Thursday, December 29, 2011

Posting Binaries on Usenet

I've written about Usenet before, as in downloading off Usenet, but I've never gotten around to posting binaries or feeling a need to. Until now. I saw a request for an old movie that I had as an ancient VHS rip, and the request looked so lonely I just had to fill it. But how? I never posted to Usenet before, so I fired up MT-Newswatcher X and thought it would be a simple process. Instead I found a deal-breaker. First, it doesn't encode files in yenc. Annoying, but not a death blow. But then I found out it doesn't post filenames longer than 31 characters. Hold on. Now I like Mac OS 9 just as much as the next person, but do we really want to go back there? No, no, no. There has to be another option.

So I went looking, and there aren't a ton of choices for OS X. There's Unison by Panic, Inc. (Panic, huh? As in kernel panic? Oh, wait, that's Unsanity). There's also Thoth by living legend Brian Clark. Both of these are shareware, and there's also a shareware utility called Cocoa Newspost whose developer website is missing, so support may have ended.

I also looked at the possibility of using Pan on OS X, but while deciding to steer clear of that PITA, I learned about a command line utility called Newspost. A command line utility? No simple GUI, having to learn complex text commands, having to compile it yourself? Baby, you're a black hole and I'm a nice plump juicy class G star!

Newspost's website calls it a "usenet binary autoposter for Unix," but there is no statement it runs on OS X. However, OS X is Unix, so why not compile it and try it, right? Well, what do ya know, it worked! All it took was a simple make && make install, no configure script necessary. The only glitch was man newspost returned No manual entry for newspost. Don't know why that is since it's in /usr/local. Oh well, the man page is here on the internet, too. Now let's get on to using it!

There are basically two commands you need to enter. First, setting your defaults (just once), and second, the command to post (for each time you post). Setting your defaults is the stunningly complicated and labor intensive task of typing this:

newspost -f emailaddress -F personality -o organization -i newsserver -u username -p password -z 119 -d

Replace emailaddress with the email you want other users to see, personality with the name you want other users to see (enclose it in quotes if it has a space), organization with your organization, newsserver with your Usenet news server address, username with your Usenet account username, password with your password (please make it more complex than "password"). The port number is always 119, and the trailing -d says to make these defaults.

Next it's time to post something, probably to alt.binaries.test for starters. If you're posting a single file, this will require the stunningly complicated and labor intensive task of typing this:

newspost -s "subject of your post" -n alt.binaries.test -y /path/to/file

Posting multiple files can be done like this:

cd to /directory/of/files

newspost -s "subject of your post" -n alt.binaries.test -y filename*


newspost -s "subject of your post" -n alt.binaries.test -y *.mp4

The "filename*" means you're posting all the files in that folder with the same filename but with different extensions (like a split mp4 with a bunch of pars and an nfo). The "*mp4" means posting every file in that folder with an mp4 extension.

And that's pretty much it. The man page and this how-to pretty much tell you all you need. So happy posting! Just don't break Usenet.

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