batcher - article batching backend for InterNetNews

     batcher [ -a arts ] [ -A total_arts ] [ -b size ] [ -B total_size ] [  -i
     string  ]  [ -N num_batches ] [ -p process ] [ -r ] [ -s separator ] [ -S
     alt_spool ] [ -v ] host [ input ]

     Batcher reads uses a list of  files  to  prepare  news  batches  for  the
     specified  host.   It  is normally invoked by a script run out of cron(8)
     that uses shlock(1)  to lock the  host  name,  followed  by  a  ctlinnd(8) 
     command to flush the batchfile.

     Batcher reads the named input file, or  standard  input  if  no  file  is
     given.      Relative     pathnames     are     interpreted    from    the
     <config$_PATH_BATCHDIR> (typically /var/news/spool/out.going ) directory.
     The  input  is  taken  as a set of lines.  Blank lines and lines starting
     with a number sign (``#'') are ignored.  All other lines  should  consist
     of one or two fields separated by a single space.  The first field is the
     name of a file holding an article; if it is not an an  absolute  pathname
     it  is  taken relative to the news spool directory, <config$_PATH_SPOOL>.
     (typically  /var/news/spool/articles)  The  second  field,  if   present,
     specifies the size of the article in bytes.


     -S   The ``-S'' flag may be used to specify an alternate spool  directory
          to  use  if the article is not found; this would normally be an NFS-
          mounted spool directory of a master server  with  longer  expiration

     -r   By   default,   the   program   sets   its   standard    error    to
          <config$_PATH_ERRLOG>.    (typically   /var/log/news/errlog   ).  To
          suppress this redirection, use the ``-r'' flag.

     -v   Upon exit, batcher reports statistics via syslog(3).  If the  ``-v''
          flag is used, they will also be printed on the standard output.

     -b   Batcher collects the text of the named articles  into  batches.   To
          limit the size of each batch, use the ``-b'' flag.  The default size
          is 60 kilobytes.  Using ``-b0'' allows unlimited batch sizes.

     -a   To limit the number of articles in each batch, use the ``-a''  flag.
          The  default  is  no limit.  A new batch will be started when either
          the byte count or number of articles written exceeds  the  specified

     -B   To limit the total number of bytes written for all batches, use  the
          ``-B'' flag.

     -A   To limit the total number of articles that can be  batched  use  the
          ``-A'' flag.

     -N   To limit the total number of batches that should be created use  the
          ``-N'' flag.

          In all three cases, the default is zero, which is taken to  mean  no

     -i string
          A batch starts with an identifying line  to  specify  the  unpacking
          method  to  be  used  on the receiving end.  When the ``-i'' flag is
          used, the initial string, string, followed by  a  newline,  will  be
          output  at  the  start  of  every  batch.  The default is to have no
          initial string.

     -s   Each article starts with a separator line to indicate  the  size  of
          the article.  To specify the separator use the ``-s'' flag.  This is
          a sprintf(3) format string which can have a single ``%ld'' parameter
          which  will  be  given the size of the article.  If the separator is
          not empty, then the string and a newline will be output before every
          article.  The default separator is ``#! rnews %ld''.

     -p   By default, batches are written to standard  output,  which  is  not
          useful  when  more than one output batch is created.  Use the ``-p''
          flag to specify the  shell  command  that  should  be  created  (via
          popen(3)) whenever a new batch is started.  The process is a sprintf
          format string which can have a single ``%s'' parameter which will be
          given the host name.  A common value is:

          ( echo '#! cunbatch' ; exec compress ) | uux - -r -z %s!rnews


     If the input is exhausted, batcher will exit with a zero status.  If  any
     of  the  limits  specified  with  the  ``-B,'' ``-A,'' or ``-N'' flags is
     reached, or if there is an error writing the batch, then batcher will try
     to  spool  the  input,  copying  it  to  a  file.   If there was no input
     filename,    the     standard     input     will     be     copied     to
     <config$_PATH_BATCHDIR>/host  (typically  /var/news/spool/out.going ) and
     the program will exit.  If an input filename was given, a temporary  file
     named    input.bch    (if    input    is   an   absolute   pathname)   or
     <config$_PATH_BATCHDIR>/input.bch  (typically  /var/news/spool/out.going/
     input.bch  )  (if  the  filename does not begin with a slash) is created.
     Once the input is copied, batcher will try to rename this temporary  file
     to be the name of the input file, and then exit.

     Upon receipt of an interrupt or termination signal, batcher  will  finish
     sending  the  current  article,  close  the  batch,  and then rewrite the
     batchfile according as described in the previous paragraph.

     Written by Rich $alz  <>  for  InterNetNews.   This  is
     revision 1.18, dated 1996/10/29.

     ctlinnd(8) , newsfeeds(5) , shlock(1) .

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