Installing INN part 2: [Previous] [Up to Table of Contents] [Next]

Appendix IV:  First-time Usenet or NNTP Installation

     Since the needs and administration of systems varies so much, I can
only give some general guidelines and advice in this section.  Like Unix
system administration in general, it is unfortunately  still  true  that
most of the job will be learned "in the heat of the moment."  Once you
have INN set up, however, it should not  require  much  attention.   For
general    problems,    try    posting   to   "news.admin.misc";   use
""   and   ""   for    installation

     Once all the software has been compiled and installed, you must now
get  a newsfeed.  This involves having one (or more) sites pass along to
you all the articles that they have received.   Getting  articles  is  a
passive  action,  because it is generally more efficient that way.  (The
nntpget program is primarily a debugging aide and utility  program.   It
is not the recommended way to get a newsfeed, and most sites will prefer
you not to use it for that.)

     If you already have  Usenet  access,  you  could  post  a  note  to
"news.admin.misc"  asking  for  a feed.  Make sure to say that you are
looking for an NNTP connection!  If  you  are  a  member  of  an  NSFNet
regional  network,  or  subscribe  to  a commercial IP network, ask your
contact there at the network center.   If  they  do  not  provide  feeds
directly,  they  can  probably  help  you  find one.  You also might try
writing to the <>  mailing  list.   This
will  reach  the news administrators of many NNTP sites on the Internet.
(If you want to join the list, remember to  send  it  to  nntp-managers-
request, not nntp-managers!)

     Once have a site willing to give you a feed, you need  to  get  the
list  of  groups that they will give you.  You also need to create those
groups on your machine.  The easiest way to do this is  usually  to  ask
them  for a copy of their active file, and for you to add the entries of
the groups that you're interested in.  The location of the  active  file
is  system-dependent,  but  the  manpage  should  tell you (or the other
administrator) where it is, often within the first paragraph.   If  your
feed  can't  send  you  their active file, then you might want to find a
more competent feed!  The following command will  zap  an  active  file,
setting up the article numbers for a new site:

     sed <active.old > \
         -e  's/^\([^  ]*\)  [0-9]*  [0-9]*  \([^  ]*\)$/\1   0000000000
     000000001 \2/'

     Once the groups are set up, your newsfeed will periodically connect
to  your  NNTP  server  and  offer it any new articles that have arrived
since the last connection.  Innd will accept the connection, receive the
articles, and queue them up for any sites that you feed.

     The next step is to set it up so that your articles are  sent  back
to  your newsfeed.  To do this, create a newsfeeds entry, using the same
name that shows up in the Path header that  you  see.   (If  you  use  a
different  name,  then  use the "excludes" sub-field to avoid offering
back everything they offer you.)  This is usually done  by  giving  them
all  non-local  articles  as  a  file   feed.    For   example,   "Foo,
Incorporated" does not give any foo.* articles to anyone else.

     When someone at your site writes an article, innd will  record  the
filename  in the batch file for your upstream site.  Either send-nntp or
nntpsend will flush and lock the batchfile, and  then  call  innxmit  to
connect  to  the  remote  site  and send these queued articles out.  You
should edit the script to list the sites you want, and arrange for  cron
to  run  this script on a regular basis.  You can run it as often as you
like, but 10 minutes is a common interval.

     If you want to feed any sites via UUCP, then you will have  to  set
up file feed entries for them in the newsfeeds file, and arrange to have
cron run the send-uucp script as desired.  (UUCP batches  are  typically
only done every few hours.)

     Once you have news flowing in and out of the system, you will  have
to  expire  it or your disks will fill up.  The news.daily script should
be run by cron in the middle of the night.  It will summarize that day's
log  files, and then call expire to purge old news.  You might also want
to have cron run rnews hourly to pick up any stalled batches.   Finally,
if  your  feeds  change IP address, you might want a daily job that does
"ctlinnd reload hosts.nntp "flush cache"".  This is because innd  does
not currently time-out DNS entries.

     You will generally want to set up the cron jobs so  that  they  are
run  as the news administrator, and not as root.  A good version of cron
that makes it easy to do this can  be  found  on  in

     You will also need to get one or more programs to read news.  There
are  several  freely-available  programs  around.  Rn is popular, and is
probably  the  best  place  to  start.   The  official  distribution  is
available for anonymous FTP at in the rn directory.

     Welcome to Usenet, and have fun!

[Source:"Installing InterNetNews 1.5.1"][][Revision: 1.19 1996/11/10]
[Copyright: 1991 Rich Salz, 1996 Internet Software Consortium]
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as part of the Mib Software Usenet RKT.