Usenet and Usenet Software FAQ [2 of 2 parts]

Software versions & availability

You can obtain the version number of your news software by issuing some form of "v" command to show the current version -- consult the man page for details. Current software is obtainable from almost any major Usenet site as well as the sites noted in the body of the article, above.

The following sites probably have sources to the current news software available for anyone needing a copy:

		Site		Contact
		----		-------

Sources for most of the news readers and software, including news 2.11, C News, "rn", and "trn" are also available in the comp.sources.unix archives. European sites should request the sources from their nearest backbone site.

The "archie" service can be used to locate ftp archives containing various news software packages. There are regular postings in the comp.answers newsgroup about how to use the "archie" service.

For a relatively low price, you can buy one of many CD-ROM distributions of freely-redistributable software. This may be cheaper than a long-distance phone call.


News programs communicate with each other according to standard protocols, some of which are described by RFCs. An RFC is a Request For Comment, a de facto standard in the Internet Community. It is a form of software standard, published by the Internet Network Information Center (InterNIC). Copies of RFCs are often posted to the net and obtainable from archive sites. Current news-related RFCs include the following:

    RFC 822 specifies the format of messages; RFC 1036 uses this.
    RFC 977 specifies NNTP, the Network News Transfer Protocol.
    RFC 1036 specifies the format of Usenet articles.
    RFC 1123 amends RFC 822.
    RFC 1153 specifies the digest format some moderated groups use.

See the accompanying posting "How to Get Information about Networks" for instructions on getting copies of the RFCs.

Henry Spencer has a draft of a successor to RFC1036 that attempts to document and explain all subsequent enhancements and existing practice as implemented in the newer news systems. This draft (often called son-of-1036) can be obtained by anonymous ftp from as /pub/news.txt.Z (the text version) or /pub/ (a PostScript version). Son-of-1036 is intended to be stand-alone reading and does not require that one also read RFCs 822 or 1123.


The following newsgroups cover issues discussed in this article, and can be consulted for recent developments.

bit.listserv.netnws-l	Discussion about NetNews on VM systems.
gnu.emacs.gnews		News reading under GNU Emacs using Weemba's Gnews.
gnu.emacs.gnus		News reading under GNU Emacs using GNUS (in English).	VMS B-news software from Australian National Univ.		Discussion about B-news-compatible software.	Discussion about the "nn" news reader package.	General discussion about news reading software.	The Network News Transfer Protocol.
comp.os.msdos.mail-news	Administering mail & network news systems under MS-DOS.
comp.protocols.tcp-ip   TCP and IP network protocols.
comp.protocols.tcp-ip.ibmpc     TCP/IP for IBM(-like) personal computers.
alt.usenet.offline-reader	Packages for reading mail/news off-line.

The following periodic postings in the and news.answers newsgroups are useful for people interested in news transport software.

Mark Linimon	" Introduction to"
Mark Linimon	" Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)"
Mark Linimon	"C News Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)"
Rob Robertson	"FAQ: Overview database / NOV General Information"
Tom Limoncelli	"INN FAQ Part 1/4: General Information"
Tom Limoncelli	"INN FAQ Part 2/4: Debugging Guide & Tutorial"
Tom Limoncelli	"INN FAQ Part 3/4: Operational and Misc. Questions"
Tom Limoncelli	"INN FAQ Part 4/4: Appendix A: Norman's install guide"

The following FAQ is posted periodically to and news.answers.

Bob Sloane	"FAQ:"
Users on MS-DOS machines should take a look at the FAQ posted periodically to comp.os.msdos.mail-news.
Russell Schulz	"comp.os.msdos.mail-news FAQ (01/02) intro"
Russell Schulz	"comp.os.msdos.mail-news FAQ (02/02) intro"
The following FAQs posted to alt.usenet.offline-reader and news.answers are useful for people interested in off-line news readers.
Russell Schulz	"alt.usenet.offline-reader FAQ (01/02) intro"
Russell Schulz	"alt.usenet.offline-reader FAQ (02/02) software"


The preparation of this article (and Usenet itself!) was greatly enhanced by the contributions and assistance of the following persons: Steve Bellovin, Ray Essick, Mark Horton, Brian Kantor, Phil Lapsley, Bob Page, Rich Salz, Tom Truscott, and Larry Wall. Thanks, folks.

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