2.4 News Transport Agent
As for News-Transport-Agent one can use cnews as well as INN. To help
you choose one of them, here are some of the pros and cons of both programs:
cnews consists mostly of shell-scripts, which can't be debugged very easily
and run rather slow. Cnews can't use NNTP (online-news-protocol). If you want
to use NNTP. (e.g. for various newsreaders, which can only communicate with
the news system via NNTP), you need a nntpd. Configuring a nntpd is quite
difficult and doesn't always support all the capabilities of NNTP.
INN supports NNTP natively. That's why there is always a daemon (innd) running
who makes sure that the local news-articles are immediately readable to all
users. Using cnews the articles are imported only after a specified time (e.g.
every 10 minutes) to the news system. cnews will cause problems, if there is
less than 10 MB free space in /var/spool/news.
I myself am using INN 1.5.1, because INN is considerably easier to configure
As older Slackware Distributions came with a cnews that was extremly crippled
(e.g. all man pages were missing), one should use at least the cnews package
from Slackware 2.1. As an alternative, one can get a hold of the complete
source distribution and compile it themselfs. I used the performance release
from 93/02/20 from ftp://ftp.uu.net/news/. By now there are newer releases,
but I haven't tried them yet. I will refer in this HOWTO to the older version
and I don't plan to update this certain part in the future.
The latest Slackware Distribution contains cnews as well as INN, so now
everyone has a choice. The current INN should work, but I prefer to compile
and configure software myself, so I am using the source from INN 1.5.1, which
can be obtained from :
2.5 Serial line monitor
mgetty-sendfax is a collection of programs designed to monitor, send and
receive calls and faxs on a UNIX system. Unlike a getty or uugetty which
puts the modem into "answer-mode", mgetty does not. When an incoming call
occurs, mgetty sees the "RING"s and tells the modem to answer. When the
modem answers it tells mgetty what kind of connection happens.
mgetty-sendfax documentation and FAQ can be found at
http://www.leo.org/~doering/mgetty/index.html. The source can be obtained
from most sunsite mirrors in /system/Serial/mgetty+sendfax-0.98.tar.gz.
uugetty manages the first step of the login process on a UNIX system. When
used with a modem it watches for incoming calls and (ordinarily) prints the
"login:" prompt and (reads the username and passes it off to "/bin/login").
The source for getty_ps can be obtained from most sunsite mirrors in
One can use any newsreader, e.g. tin, nn, trn, xvnews, xrn, slrn, knews,..
If one uses cnews, it should have a UUCP mode, i.e. not only NNTP, otherwise
one has to install the nntpd, which is quite difficult without any
documentation. I suggest using tin-1.3BETA.950824-color, because tin is easy
to use and requires minimal work to configure. I've included some tips on
using tin later in the document.
Here again you can use what you wish: elm, pine, mail, xmail, xmailtool,
xfmail,...Pine seems to be the reader of choice, but you may perfer another.
Some packers come with the distributions. If special packers are missing one
can always obtain them from various servers like
ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/utils/compress/ which have a packer directory:
-ZIP- unzip51 can unpack the new ZIP-format, too. There is now a zip, which
can pack the new format.
-ARJ- unarj241 unpacks ARJ archives, but there's no packer for Linux.
-LZH- lha exist as a Linux port, too.
-ARC- Old, but very important packer, as nodelists are packed with arc.
There is at least one Linux port.
-RAR- unrar101 unpacks RAR archives, I haven't found a RAR packer, yet. One
can obtain the sources to unrar at:
2.9 TIC processor
There are some small TIC processors, which are written in PERL. For instance,
tic010b.tgz (also known as lt010b.tgz) by Cees de Groot (firstname.lastname@example.org,
241:10000/1512) can be mentioned. This program is part of the ifmail package
since version 2.8a and can be found in the directory ifmail/misc/contrib/tic.
There's another TIC processor that's at ftp://ddt.demos.su/pub/u-tic/utic.
UTIC Stands for Unix TIC processor and is written by Yar Tikhiy
The permissions for the files are a little tricky, especially with the
implementation of INN and sendmail. For security reasons INN's binaries are
sticklers when it comes to file permissions, so you should never execute them
unless your the user news. For this reason, you should now look, and make sure
the users news and uucp exist in your users file. Here is what my /etc/passwd
Furthermore, the groups uucp and news must exist. It is very important that you
insert the users news, mail, root and fnet into the group uucp, so sendmail
can SUID to execute ifmail for netmail routing and processing. It seems equally
important to add the user uucp to the group news. Here is what my /etc/group
Also, all spool files should be group writeable. We will discuss this later,
but for now you just need to be aware of it.
2.11 Example configurations
As for examples, most of the one's I am using come from my own system,
they are all based on recent releases, I am running Linux kernel 2.0.35,
ifmail 2.14-tx8.8, INN 1.5.1 and sendmail 8.8.9. My Fidonet address is
1:125/710 and my hubs is 1:125/5109. You will need to substitute your
addresses for mine wherever you see them. I use two crontabs, one for
user fnet and the other for user news. I accept calls 24/7 and I poll
my uplink on a nightly basis. At present, I have no UUCP feed...:(
Please note that since everyones setup is likely to be a bit different, as
each linux distribution varies from system to system because each distributer
usually makes minor inhancesments to implement software for their paticular
system. With that said, I have tried to include most of the examples needed
from the major software packages, but if for some reason the examples do not
work as shown, you should always refer to your own systems reference manuals.
If you don't have an Internet gate yet, you should search for one, because
ifmail supports this execellently and assumes that you have an UUCP uplink
or at least a connection to a gate.
Do not use my addresses when testing your configuration.
Use your own, otherwise I will get the answers to your