>There was a news reader program posted to comp.sources.unix a couple of days
>ago. After the tty driver gets fully debugged, there may be lots of interest
>in reading news directly on MINIX. Anybody interested in taking a look at
>this news reader and evaluating its potential for MINIX?
Well, the news reader vn probably woundn't be too difficult to port to
MINIX, since it only uses termcap and not curses, and much of the stuff
specific to SysV or BSD seems to be well #ifdefed. However once you get it
ported, it won't do you any good 'cause there won't be anything there for it
to read! Vn, or Larry Wall's rn, or readnews, or whatever program you
use for reading, only reads the news; it doesn't get the news articles
onto your system. All vn or any other news reader is is a fancy way to
do a "more" or its equivalent on a bunch of files and keep track of which
ones have already been seen by the user.
In order to get netnews running on your PC you need other stuff besides
just the newsreader. As Jim Paradis pointed out, the reader's the easy part.
1. A serial tty driver. The Paradis driver is probably good enough
for netnews use if you either A) have an AT or B) don't mind having to
transfer all your news at 1200 baud. This has been a main stumbling block
to running netnews under MINIX.
2. A uucp-like comm program (e.g. DCP). Since you'll probably be
getting a newsfeed from a UNIX site, your system needs to speak the same
protocol that it does, and this means UUCP. There are at least three PD
UUCP clones about; the one I'm familiar with is DCP. Last I heard,
Jim Paradis had ported DCP to MINIX, but there were still some problems
with file transfers. Has this been fixed?
3. The netnews-transfer software. This is the software that both
ends of the news link use to handle the collections of news articles
("batches") that are transferred over UUCP. The purpose of the news software
is to read the incoming batches, break them up into individual articles,
do some messing around with the headers, put copies of the articles in the
appropriate subdirectories of /usr/spool/news, and ,if your system feeds
another site, prepare batches to go to it. There are also auxilary programs
like "expire", which deletes news articles older than a specified limit.
The most commonly used news software on the Usenet is called "B News".
4. Once you've got all the above, then you need a news reader
program like vn.
Quote:>About a year ago, Henry Spencer mentioned that he and a colleague also had a
>news reader program, although I don't remember much about it.
I think you're referring to C News by Henry Spencer and Geoff Collyer of
the Univ. of Toronto. It is *not* a news reader; rather it is a
rewritten-from-scratch replacement for the current B News, with several
improvements, most notably improved speed. Currently the C News software
is in alpha test (not even beta test yet), but it's reportedly fairly
bug-free even so. Either B News or C News should be possible to port
to MINIX (or at least easier to port than porting them to MSDOS is :-).
Netnews is a fairly large and complex system (the source code to C
News runs ca. 600K bytes), but there shouldn't be too much trouble in the
port. Spencer and Collyer worked fairly hard to ensure portability among
various dialects, including V7; I'm not too familiar with B News internals,
but I believe it also has appropriate #ifdefs for V7.
So you see, Andy, it should be possible to get a PC under MINIX onto this
here network, but it's considerably more involved than just porting the
one program you mentioned.
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