Usenet Questions And Answers

One advantage of Usenet is that you do not automatically upload anything to other users during the download – so you do not have to „share“ anything. However, this does not mean that you cannot actively participate in what is happening on Usenet. You can create new topics, give answers and also attach or upload files. You can find out how to do this and which tool you need in our Usenet Upload Tutorial.

Is the Usenet secure?

What you download or view on the Usenet cannot be traced – nobody sees your activities on the Usenet. But beware: If you post something to the Usenet (questions, answers or binaries), you can be identified by it – but this does not apply to downloading content! You can find out more about anonymity, viruses and other dangers in Usenet on our „Usenet Security and Anonymity“?

How do I repair defective files from the Usenet?

It can also happen on Usenet that files are downloaded incompletely or incorrectly. This can have several reasons – possibly the content has been deleted or the file is too old (note retention!). However, the data is not data garbage and can usually be repaired – you can find out how to do this in the tutorial „Repairing Usenet downloads with Quickpar“.

Are there also free Usenet accesses?

Yes, the pure text newsgroups are often accessible free of charge – but if you want to download binaries, i.e. files, you need a fee-based access. However, if you want to test the Usenet first, you can do this for several weeks free of charge. In our overview you will find various Usenet providers who offer such free test accesses.

Why can’t I post articles to moderated groups?

Probably because the newsreader tries to post via /bin/mail and doesn’t like it. Replace the old /bin/mail with the new port of mailx-5.5.tar.gz from the Slackware distribution. The installation with the Slackware pkgtool will set everything correctly.

Another possibility is that a moderated group is set up locally as non-moderated and some program deletes the articles on the way to the public. It is important to make sure that checkgroups is run from time to time when the checkgroups article arrives in news.admin every few weeks.

Why do I seem to have access rights problems?

Check that the access rights are correct and make sure that /etc/passwd and /etc/group have a user ID for the $NEWSBIN, e.g. news, that matches the one used in the installed package. There doesn’t seem to be a Linux standard yet.

  1. Everything in /usr/lib/news except /usr/lib/news/setnewsids should belong to The latter should be setuid root.
  2. The user and group identifier for the $NEWSBIN can be news, but doesn’t have to be.

Why can I post articles locally, but they are not shown?

Maybe newsrun wasn’t called from cron. Maybe you edited the sys file and confused it. Maybe there is no /var/spool/news/out.going directory hierarchy or something like that. Maybe you have installed a package with the „Performance“ or „Cleanup“ release of CNews. These pack the articles into packages and need newsrun to sort these batches locally or feed them to other servers.

You should not create newsgroups by editing the active or sys files. There are tools in /usr/lib/news/bin/maint to do this cleanly.

Why doesn’t my binaries package contain nntp?

Because the author didn’t want to inflate the SLS news package to double its size to maintain NNTP and non-NNTP versions of the newsreaders and news transport software. In addition, compilation uses local information that cannot be changed by a configuration file at runtime.

Why do programs complain about „severe space shortage“ when there is enough space?

Because a program cannot read the file /etc/mtab. As access mode 644 is needed. This can happen if you unmount a file system mounted by root and umask does not allow general reading of files belonging to root.

It all looks normal, but articles are not posted?

Older versions of Linux contained a faulty sed that sent CNews regularly to the eternal hunting grounds. If you installed the News software over an old SLS distribution, make sure that there is only one modern version of sed in /bin or /usr/bin.

Since the „Performance Release“ in February 1993, newsrun also has to be consulted regularly; the best way to do this is to use cron. This feature has already surprised some people.

Can trn/tin/nn use News Overview (NOV) instead of their own thread databases?

  1. Yes. trn, tin and the beta version of nn now support it.
  2. It also works with the Performance and Cleanup release of CNews and various newsreaders.
  3. The beta version of nn 6.5 used by the author of the HOWTO has NOV support and works great on Linux without nnmaster.

Why is there no binary distribution of nntp?

Because a considerable amount of local information has to be compiled in, which cannot be determined at runtime. If you have problems with this, try INN rather than building CNews plus nntp yourself.