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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  RELAYNEWS (8)


relaynews - store and forward netnews articles




/usr/local/libexec/cnews/relay/relaynews [ -hsux ] [ -a dupsite ] [ -b xrefsite ] [ -c currdir ] [ -d fhlmt ] [ -o days ] [ -n notefile ]


Relaynews installs locally and broadcasts (network) news articles read from its standard input. Typically the articles will be in a batch (see news(5)), which must not be compressed (see compress(1)). Articles are usually queued for transmission to one’s netnews neighbours via newsbatch(8CN) and thence via uux(1) or snntp(1).

-d turns on debugging of filing, headers, locking, matching, transmission. -h prevents generation of history entries for rejected articles; the default behaviour generates larger history files that allow NNTP receivers to more efficiently reject offered articles. -s makes discarding an article a serious matter, justifying a non-zero exit status (for the benefit of inews). -c is an optimisation: currdir is assumed to be the current directory; in the absence of this option, pwd is invoked. -u unlinks (removes) any filename arguments after successful processing; they are assumed to be relative to currdir ( ‘pwd‘ if none). -o causes articles with dates (in Date: headers) more than days old to be dropped (usually to stop accidentally-retransmitted old articles). -n causes the current time (as decimal ASCII) to be written into the notefile (which should be an absolute pathname) once if relaynews finds it necessary to use symbolic links when filing articles.

-x prevents generation of Xref: headers in articles filed in exactly one newsgroup; use of this option will interfere with generation of news overview data and mirroring via -b. -b causes relaynews to not update active and file articles received directly from xrefsite under the groups and article numbers found in incoming Xref: headers. -b provides the basis for a news mirroring facility. -a similarly causes active to not be updated and duplicate articles received directly from dupsite to be accepted, but filed under the filenames found in their existing history entries. It may be used to recover a news spool, given recent active and history files.

Control messages, recognised by their Control: headers are filed under the control pseudo-group only, but are forwarded as usual, by examining their Newsgroups: and Distribution: headers. Note that posting to the control pseudo-group will not cause a message to be treated as a control message; control is not a real newsgroup.

An article which contains an Also-Control: header is treated normally except that the contents of the header are executed as if they were the contents of a Control: header. Such an article is a form of hybrid message since it functions as an ordinary article yet also causes control functions to be executed. The Supersedes: header is a special case and is rewritten internally only to Also-Control: cancel.

Articles which contain no locally-known (to the active file) newsgroups yet accepted by the local subscription list are filed exactly once, in the junk pseudo-group, and forwarded as usual. If all newsgroups in the article are refused by the local subscription list or are refused by an x in active file entries, then the article will be discarded and not filed in junk.

Locally-generated articles need not be permitted by the local subscription list but are otherwise processed normally; this is for backward compatibility and perhaps to keep the local subscription list short by not requiring general and the like to be named.


cd /var/news/in.coming
relaynews -uc /var/news/in.coming -o 7 nntp.* >>/var/lib/news/log 2>>/var/lib/news/errlog"

File and forward articles in batches that arrived by NNTP, and remove each batch upon successfully processing it. Discard any articles more than a week old.


/var/news netnews article tree
/var/news/comp/unix/wizards example newsgroup directory (for comp.unix.wizards); such directories and their ancestor directories will be created automatically as needed
  example article file name
  default sys file F, f, n and I flags batch file name (N.B.: /var/news/out.going/system will not be automatically created as needed)
/var/lib/news/sys determines who receives broadcast netnews articles, which ones, and how they are to be sent articles
/var/lib/news/active contains locally-legal newsgroups and (un)moderated flag
/var/lib/news/history record of articles received and mapping of message-ids to file names
/var/lib/news/history.{dir,pag} dbm(3Z) index into history by message-ids
/var/lib/news/whoami if present, contains news system’s site name, overriding any other host names
/var/lib/news/log conventional log of incoming articles
/var/lib/news/errlog conventional log of errors, should be empty
/var/lib/news/headers article headers of the last relaynews invocation; consumed to generate overview data
/var/lib/news/bin system-specific directory of programs to override /usr/local/libexec/cnews and its subdirectories
/usr/local/libexec/cnews/ctl directory of programs to implement control messages
/usr/local/libexec/cnews/relay/relaynews the lean, mean news-relayin’ machine
/usr/local/libexec/cnews/newsreply generates a return address from article headers /var/lib/news/replyusepath tells newsreply to use the Path header rather than the From header for the return address


compress(1), snntp(1), uux(1), dbm(3Z), news(5), newsdb(5), newsbatch(8CN), rnews(8CN)
ARPA Internet RFCs 1036 and 850


Usually found in /var/lib/news/errlog.
Relaynews’s exit status is 0 for successful completion, 1 if at least one batch was bad and worth manual inspection, and 2 if the news system needs human attention.
If relaynews cannot establish safe standard file descriptors and standardise its environment (notably PATH, SHELL and IFS), probably due to failure of malloc(3), it will exit with status of 1 and without writing any complaints on standard error ( errlog), as a (possibly-obsolete) security precaution.


Written by Geoff Collyer at the University of Toronto as part of the C news project.


A control message which cannot be filed in the control pseudo-group and which cannot be filed in the junk pseudo-group because junk is not in the active file will generate an error message which refers to the groups in its Newsgroups: header instead of referring to the control pseudo-group.

Relaynews could run faster in some circumstances and would be simpler if Control: were required to be the first header, if present, and if Newsgroups: were required to be the next.

The whole control message and hybrid message situation is a festering bug. Either control messages should be eliminated, or all forms of backward compatibility should be dropped (including Control: and Supersedes:) and only Also-Control: should be supported.

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--> RELAYNEWS (8CN) 10 October 1993

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