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INN - filling the groups (peering)

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Why and where

Usenet is a collaborative system: articles can be published anywhere and have to be spread al as many servers as it can, to reach users.

For my own config Peering with me (, 2021)

Those servers are named "peers" and exchanging articles is "feeding".

Of course no server is obliged to feed yours, you have to ask permissions.

You will certainly be obliged to fill similar things in your own files newsfeeds, innfeed.conf and incoming.conf.

You can also enforce the groups restriction, adding at the end of the file incoming.conf

patterns: "fr.*"

Retention time

On the past, bandwitdth and storage capacity where limited, it's no more really the case now (2022), with gigabytes storage and multicore processors.

So inf the only reason to remove old articles is space, one can keep them forever.

Using now only french groups (around 350 ones) makes it even more manageable.

So... don't change In inn.conf, setup artcutoff: 10 and in expire.ctl /remember/:11

If I understand well, these numbers are the time the ID of articles that are already removed for some reason are still kept, nothing we aim to change.

but edit the line



changing the 365 for any day number you want. This line means (see man page for details):

  • pattern: * = all groups. You can have a rule for any group writing a similar line following this one.
  • flag: select moderated or not, A is for all groups.

For the three other parts, the relevant text of the man page is:

"If <min> is set to "never", no article matching that line will ever be expired. If <default> is set to "never", no article matching that line without an explicit Expires: header will ever be expired. If <max> is set to "never", Expires: headers will be honored no matter how far into the future they are."

So no need to change first and last flag (1 and never), because is somebody set an expiry date in the headers, there may be a valuable reason and a clock may be out of date, the middle is for most article and can be a number of days or never (never expire).

Creating group list

It's done with actsync like this

 actsync -o x -v 2 -p 0 -i /etc/news/actsync.ign <peer server>


For example, a well know server is aioe, and instructions are here.

The instructions shows changes to be done in three files, specially "newsfeed". Don't forget to uncomment the innfeed lines, like this (it was commented out in my file):

# innfeed funnel master.

It's also probably best to have in inn.conf:


Sending statistics

It's well advised to send statistics about your server to the The Official TOP1000 Usenet Servers page.

For this to work you have to use ninpath

With my linux distribution (openSUSE Leap 15.3 on january 5, 2022), most of the work is already done, but you have to create the folder "path" yourself now, ie

 mkdir ~news/logs/path/

An entry like this have to be in newsfeeds, but it may be already. If not, add:

 inpaths!:*:Tc,WP:<pathbin>/ninpaths -p -d <pathlog>/path/inpaths.%d"

To start the system, type as news (the 'in...' is just a reason you can change):

 ctlinnd reload newsfeeds 'inpaths feed setup'

and you should see a new file in ~news/logs/path/.

Then add the two lines in crontab (crontab -e):

 6   6 * * *   /usr/lib/news/bin/ctlinnd flush inpaths!
 10  6 * * *   /usr/lib/news/bin/sendinpaths -c

You can test if if works with

 sendinpaths -c

This should send the statistics to the top1000 server and to your newsmaster mail, and possibly remove the file(s) in ~news/logs/path/

Control: groups modifications

This part is for french usenet.

Original article on usenet-fr

Control articles are pretty rare: they are used for creation or deletion of groups, worldwide. French ones are managed by a french team and a people nicknamed "Control" (surprise :-!). Control is the only one allowed to publish such control message.

To be sure control articles are really coming from him, the server have to import a valid pgp key doing this as "news":

gpg --import pgp-fr-2020.txt

then you can test to see if it worked by:

 gpg --list-keys

you have to get this result:

pub   rsa4096 2020-11-20 [SC]
uid          [ inconnue]
sub   rsa4096 2020-11-20 [E]

And the files in ~news/.gnupg have to be dated today.

If you have a recent enough INN install the relevant config file options are already active. Else check the link above.

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