newsfeeds man page on 4.4BSD

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       newsfeeds - determine where Usenet articles get sent

       The file /var/spool/news/data/newsfeeds specifies how incoming articles
       should be distributed to other sites.  It is parsed by the InterNetNews
       server innd(8) when it starts up, or when directed to by ctlinnd(8).

       The  file  is  interpreted as a set of lines according to the following
       rules.  If a line ends with a backslash, then the backslash,  the  new‐
       line,  and  any	whitespace  at	the start of the next line is deleted.
       This is repeated until the entire ``logical'' line  is  collected.   If
       the  logical line is blank, or starts with a number sign (``#''), it is

       All other lines are interpreted as feed entries.	 An entry should  con‐
       sist  of	 four  colon-separated	fields;	 two  of  the  fields may have
       optional sub-fields, marked off by a slash.  Fields or sub-fields  that
       take  multiple parameters should be separated by a comma.  Extra white‐
       space can cause problems.  Except for the site names, case is  signifi‐
       cant.  The format of an entry is:
       Each field is described below.

       The  sitename  is  the  name of the site to which a news article can be
       sent.  It is used for writing log entries and  for  determining	if  an
       article	should be forwarded to a site.	If sitename already appears in
       the article's Path header, then the article will not  be	 sent  to  the
       site.   The  name  is usually whatever the remote site uses to identify
       itself in the Path line, but can be almost any word that	 makes	sense;
       special	local  entries (such as archivers or gateways) should probably
       end with an exclamation point to make sure that they do	not  have  the
       same  name  as  any  real site.	For example, ``gateway'' is an obvious
       name for the local entry that forwards articles out to a mailing	 list.
       If  a  site  with the name ``gateway'' posts an article, when the local
       site receives the article it will see the name in the Path and not send
       the article to its own ``gateway'' entry.  If an entry has an exclusion
       sub-field, then the article will not be sent to that site if any of the
       names  specified as excludes appear in the Path header.	The same site‐
       name can be used more than once — the appropriate action will be	 taken
       for each site that should receive the article, regardless of the name —
       although this is recommended only for program feeds to avoid confusion.
       Case is not significant in site names.

       The  patterns  specify  which groups to send to the site and are inter‐
       preted to build a ``subscription list'' for the site.  The default sub‐
       scription  is  to  get all groups.  The patterns in the field are wild‐
       mat(3)-style patterns, and are matched in order	against	 the  list  of
       newsgroups  that	 the local site receives.  If the first character of a
       pattern is an exclamation mark, then any groups	matching  the  pattern
       are  removed  from  the subscription, otherwise any matching groups are
       added.	For  example,  to  receive  all	 ``comp''  groups,  but	  only
       comp.sources.unix  within  the sources newsgroups, the following set of
       patterns can be used:
       There are three things to note about this example.  The first  is  that
       the trailing ``.*'' is required.	 The second is that, again, the result
       of  the	last  match  is	 the  most  important.	 The  third  is	  that
       ``comp.sources.*'' could be written as ``comp.sources*'' but this would
       not have the same effect if there were a ``comp.sources-only'' group.

       See innd(8) for details on the propagation of control messages.

       A subscription can be further modified by specifying  ``distributions''
       that the site should or should not receive.  The default is to send all
       articles to all sites that subscribe to any of the groups where it  has
       been  posted , but if an article has a Distribution header and any dis‐
       tribs are specified, then they are checked according to	the  following

       1.     If the Distribution header matches any of the values in the sub-
	      field, then the article is sent.

       2.     If a distrib starts with an exclamation point,  and  it  matches
	      the Distribution header, then the article is not sent.

       3.     If  Distribution header does not match any distrib in the site's
	      entry, and no negations were used, then the article is not sent.

       4.     If Distribution header does not match any distrib in the	site's
	      entry,  and  any distrib started with an exclamation point, then
	      the article is sent.

       If an article has more than one distribution specified, then  each  one
       is according to the above rules.	 If any of the specified distributions
       indicate that the article should be sent, it is; if none do, it is  not
       sent — the rules are used as a ``logical or.''  It is almost definitely
       a mistake to have a single feed that specifies distributions that start
       with an exclamation point along with some that don't.

       Distributions  are text words, not patterns; it is usually a mistake to
       have entries like ``*'' or ``all'' there.

       The flags parameter specifies miscellaneous parameters.	 They  may  be
       specified  in  any  order; flags that take values should have the value
       immediately after the flag letter with no whitespace.  The valid	 flags

       <size  An article will only be sent to the site if it is less than size
	      bytes long.  The default is no limit.

	      An article will only be  sent  to	 the  site  if	it  meets  the
	      requirements  specified  in  the	checks, which should be chosen
	      from the following set:
		   d	Distribution header required
		   p	Do not check Path header before propagating

	      If a site is being fed by a  file,  channel,  or	exploder  (see
	      below),  the  server  will  normally  start  trying to write the
	      information as soon as possible.	Providing a  buffer  may  give
	      better  system performance and help smooth out overall load if a
	      large batch of news comes in.  The value of the this flag should
	      be  two  numbers	separated by a slash.  The first specifies the
	      point at which the server can start draining the feed's I/O buf‐
	      fer,  and	 the  second  specifies when to stop writing and begin
	      buffering again; the units are bytes.  The default is to	do  no
	      buffering, sending output as soon as it is possible to do so.

       Fname  This  flag specifies the name of the file that should be used if
	      it is necessary to begin spooling for the site (see below).   If
	      name  is not an absolute pathname, it is taken to be relative to
	      /var/spool/news/out.going.  Then, if the destination is a direc‐
	      tory, the file togo in that directory will be used as filename.

       Gcount If  this	flag is specified, an article will only be sent to the
	      site if it is posted to no more than count newsgroups.

       Hcount If this flag is specified, an article will only be sent  to  the
	      site if it has count or fewer sites in its Path line.  This flag
	      should only be used as a rough guide because of the loose inter‐
	      pretation	 of  the Path header; some sites put the poster's name
	      in the header, and some sites that might logically be considered
	      to  be  one hop become two because they put the posting worksta‐
	      tion's name in the header.  The default value for count is one.

       Isize  The flag specifies the size of the internal buffer  for  a  file
	      feed.   If there are more file feeds then allowed by the system,
	      they will be buffered internally in  least-recently-used	order.
	      If  the  internal	 buffer grows bigger then size bytes, however,
	      the data will be written out to the appropriate file.

	      The newsgroups that a site receives are  modified	 according  to
	      the modifiers, which should be chosen from the following set:
		   m	Only moderated groups
		   u	Only unmoderated groups

       Ssize  If the amount of data queued for the site gets to be larger than
	      size bytes, then the server will switch to  spooling,  appending
	      to    a	 file	 specified    by    the	   ``F''    flag,   or
	      /var/spool/news/out.going/ sitename if the  ``F''	 flag  is  not
	      specified.    Spooling  usually  happens	only  for  channel  or
	      exploder feeds.

       Ttype  This flag specifies the type of feed for the site.  Type	should
	      be a letter chosen from the following set:
		   c	Channel
		   f	File
		   l	Log entry only
		   m	Funnel (multiple entries feed into one)
		   p	Program
		   x	Exploder
	      Each  feed is described below in the section on feed types.  The
	      default is Tf.

       Witems If a site is fed by file, channel, or exploder, this  flag  con‐
	      trols  what  information is written.  If a site is fed by a pro‐
	      gram, only the asterisk  (``*'')	has  any  effect.   The	 items
	      should be chosen from the following set:
		   b	Size of the article in bytes
		   f	Article's full pathname
		   g	The newsgroup the article is in;
			if cross-posted, then the first of the groups this
			site gets
		   m	Article's Message-ID
		   n	Article's pathname relative to the spool directory
		   s	The site that fed the article to the server;
			from the Path header
		   t	Time article was received as seconds since epoch
		   *	Names of the appropriate funnel entries;
			or all sites that get the article
		   D	Value of the Distribution header;
			? if none present
		   H	All headers
		   N	Value of the Newsgroups header
		   O	Overview data
		   R	Information needed for replication
	      More  than one letter can be used; the entries will be separated
	      by a space, and written in the order in which  they  are	speci‐
	      fied.  The default is Wn.

	      The  ``H'' and ``O'' items are intended for use by programs that
	      create news overview databases.  If ``H'' is present,  then  the
	      all  the article's headers are written followed by a blank line.
	      An Xref header (even if one does not appear in the  filed	 arti‐
	      cle)  and	 a  Bytes  header, specifying the article's size, will
	      also be part of the headers.  If used, this should be  the  only
	      item  in	the list; if preceeded by other items, however, a new‐
	      line will be written before the headers.	 The  ``O''  generates
	      input  to	 the overchan(8) program.  It, too, should be the only
	      item in the list.

	      The asterisk has special meaning.	 It expands to	a  space-sepa‐
	      rated  list  of all sites that received the current article.  If
	      the site is the target of a funnel however (i.e., it is named by
	      other sites which have a ``Tm'' flag), then the asterisk expands
	      to the names of the funnel feeds that received the article.   If
	      the  site	 is  fed  by  a program, then an asterisk in the param
	      field will be expanded  into  the	 list  of  funnel  feeds  that
	      received	the  article.	A site fed by a program cannot get the
	      site list unless it is the target of other ``Tm'' feeds.

       The interpretation of the param field depends on the type of feed,  and
       is explained in more detail below in the section on feed types.	It can
       be omitted.

       The site named ME is special.  There should only be one such entry, and
       it  should  be the first entry in the file.  If the ME entry has a sub‐
       scription list, then that list is automatically prepended to  the  sub‐
       scription   list	  of   all  other  entries.   For  example,  ``*,!con‐
       trol,!junk,!foo.*'' can be used to set up the initial subscription list
       for  all feeds so that local postings are not propagated unless ``foo.*
       explicitly appears in the site's subscription  list.   Note  that  most
       subscriptions should have ``!junk,!control'' in their pattern list; see
       the discussion of ``control messages'' in innd(8).  (Unlike other  news
       software,  it does not affect what groups are received; that is done by
       the active(5) file.)

       If the ME entry has a distribution subfield, then  only	articles  that
       match  the  distribution	 list  are  accepted;  all  other articles are
       rejected.   A  commercial  news	server,	 for   example,	  might	  have
       ``/!local'' to reject local postings from other, misconfigured, sites.

       Innd  provides four basic types of feeds: log, file, program, and chan‐
       nel.  An exploder is a special type of channel.	In  addition,  several
       entries can feed into the same feed; these are funnel feeds, that refer
       to an entry that is one	of  the	 other	types.	 Note  that  the  term
       ``feed''	 is technically a misnomer, since the server does not transfer
       articles, but reports that an article should be sent to the site.

       The simplest feed is one that is fed by a log entry.  Other than a men‐
       tion in the news logfile, no data is ever written out.  This is equiva‐
       lent to a ``Tf'' entry writing to /dev/null  except  that  no  file  is

       A  site	fed  by a file is simplest type of feed.  When the site should
       receive an article, one line is written to the file named by the	 param
       field.	If  param is not an absolute pathname, it is taken to be rela‐
       tive to /var/spool/news/out.going.  If empty, the filename defaults  to
       /var/spool/news/out.going/sitename.  This name should be unique.

       When a site fed by a file is flushed (see ctlinnd), the following steps
       are performed.  The script doing the flush should  have	first  renamed
       the  file.   The	 server tries to write out any buffered data, and then
       closes the file.	 The renamed file  is  now  available  for  use.   The
       server will then re-open the original file, which will now get created.

       A  site	fed  by a program has a process spawned for every article that
       the site receives.  The param field must be a sprintf(3) format	string
       that may have a single %s parameter, which will be given a pathname for
       the article, relative to the news spool directory.  The full path  name
       may  be	optained  by  prefixing	 the %s in the param field by the news
       spool directory prefix.	Standard input will be set to the  article  or
       /dev/null  if  the  article cannot be opened for some reason.  Standard
       output and error will be set to the error log.  The  process  will  run
       with  the user and group ID of the /var/spool/news/data/innd directory.
       Innd will try to avoid spawning a shell if the  command	has  no	 shell
       meta-characters; this feature can be defeated by appending a semi-colon
       to the end of the command.  The full pathname of the program to be  run
       must be specified; for security, PATH is not searched.

       If the entry is the target of a funnel, and if the ``W*'' flag is used,
       then a single asterisk may be used in the param field where it will  be
       replaced	 by  the  names of the sites that fed into the funnel.	If the
       entry is not a funnel, or if the ``W*'' flag  is	 not  used,  then  the
       asterisk has no special meaning.

       Flushing a site fed by a program does no action.

       When  a site is fed by a channel or exploder, the param field names the
       process to start.  Again, the full pathname  of	the  process  must  be
       given.	When the site is to receive an article, the process receives a
       line on its standard input telling it about the article.	 Standard out‐
       put and error, and the user and group ID of the all sub-process are set
       as for a program feed,  above.	If  the	 process  exits,  it  will  be
       restarted.   If	the  process  cannot be started, the server will spool
       input to a file named /var/spool/news/out.going/sitename.  It will then
       try to start the process some time later.

       When  a site fed by a channel or exploder is flushed, the server closes
       down its end of the pipe.  Any pending data that has not	 been  written
       will be spooled; see the description of the ``S'' flag, above.  No sig‐
       nal is sent; it is up to the program to	notice	EOF  on	 its  standard
       input and exit.	The server then starts a new process.

       Exploders  are  a  superset  of	channel feeds.	In addition to channel
       behavior, exploders can be sent command lines.  These lines start  with
       an  exclamation	point, and their interpretation is up to the exploder.
       The following messages are generated automatically by the server:
	      newgroup group
	      rmgroup group
	      flush site
       These messages are sent when the ctlinnd command of the	same  name  is
       received	 by the server.	 In addition, the ``send'' command can be used
       to send an arbitrary command line to the exploder  child-process.   The
       primary exploder is buffchan(8).

       Funnel  feeds provide a way of merging several site entries into a sin‐
       gle output stream.  For a site feeding into a funnel, the  param	 field
       names the actual entry that does the feeding.

       For  more  details on setting up different types of news feeds, see the
       INN installation manual.

	      ##  Initial subscription list and our distributions.
	      ##  Feed all moderated source postings to an archiver
		   :Tp,Nm:/usr/local/bin/archive %s
	      ##  Watch for big postings
		   :exec awk '$1 > 1000000 { print "BIG", $2, $3 }' >/dev/console
	      ##  A UUCP feed, where we try to keep the "batching" between 4 and 1K.
	      ##  Usenet as mail; note ! in funnel name to avoid Path conflicts.
	      ##  Can't use ! in "fred" since it would like look a UUCP address.
		   :W*,Tp:/usr/ucb/Mail -s "News article" *
	      ##  NNTP feeds fed off-line via nntpsend or equivalent.
	      ##  Real-time transmission.,usa,na,ne,ddn,gnu,inet\
		   :Tc,Wnm:/usr/contrib/news/nntplink -i stdin
	      ##  Two sites feeding into a hypothetical NNTP fan-out program:\
	      ##  A UUCP site that wants comp.* and moderated soc groups

       The last two sets of entries show how funnel feeds can  be  used.   For
       example,	 the nntpfanout program would receive lines like the following
       on its standard input:
	      <> comp/sources/unix/888
	      <> ne/general/1003
       Since the UUCP funnel is only destined for one site,  the  asterisk  is
       not  needed  and	 entries  like	the following will be written into the
	      <> comp/society/folklore/3
	      <> comp/sources/unix/888

       Written by Rich $alz <> for  InterNetNews.   This  is
       revision 1.27, dated 1993/03/18.

       active(5), buffchan(8), ctlinnd(8), innd(8), wildmat(3).


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