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23.2. Newsreaders and INN

Newsreaders running on the same machine as the server (or having mounted the server's news spool via NFS) can read articles from the spool directly. To post an article composed by the user, they invoke the inews program, which adds any header fields that are missing and forwards them to the daemon via NNTP.

Alternatively, newsreaders can access the server remotely via NNTP. This type of connection is handled differently from NNTP-based news feeds, to avoid tying up the daemon. Whenever a newsreader connects to the NNTP server, innd forks a separate program called nnrpd, which handles the session while innd returns to the more important things (receiving incoming news, for example).[1] You may be wondering how the innd process can distinguish between an incoming news feed and a connecting newsreader. The answer is quite simple: the NNTP protocol requires that an NNTP-based newsreader issue a mode reader command after connecting to the server; when this command is received, the server starts the nnrpd process, hands the connection to it, and returns to listening for connections from another news server. There used to be at least one DOS-based newsreader which was not configured to do this, and hence failed miserably when talking to INN, because innd itself does not recognize any of the commands used to read news if it doesn't know the connection is from a news reader.

We'll talk a little more about newsreader access to INN under "Controlling Newsreader Access," later in the chapter.

Notes

[1]

The name apparently stands for NetNews Read & Post Daemon.

 
 
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