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  Mail2News Mini-Howto
  Bek Oberin
  v1.2, November 2000

  This document describes how to set up your news server and the
  mail2news software to link mailing lists to local news groups.

  1.  Copyright and such

  The copyright of this document is retained by the author. Permission
  is granted to distribute the document by electronic means and on CDs
  provided that it is kept entirely in its original format. Permission
  is also granted to print a copy of this document for personal use.

  The republishing of this document in part or in whole without the
  permission of the copyright holder by any means other than as noted
  above is prohibited.

  2.  Introduction

  Why would you want to post mailing list traffic to local news groups?

  Should more than one user subscribe to the same mailing list, there is
  going to be traffic duplication.  By subscribing the site to a list
  (if this is allowed by the list owner) and 'gating' the email traffic
  to the local news server, it is possible to make mailing lists
  accessible to all site users, or, using the security features of
  subscription (particularly if there are a number of high traffic
  lists) can make worthwhile savings in bandwidth usage.

  Also, reading list traffic via a newsreader offers the advantages of
  threading and scoring/killfiles which tend not to be available in all
  mailreaders.  And, of course, it keeps your inbox free free for
  possibly more urgent, personal email.

  This mini-HOWTO describes setting up the 'mail2news' script to
  accomplish this.

  2.1.  Finding mail2news

  You can download the mail2news package including the script and this
  HOWTO and other documentation from


  3.  Overview of the system

  It is probably easiest to understand how this system works by tracking
  a message from the mailing list to the newsgroup and then a message
  posted to the local newsgroup (and gated to the mailing list) and see
  how they are handled.

  3.1.  Mail from the mailing list

  When mail from the mailing list arrives at the local machine, procmail
  figures out what newsgroup it belongs in, and pipes the incoming
  message to mail2news.

  The mail2news script processes the message, applying news headers and
  then uses rnews or inews to post the message to the newsgroup.

  3.2.  Messages posted to the local newsgroup

  The local newsgroup is set up as a moderated group, as this allows us
  to take advantage of the email capabilities of innd. Any messages
  posted to a moderated group are not immediately submitted to the
  group. Instead, messages are emailed to the moderator of the group.

  By declaring the moderator of the local newsgroup to be mailing list
  address, all locally posted messages to the newsgroup are
  automatically mailed out to the mailing list by innd and only appear
  once they have been received back through mail2news which adds the
  necessary 'approved' line to the messages and are thus acceptable to
  innd for posting to the newsgroup.

  4.  Setting up mail2news

  Put the mail2news script in a suitable location. I favour
  /usr/local/bin, but the location is up to you.

  You will need to edit script as follows:-

  �  At the top of the script, make sure you are pointing at the local
     Perl binary.  You can probably find out where Perl is by typing it,
     /usr/bin/perl is the safest bet:

     # point at the correct location of perl

  �  Edit the following lines to point at the posting program (I use
     rnews, inews will work too) and your news host:

     # $inews = "/usr/bin/inews";
     # $iopts = "-h -o \"mail2news gateway\"";
     $inews = "/usr/bin/rnews";
     $iopts = "";
     $postinghost = "";   # points at your news server

  �  Make sure that the script is exectuable:

     chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/mail2news

  5.  Procmail

  The procmail config file is at  /.procmailrc.  If you don't already
  have a procmailrc file, just create one.

  Make an entry for each mailing list that is to be gated to your local
  news server.  Something like this will do the trick for most cases,
  but might fail for mail Bcc'd to the mailing list.

  For example if your mailing list is '' and you
  want the newsgroup to be called 'lists.jokes' your entry would look
  like this:

  |/usr/local/bin/mail2news lists.jokes

  Note there's no space between the 'TO' and the list address on the
  second line.

  You need to put a blank line between the lines for each group.  Put as
  many entries as you want, using the same 3 lines for each group, but
  changing the list address and newsgroup.

  6.  Setting up the news groups and news server (innd)

  Using ctlinnd, create the newsgroups on your news server. Remember,
  these are to be local news groups, so start them with a distinctive
  name so you can filter them out from your news distributions (in your
  newsfeeds file).

  You also need to tell innd that the group is moderated (by using
  ctlinnd). Remember, innd is very sensitive to file ownership and
  permissions, so you need to interct at this level with innd as the
  news user. Indicating a moderated group is done by specifying m to the
  newgroup command.

  ctlinnd newgroup lists.jokes m

  The m tells innd that the group is moderated.

  Edit your newsfeeds file to make sure that these local groups are not
  distributed (unless you specificaly wish this to occur).

  For example, if your mailing list is called, then you
  would probably want to add !local* to the second field of your up (and
  possibly your down) stream news sites in your newsfeeds file.

  Now, in order to ensure that user messages are sent to the list
  automatically by innd, edit /etc/news/moderators to include a line
  declaring the mailing list email address as the moderator.


  7.  If it doesn't work...

  If things don't work, you need to track through the path the messages
  are taking to see exactly where things are breaking down. Useful tools
  here are the mail and news logs.

  8.  The Future

  One problem with messages posted this way is they'll have a
  Newsgroups: header in them, and some other junk that the newsserver
  introduces.  This isn't a major problem, but it makes the messages
  "messy".  It'd be nice if some program could intercept them and re-
  write the headers before sending them on.

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