages are installed automatically when our integrated software distribution is compiled and installed, listed here in no particular order:

  • badexpiry: utility to look for articles with bad explicit Expiry headers

  • checkactive: utility to perform some sanity checks on the active file

  • cnewsdo: utility to perform some checks and then run C-News maintenance commands

  • controlperm: configuration file for controlling responses to Usenet control messages

  • expire: utility to expire old articles

  • explode: internal utility to convert a master batch file to ordinary batch files

  • inews: the program which forms the entry point for fresh postings to be injected into the Usenet system

  • mergeactive: utility to merge one site's newsgroups to another site's active file

  • mkhistory: utility to rebuild news history file

  • news(5): description of Usenet news article file and batch file formats

  • newsaux: a collection of C-News utilities used by its own scripts and by the Usenet news administrator for various maintenance purposes

  • newsbatch: covers all the utilities and programs which are part of the news batching system of C-News

  • newsctl: describes the file formats and uses of all the files in $NEWSCTL other than the two key files, sys and active

  • newsdb: describes the key files and directories for news articles, including the structure of $NEWSARTS, the active file, the active.times file, and the history file.

  • newsflag: utility to change the flag or type column of a newsgroup in the active file

  • newsmail: utility scripts used to send and receive newsfeeds by email. This is different from a mail-to-news gateway, since this is for communication between two Usenet news servers.

  • newsmaint: utility scripts used by Usenet administrator to manage and maintain C-News system

  • newsoverview(5): file formats for the NOV database

  • newsoverview(8): library functions of the NOV library and the utilities which use them

  • newssys: the important sys file of C-News

  • relaynews: the relaynews program of C-News

  • report: utility to generate and send email reports of errors and events from C-News scripts

  • rnews: receive news batches and queue them for processing

  • nntpd: The NNTP daemon

  • nntpxmit: The NNTP batch transmit program for outgoing push feeds

14.2. Papers, documents, articles

There are certain documents and published conference papers which are a must-read for Usenet server administrators, both for their historical value and for the insight they give into Usenet server architecture in general. We list our chart-toppers here.

14.2.1. The Usenix paper on C News

This very interesting paper has been mentioned in the section titled "Usenet software: a historical perspective>". It is titled ``News Need Not Be Slow'', and is available from* or from our Website ({ps,pdf}).

It focuses on B News, analyses it for performance, and demonstrates how specific changes in design and implementation can speed things up. It is well-written, and is educative in many areas independent of Usenet news.

14.6. Usenet newsgroups

There are many discussion groups on the Usenet dedicated to the technical and non-technical issues in managing a Usenet server and service. These are:

  • news.admin.technical Discusses technical issues about administering Usenet news

  • news.admin.policy Discusses policy issues about Usenet news

  • Discusses C-News (no separate newsgroup was created after B-News gave way to C-News) source, configuration and bugs (if any)


14.7. We

We, at Starcom Software, offer the services of our Usenet news team to provide assistance to you by email, as a service to the Linux and Usenet administrator community, on a best effort basis.

We also offer you an integrated source distribution of C News, NNTPd, as discussed earlier in the section titled "Setting up C News + NNTPd>". This integrated source distribution fixes some bugs in the component packages it includes, and it comes pre-configured with ready made configuration files which allow all components to be compiled and installed on a Linux server in a manner by which they can work together (e.g. key directory paths are specified consistently across all components, etc.) This is available at

The URL holds the original sources of some of the software components we base our distribution on. These include C News (c-news.tar.Z), NNTPd (nntp., and Nestor (nestor.tar.Z). Other components, like pgpverify are maintained by their current maintainers and can be obtained from their respective sites. Therefore, they are not included in our archives.

The URL carries copies of some of the important technical articles and Usenix papers on the subject of the Usenet.

We will endeavour to answer all queries sent to, pertaining to the source distribution we have put together and its configuration and maintenance, and also pertaining to general technical issues related to running a Usenet news service off a Unix or Linux server.

We may not be in a position to assist with software components we are not familiar with, e.g. Leafnode, or platforms we do not have access to, e.g. SGI IRIX. Intel Linux will be supported as long as our group is alive; our entire office runs on Linux servers and diskless Linux desktops.

You are not forced to be dependent on us, because neither do we have proprietary knowledge nor proprietary closed-source software. All the extensions we are currently involved in with C-News and NNTPd will immediately be made available to the Internet in freely redistributable source form.