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INN FAQ Part 4

NOTE: The maintainers of the INN FAQ stopped publishing in December 1997.
An important update to this topic is provided by Mib Software in the Usenet RKT for Subscribers.

Subject: (4.3) How does it all fit together?

Here is a fantastic overview of the workings of INN.

From: Ken Hornstein <kenh@leps5.phys.psu.edu>

I discovered that the biggest problem I had with INN was understanding how
everything fits together (since I had no experience with B or C news).
Here's a (hopefully) simple description of how everything fits

After running rc.news (as "root"), you should have the "innd" daemon
running ("ps" will show the process to be owned by "news"). This is
the Master Daemon. It handles incoming connections, stores the
articles on your disk, but does _not_ send any articles out itself. It
directs other programs to do that. Exactly where articles are sent and
how they are sent is determined by the "newsfeeds" file. Setting up
your newsfeeds file will be the hardest part of configuring INN. Here
are some example entries from my newsfeeds file:


Looks complicated? It isn't. Here's what it means:

"ra" is the name of the feed. "/ra.nrl.navy.mil" is an alias for ra.
This is important because INN uses the "Path" header to insure the
articles are not sent to sites where they have already been. Thus, any
article that has "ra" or "ra.nrl.navy.mil" in the Path header will NOT
be sent to this site. We know that no other site inserts "ra.nrl.navy.mil"
because it is a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). We know that no
other site inserts "ra" because it is registered in the UUCP Maps.
(Ok, "ra" isn't registered so I'm just taking a small gamble.)

The second line tells what articles will be sent out to this site.
"*,!psu.*" means that articles for (all newsgroups minus those that
match "psu.*") will be sent to ra. The details of the pattern matching
is found in the wildmat(3) man page. The "/!psu" means that articles
with a "Distribution" header of psu will also not be sent to ra.

The last field specifies exactly what _kind_ of feeds. "Tf" means this
is a file feed. Unless you have unusual requirements, all of your
feeds will be file feeds. "Wnm" means that the relative path name and
the Message-ID of the article will be written to this file. The "n"
means "relative path name", the "m" means "Message-ID of the article".
The newsfeeds(5) man page explains all the letters you can use with
"W". By default, the output file is called the same name as your feed
file, and is in your out.going directory. So on my system, every
article destined to ra will have its filename and Message-ID written to
the file "/var/spool/news/out.going/ra".

So how do the articles actually GET to ra? You run a program that
reads the feeds file and transmits the article. Two such programs are
included with INN -- "send-nntp" and "nntpsend". My personal
preference is for nntpsend. If you are going to use nntpsend, you will
need to add a similar line to your nntpsend.ctl file:


This tells nntpsend that articles in the feed file "ra" should be sent
to the site "ra.nrl.navy.mil". I run nntpsend out of cron every 10
minutes with this line:

(in "news"'s cron)
0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /usr/local/news/bin/nntpsend

Or, if you use an old-style cron (like Ultrix does):
0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /bin/su news -c '/usr/local/news/bin/nntpsend'

UUCP feeds work similarly and are described in a different section.

As each article comes in (note that hosts feeding you _must_ be listed
in the hosts.nntp file), innd will examine it and distribute to your
listed feeds based on the above-described selection criteria.

Another important thing to do is to make sure your articles get
expired. This is done from the "news.daily" script. The "expire.ctl"
file describes how long you want each article to last. Here are some
sample lines from my expire.ctl:


This line tells expire to keep history entries for articles at least 14


This is the default line. This says that by default, an article is
kept a minimum of one day, the default expiration time is 7 days (this
applies if there is no "Expires" header), and the very maximum that the
article is kept is 21 days.


This line applies to groups only in Penn State. By default, those
articles will last 14 days, 28 days at the most.

Note that lines in expire.ctl should have the most general entries
first, with the most specific entries last.

Lastly, where do newsreaders fit in? When a newsreader connects to the
innd process, it sees that this is not a feeder (the hosts.nntp file
lists only sitest that feed YOU) so it forks a nnrpd process and hands
the connection to it. This way innd can concentrate on newsfeeds.
Some newsreaders don't open a connection, but instead read the articles
out of "/usr/spool/news" (and gets meta data from "/usr/lib/news").
INN doesn't need to do anything about those readers except to make
sure the right data is where they expect it.


[Source: INN FAQ Part 4 Archive-name: usenet/software/inn-faq/part4]
[Last Changed: $Date: 1997/08/26 01:26:21 $ $Revision: 2.19 $]
[Copyright: 1997 Heiko Rupp, portions by Tom Limoncelli, Rich Salz, et al.]