Hilfe & Kontakt

How to add pl.* hierarchy to a news server (FAQ)

Von: Tomasz R. Surmacz (tsurmacz@blurp.bnafh.bofh.org.pl) [Profil]
Datum: 02.10.2009 02:15
Message-ID: <news-pl-new-site-faq-1-1254442505@ict.pwr.wroc.pl>
Followup-to: poster
Newsgroup: news.answers soc.answers news.admin.hierarchies soc.culture.polish pl.answers pl.news.admin
Posted-By: auto-faq
Archive-name: usenet/pl-news-hierarchy

How to add pl.* hierarchy to a news server

This document contains the most important things related to adding the
pl.* news hierarchy to a news server or just configuring the server to
carry it properly if pl.* groups are already there. It is intended
mainly for news system administrators (and Polish users abroad trying
to convince their news administrators to get "pl.*" groups). To make
things easier, this is a detailed step-by-step instruction, but if it
seems too elementary for you - look at the end for a quick checklist
(Use your favourite key sequence to find '=====').

If you are a news administrator at some site and somebody has asked
you to participate in distribution of pl.* groups, then read on.

If you are a news user, who wants to read the pl.* groups on his
default news server - you should find the news administrator, kindly
ask him if he could arrange receiving the pl.* newsgroups, and send
him this article (or the pointer to the HTML version at
http://www.usenet.pl/doc/news-pl-new-site-faq.html), to make his
job easier.

There are few things to do, if you are going to receive the pl.* news
hierarchy, but the most important ones are:

* getting the pl.* groups sent to you,
* sending pl.* groups back (so that your users can POST),
* configuring the hierarchy for the automatic creation of new
* appropriate handling of postings to moderated groups.

You may also find answers to some general questions about pl.* groups
at the end of this document:

* What are the pl.* groups anyway?
* Is there any 'checkgroups' message for pl.* groups?
* What about PGP-signed control messages?

1. Getting the articles.

Contact the news administrator of the news server already carrying
pl.* groups. Try to find the nearest one (try 'ping -s' and
'traceroute'). The best of course is when pl.* groups are carried over
your 'normal' feed - ie. together with other news hierarchies. But as
the pl.* news are quite young (first groups were created about June
1994), there are not many news servers outside of Poland having them,
so you may have to create a special new feed for them. Below is the
list of some servers outside Poland (and some in Poland) carrying
pl.*, that I know of. It is not very long (nor complete) as you see.
If the contact address is not explicitly listed, try 'usenet' at the
news server's address, as 'usenet@news.ict.pwr.wroc.pl'.

USA             uunet.uu.net          (X 1995)
USA             gail.ripco.com
USA/MCI         news.mcs.com
USA             ratty.wolfe.net
USA/Sprintlink  news.sprintlink.net
USA             news.hookup.net
USA             news.uoregon.edu      newsadmin@news.uoregon.edu
USA             news.efn.org          Russ Taylor (17.12.1996)
Canada/Toronto  news.ki.net           Marc G. Fournier <news@ki.net> (5.08.1996
and many more

Sweden          sunet.se              (existing feeds only!, see below)
Norway          news.uio.no           usenet@usenet.no (since XI 1996)
Netherlands     news.easy.nl          Peter Janssens <pj@easy.nl> (V 1996)
Netherlands     news.NL.net, news.xs4all.nl, news.IAEhv.nl   see note below
Germany         news.uni-stuttgart.de Kurt Jaeger <news@news.uni-stuttgart.de>
Germany         news.desy.de          Kars Ohrenberg <ohrenber@zedy00.desy.de>
Germany         news.fu-berlin.de       Vera Heinau et. al.
Australia       news.ozemail.com.au
Australia       news.mel.aone.net.au

Poland          news.ict.pwr.wroc.pl  Tomasz Surmacz <tsurmacz@ict.pwr.wroc.pl>
Poland          news.uw.edu.pl        Michal Jankowski <michalj@fuw.edu.pl>
Poland          news.icm.edu.pl       Jan Rychter <jwr@news.icm.edu.pl>
Poland          news.nask.pl          admin account

and all existing news servers in Poland (check
http://www.usenet.pl/doc/ for the more up-to-date list)

Send e-mail to any of the above news administrators, asking him if he
could feed you the pl.* hierarchy. Include your news server addresses:
the internet address of the server and its 'news name' ie. the string
which is put in the 'Path:' header. Unfortunately, sunet.se seems to
be overloaded with its newsfeeds, so its administrators will not give
you a 'new feed', but if you already have one - just ask for the pl.*
hierarchy to be added to your existing feed. In Netherlands you should
probably get the pl.* groups from your 'usual' neighbour. If not,
contact admins of news.NL.net.

Otherwise, contact other people from this list.

In reply you should get appropriate host name/news name for the host
you will be receiving pl.* articles from. (The first will be exactly
as in the list above (let it be "sample.site.pl", but the 'Path:'
address is usually a bit different - say "news.pl".) You should also
get the current list of all pl.* groups that you ought to create
manually. This list is also posted regularly to pl.answers and
pl.news.admin groups (you may connect to news.ict.pwr.wroc.pl to get
access to these groups before you establish the proper feed for pl.*
for yourself). You can get the part of newsgroups and active file also
via ftp, as stated below.

Add the internet address (sample.site.pl) to your hosts.nntp file and
restart the server or do a "ctlinnd reload hosts.nntp '' ", if you are
running INND. This way you start recognizing the other host as the
news server and not a client. The 'PathHost' ("news.pl" in our
example) will be needed for the second step - sending news back.

Now - create all the groups. You should get the list in the format of
the active file, so this little script should do the job:

--------------------------- add_pl.sh ------------------------------
# Usage: add_pl file_containing_pl_groups_in_active_format
# such as http://www.usenet.pl/doc/pl.active
# or ftp://ftp.ict.pwr.wroc.pl/pub/faq-pl/pl.active

# change this to reflect your configuration

# Pause the server  (assuming innd)
ctlinnd pause 'updating active'

cp ${ACTIVE} ${ACTIVE}.bak
awk '{ printf ("%s 0000000000 0000000001 %s\n", $1, $4); }' < $1 >>

ctlinnd reload active 'updating active'
ctlinnd go 'updating active'

or if there are not too many groups, then (for INND only):
--------------------------- add_pl_small.sh --------------------------
# Usage: add_pl_small file_containing_pl_groups_in_active_format
# such as http://www.usenet.pl/doc/pl.active

# change this to reflect your configuration

while read group last first type ; do
ctlinnd newgroup ${group} ${type}
done < $1

You should also get the descriptions of all the pl.* groups so just
'cat >>' them to the end of your 'newsgroups' file. The current list
of all pl.* groups (updated daily) can be downloaded via ftp from the
following address:


The portion of current 'active' file containing only pl.* groups can
be found at:


Even better and simpler way of creating new groups and getting in sync
is getting just the pl.newsgroups file and feeding it directly to the
docheckgroups program. This will produce a series of 'ctlinnd newgroup
... lines which can be fed to shell for execution (ie. 'cat
pl.newsgroups | docheckgroups | sh')

moderators file:

All the postings to the moderated groups under pl.* should be sent to
news-group-name@usenet.pl (with dots in the group name replaced by
hyphens) - so to your 'moderators' file add the following somewhere
near the beginning (before the default "*:%s@uunet.uu.net"):


If you have installed the innd1.5.1 server and config files, you just
have to uncomment the appropriate line in the moderators file.

control.ctl file

To get all the new pl.* groups created and removed automatically when
needed, add the following to the control.ctl file:


If you can check pgp-signed control messages, look at the end of this
document to get more info about how to set it up for the pl.*

expire.ctl file

This is completely your (or your users) policy, how long to keep the
postings in each group, but let me suggest you just one thing. There
is a special group pl.answers which is much like all *.answers groups
- it is moderated and all articles there are sent periodically with
the appropriate 'Expires:' and 'Supersedes:' headers, so it would be
best, if these were respected. If your 'standard' entry is like:
'*:A:1:10:never' - ie. 'never' remove articles with 'Expires:' header
before they expire - don't worry about pl.answers. But if you force
all articles to be expired after say 10 days - please make an
exception and add to the expire.ctl:



which means keep articles there for at least 1 day, usually 10 days if
there is no 'Expires:' header, otherwise respect the header (but in
the latter case - not longer than 60 days even if Expires: header says
it should be kept longer). All the articles have maximum 30-40 days
expiration period, so any of the above will be ok. (It is a good idea
to respect these headers in other groups too, anyway).

2. Sending news

Unless you are receiving pl.* groups through your mainstream feed, you
need to reconfigure a bit your server to send pl.* groups back. And
even if you are receiving them through your normal feeds, please make
sure they are included in the list of groups sent out.

When you asked for a pl.* feed, you also got permission to send all
pl.* groups back, so to your 'newsfeeds' file (that's in innd; in
cnews it is called 'sys') add appropriate entry for sending the pl.*
groups back. Use the 'pathhost' name (in our example - "news.pl") that
you have got, to build the entry. For example, in innd (assuming
getting news from sample.site.pl and sending them back there) it might
look like:


(replace "news.pl" with what appears in the Path: field put there by
the site feeding you) and then you also need to tell your cron job
sending news, to send them also to "sample.site.pl". If you are using
nntpsend/innxmit, add to the nntpsend.ctl file:

plnews:sample.site.pl:::-T1720 -t300
^      ^                ^
|      |                + Other useful parameters
|      Internet addres of your pl.* provider
+-- Name used in newsfeeds file.

That should be all... You may now post a test message to pl.test and
expect a reply in e-mail within a day or so, as there is an automatic
pl.test responder attached to one of the servers in Poland. If your
test posting reaches it - get yourself a beer, as you have done a good
work. :-) If you do not want to get the reply message - just include
the word 'ignore' in the message subject or body.


Once again, step by step, in short:

You probably know your own news system better than me, so these
detailed descriptions may be unnecessary. If you know how to do most
of things, use this short 'checklist' instead:
* Contact the news administrator at the other end and get the feed
for pl.* groups
* Add all existing groups to the 'active' file
* Add groups' descriptions to your 'newsgroups' file
* Add these 2 lines to the control.ctl file:

For PGP-verification of control messages see comments at the end of
this document.
* Add this line to the 'moderators' file:

* Check the expiration policy for all 'normal' groups, and if
possible - try respecting the 'Expires:' headers in pl.answers
group by putting 'never' or '60' in the last field of entry in
expire.ctl file.
* Modify your 'newsfeeds' file to feed all the pl.* groups back, so
the articles posted by your users will be transferred to other
* Send a test posting to pl.test and check whether you receive a
reply by e-mail from an autoresponder.
* If your usenet neighbours want to get pl.* groups, send them this
'starter kit' or point them to the newest version. There should be
a copy in news.answers, news.admin.hierarchies, pl.answers and
pl.news.admin at *your* server, but if not, you may always get one


That's all.

Now is the time for...


What are the pl.* groups anyway?

The pl.* news hierarchy holds Polish national groups. They sometimes
mirror similar groups in the big-eight hierarchy (with the exception,
that in pl.* groups the most used language is Polish), but some are
very specific.

Is there any 'checkgroups' message for pl.* groups?

Yes, there is. It gets posted automatically once every two months
(starting on January 1st), so you should not see it very frequently.
In addition you may get the list of pl.* groups in the 'newsgroups'
file format from the locations described above and feed it to the
'docheckgroups' program.

Should I be concerned about large volume of articles in binary sub-hierarchies?

No. There are no binary groups under the pl.* hierarchy and there are
none planned. Any binary postings sent to pl.* are usually dealt with
by friendly cancelbots.

What about PGP-signed control messages?

Yep, the control messages requesting creation or removal of groups in
the pl.* hierarchy are already PGP-signed. Of course, if your server
does not support checking of PGP signatures in control messages, you
have to trust the 'From:' headers. innd versions 1.5.1 and later
support PGP control messages by default, so you just have to uncomment
appropriate lines in the control.ctl file, as they are commented-out
by default. The public PGP key for these messages (ie. the key for
pl.announce.newgroups) is included in the innd 1.5.1 config files and
can be also found here:

pub  1024/838AF8ED 1996/05/31  pl.announce.newgroups
sig       838AF8ED               pl.announce.newgroups

Version: 2.6.2i


You may also send email to pgp-public-keys@pgp.ai.mit.edu with "GET
0x838AF8ED" in the Subject: field and empty message body.

The corrected control.ctl lines should be as follows:


They are not set as a default for innd 1.5.1, so you need to comment
out 'old' newgroup/rmgroup files and copy the above ones.

For more information on checking PGP-signed control messages, see
ftp://ftp.uu.net/networking/news/misc/pgpcontrol/README.html or
Whether or not you do a PGP validation of control messages, the
addresses they are sent from are the same as mentioned above (in the
control.ctl section).

If you have any comments on the above procedure or my description, or
if you find any errors, etc., please do tell me, so I can improve it.

Tomasz R. Surmacz (tsurmacz@adm.usenet.pl,
tsurmacz@ict.pwr.wroc.pl), 22.11.2005
RCSid: $Id: news-pl-new-site-faq.html,v 2.6 2005/11/22 03:00:16
tsurmacz Exp $

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