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1 ===== IMPORTANT
3 Make sure that you have the most current version of leafnode installed.
4 Check http://sourceforge.net/projects/leafnode/ for updates.
6 You are encouraged to subscribe to the leafnode-announce mailing list,
7 available from the address above by clicking on "Lists".
9 ===== TABLE OF CONTENTS
11 - OVERVIEW
12 - FILES AND DIRECTORIES
13 - THE FILTER FILE
14 - INSTALLATION
15 - UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.6
16 - UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.3
17 - UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.20 -- IMPORTANT! INCOMPATIBLE CHANGES HERE!
18 - UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.23 -- IMPORTANT! INCOMPATIBLE CHANGES HERE!
19 - UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.11.0 -- IMPORTANT! INCOMPATIBLE CHANGES HERE!
20 - TROUBLESHOOTING (formerly called DEBUGGING)
21 - PROBLEMS
22 - HACKING
24 ===== OVERVIEW
26 Leafnode is a USENET software package designed for small sites, with a
27 few tens of readers and only a slow link to the net.
29 It consists of several programs, three essential ones and several add-ons.
31 - Leafnode is the NNTP server. It talks to the normal news clients,
32 and stores readership data.
34 - Fetchnews is the NNTP news-gatherer. It looks at the readership data
35 Leafnode stores, and selects what groups to pull news from.
37 - Texpire is responsible for deleting old and uninteresting news. It
38 deletes all discussion threads that are old and not recently read.
40 These are the add-ons that ship with leafnode:
42 - Applyfilter lets you delete articles from your local news spool
43 which fit a certain pattern.
45 - Checkgroups inserts the titles of newsgroups into the newsgroup
48 - Newsq shows which news are waiting to be transferred to your upstream
51 There are third-party add-ons for leafnode, listed in the "ADD-ONS" file.
54 Only groups that someone has been reading in the past week are fetched
55 from the upstream NNTP server. When someone stops reading a group,
56 fetchnews will stop reading that group a week later (this is the default
57 which can be configured), and when someone starts reading a group, fetchnews
58 will grab all the articles it can in that group the next time it runs.
60 Here are Leafnode's distinguishing features:
62 - Uses very little disk space and bandwidth compared to other servers.
63 Obviously truer for 3-user sites than for 30-user, and probably wholly
64 untrue for 300-user sites.
66 - Easy configuration and maintenance. Leafnode tries very hard to
67 recover automatically from error situations.
69 - The newsspool can be easily manipulated by small scripts. Some tiny
70 examples are in the subdirectory tools/ .
72 As most programs, Leafnode has also weaknesses:
74 - Scales very badly.
76 - Logging and screen output are inconsistent at times.
79 The current version of leafnode is available from:
84 There is also a leafnode mailing list. Send mail to
88 to subscribe, or visit
91 The list subscription triggers a challenge email that you need to answer
92 before the subscription becomes effective, so that nobody can subscribe you
93 without your prior consent.
95 The list archives are at:
98 ===== FILES AND DIRECTORIES
100 Leafnode puts its files in three separate directories: The spool
101 directory, the library directory, and the binaries directory. All
102 directories can be changed at compile time.
104 In the spool directory you find the stored news, the active file and
105 some other short-lived configuration file. It defaults to /var/spool/news
106 and can be changed at compilation time. There are some special
107 directories here; see the leafnode(8) man page.
109 The configuration directory contains long-lived configuration files. It
110 defaults to /etc/leafnode.
112 The binaries directory, /usr/local/sbin by default, contains the
113 executable programs applyfilter, texpire, fetchnews and leafnode.
115 The user directory, /usr/local/bin by default, contains the newsq
116 and leafnode-version programs.
119 ===== THE FILTER FILE
121 Since version 1.8, leafnode supports filtering of incoming headers for
122 arbitrary regular expressions. This feature is by default deactivated.
123 To activate it, you must write a file which contains the regular
124 expressions to be filtered (the "filter file") and in addition point
125 leafnode to this file by entering a line of the format
127 filterfile = /path/to/your/filterfile
129 into your $(LIBDIR)/config.
130 The format of the filterfile is as follows:
131 1) One regular expression per line
132 2) Comments start with # at the beginning of a line
133 3) Empty lines are allowed
135 Here is a short example which will kill everything posted to alt.flame:
137 ^Newsgroups:.*[, ]alt.flame$
138 ^Newsgroups:.*[, ]alt.flame,
140 You cannot use
144 because this will also kill postings to alt.flame.nice or comp.alt.flame.
146 Since version 1.9.3 and up to 1.11.X, leafnode used Perl-compatible regular
147 expressions which are implemented in the PCRE library written by Philip
148 Hazel, University of Cambridge, UK. Perl regular expressions should be
149 explained in any reasonable book about Perl. There is also a whole book
150 about regular expressions published by O'Reilly. A rather technical
151 explanation is given in the pcre2(3) manual page.
153 Since version 1.12.0, leafnode uses the PCRE2 library by the same author,
154 see pcre2(3) or https://www.pcre.org/current/doc/html/index.html
155 or its home page https://github.com/PhilipHazel/pcre2
157 ===== INSTALLATION
159 Read the file INSTALL.
163 ===== UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.6
165 There are some major changes from leafnode versions previous to 1.6.
166 These include leafnode-1.6alpha.
168 1) The format of the groupinfo file has changed.
170 2) Some files (including the groupinfo file) have moved from
171 /usr/lib/leafnode/ to /var/spool/news/leaf.node/
173 3) The article information for the main upstream server has
174 been moved from groupinfo into a separate file.
176 To update correctly, do a "make update" as root after you have
177 successfully completed "make install". See the file INSTALL for more
180 ===== UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.3
182 There is one more change from leafnode versions prior to 1.9.3. These
183 include leafnode-1.9.3beta versions up to leafnode-1.9.3b5.
185 The change is that the groupinfo file is now sorted in a case-insensitive
186 manner. To update correctly, do a "make update" as root after you have
187 successfully completed "make install". See the file INSTALL for more
190 ===== UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.20
192 Note: some things have changed in 1.9.20.
194 1. Fetchnews now tries to send XOVER to figure which articles to
195 download, older versions only used XHDR. Leafnode will automatically fall
196 back to using XHDR if XOVER fails.
198 2. Most leafnode programs enforce a fully-qualified unique domain name
199 and exit if gethostbyname("HOSTNAME") does not yield one. (HOSTNAME
200 is the hostname obtained from gethostname.) The important thing here
201 is that the hostname must be globally unique: only one computer (and
202 none else) in the world - yours - may use that name. You will lose
203 your own posts if this is not the case. Therefore, domain names like
204 "localhost.localdomain" do not qualify and are rejected.
206 This hostname need not be registered in DNS if it's explicitly
207 specified in the configuration file.
209 See the separate README-FQDN* documentation for details, it is
210 available (with identical contents) in plain text and HTML formats.
212 3. The behaviour of the out.going posting queue has changed. If a post
213 to an upstream server fails, the article is now moved straight into
214 failed.postings. Formerly, it would be tried on other servers.
216 4. In adverse conditions, when fetchnews cannot obtain the lock file, it
217 may leave files like /var/spool/news/leaf.node/lock.file.XXFjkle8w3
218 behind. You can remove these files at any time UNLESS fetchnews or
219 texpire is running at the same time.
221 ===== UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.9.23
223 --- REMOTE ACCESS TO LEAFNODE LISTENING ON NNTP PORT
225 If you want to give remote users (that are not in your LANs) access to your
226 server, you previously only needed to allow them in access in hosts.allow.
228 Since leafnode 1.9.23, an additional parameter is required to be set to allow
229 users outside of your LAN access to your leafnode. The config.example file
230 has documentation on how to set this parameter. This is meant as additional
231 security measure when some novice user hoses his access control
232 configuration, there have been recurring reports of "I did not ever touch
233 that newsgroup, but leafnode is pulling news for that group nonetheless" --
234 these may have been caused by unauthorized access that was accidentally
235 granted. Note: This code is somewhat stupid for IPv6, and considers link- or
236 site local addresses "local". The IPv4 code checks the leafnode computer's
237 addresses and netmasks instead.
239 DISTRIBUTORS: DO _NOT_ SET THAT PARAMETER OR EVEN CHANGE THE COMMENT IN
240 YOUR EXAMPLE CONFIG. YOU WILL BE PUBLICALLY ACCUSED ON BUGTRAQ ET AL.
242 WE CAN SAFELY AND SOUNDLY ASSUME THAT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO RUN WORLD-WIDE
243 ACCESSIBLE SERVERS CAN READ DOCUMENTATION.
245 ===== UPDATE FROM VERSIONS < 1.11.0
247 1. Configuration change:
249 The parser for the configuration and filter files now understands quoted
250 strings on the right hand side of the configuration or filter lines, with
251 simple backslash (\) escapes, to allow for hash marks (#), quote marks (")
252 and leading or trailing blanks in passwords. If such characters are used in
253 filters or configuration options, you will need to change the lines, see the
254 leafnode(8) manual page for details.
256 2. IPv6 support in fetchnews:
258 fetchnews supports IPv6 since v1.11.0. This still needs the ./configure
259 option --with-ipv6 and, of course, an operating system with IPv6 and IPv6
260 network connectivity - the latter is not widespread yet. No special
261 configuration options beyond the compile-time option is required, fetchnews
262 will transparently use IPv6 addresses if the name lookup for a server yields
263 IPv6 addresses.
265 ===== TROUBLESHOOTING (formerly called DEBUGGING)
267 To get more verbose logs out of leafnode, do this:
269 1. log in as root
271 2. in your /etc/leafnode/config, add a line "debugmode=1" to the top of
272 the file.
274 3. in your /etc/syslog.conf, add this line:
276 news.debug /var/log/news.all
278 There is a tab character between the columns here.
280 Note that a line with news.=debug is fundamentally different.
281 "news.debug" means "debug level or more severe" whereas
282 "news.=debug" means "only debug level".
284 DO NOT USE news.=debug, BUT CHANGE IT TO news.debug INSTEAD
285 if you want to see what's going on.
287 4. touch /var/log/news.all
289 5. kill -HUP `cat /var/run/syslogd.pid`
291 On some syslogds (Linux), you can add a - before the file name of step
292 #2 to have syslog write asynchronously for speed, like this:
294 news.* -/var/log/news.all
296 Again, there is a tab character between the columns here.
298 Some syslogds may complain about the asterisk in news.*. If yours does,
299 write news.debug instead of news.*.
301 ===== PROBLEMS
303 If you don't find information about your problem below, please see the FAQ.
305 ----- "fatal: libpcre.so.0: open failed: No such file or directory"
307 Add the path to your libpcre to LD_LIBRARY_PATH, for bash/ash/ksh/sh:
309 LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib ; export LD_LIBRARY_PATH
311 (For csh/tcsh, go figure yourself. These shells are unsuitable for
312 anything, find the "csh programming considered harmful" article for
313 details. csh and tcsh are not supported by leafnode.)
315 You can make this change permanent with the crle(1) tool on some
318 ----- make distcheck fails
320 Currently, make distcheck requires that a valid "news" user exists in
321 the system.
323 ----- compiler warnings
325 Solaris 2.5 emits a lot of bogus warnings at compile time, complaining
326 about missing prototypes, for mkstemp, gethostname and snprintf; about
327 the scope of struct sockaddr_in. These warnings can safely be ignored.
329 ----- portability -- other build-time problems
331 leafnode cannot be tested on all possible systems. Report compile or
332 run-time portability problems to the leafnode mailing list. However, of
333 the free operating systems (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Linux), only
334 versions supported by the vendor are supported by leafnode. Hurd,
335 Windows and Solaris 1.x (SunOS 4.x) are unsupported, meaning that no
336 workarounds for these systems will be employed. CygWin and AmigaOS are
337 currently unsupported, but may be supported in the future. Feedback is
340 Bug and portability fixes for unsupported operating systems that don't
341 impair the performance on the supported systems will however be accepted
342 if sent.
344 ----- other problems
346 You also may want to consult the Mini-Leafsite-HOWTO by Florian Kuehnert
347 <email@example.com> which was unfortunately written for leafnode-1.4 and is
348 therefore somewhat out of date. It is available from the usual places
349 (sunsite and mirrors).
351 If you want to ask on Usenet about leafnode, look in the newsgroups
352 news.software.nntp for English language and de.comm.software.newsserver
353 for German-language. Do not crosspost!
355 ===== HACKING
357 Leafnode 1.X is in maintenance mode. No new features will be added. Only
358 major bugs will be fixed. Please file any feature requests against
359 leafnode 2.0beta.
361 Hackers, remember to ./configure --enable-maintainer-mode.
363 Cornelius Krasel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
364 Matthias Andree <email@example.com>