Welcome to INN 2.5!
This work is sponsored by Internet Systems Consortium.
Please see INSTALL for installation instructions, NEWS for what's
changed from the previous release, and LICENSE for the copyright,
license, and distribution terms.
What is INN?
INN (InterNetNews), originally written by Rich Salz, is an extremely
flexible and configurable Usenet / Netnews news server. For a complete
description of the protocols behind Usenet and Netnews, see RFC 3977
(NNTP), RFC 4642 (TLS/NNTP), RFC 4643 (NNTP authentication), RFC 4644
(streaming NNTP feeds), RFC 5536 (USEFOR), RFC 5537 (USEPRO) and
RFC 6048 (NNTP LIST additions) or their replacements.
In brief, Netnews is a set of protocols for exchanging messages between
a decentralized network of news servers. News articles are organized
into newsgroups, which are themselves organized into hierarchies. Each
individual news server stores locally all articles it has received for a
given newsgroup, making access to stored articles extremely fast.
Netnews does not require any central server; instead, each news server
passes along articles it receives to all of the news servers it peers
with, those servers pass the articles along to their peers, and so on,
resulting in "flood fill" propagation of news articles.
A news server performs three basic functions: it accepts articles from
other servers and stores them on disk, sends articles it has received
out to other servers, and offers stored news articles to readers on
demand. It additionally has to perform some periodic maintenance tasks,
such as deleting older articles to make room for new ones.
Originally, a news server would just store all of the news articles it
had received in a file system. Users could then read news by reading
the article files on disk (or more commonly using news reading software
that did this efficiently). These days, news servers are almost always
stand-alone systems and news reading is supported via network
connections. A user who wants to read a newsgroup opens that newsgroup
in their newsreader software, which opens a network connection to the
news server and sends requests for articles and related information.
The protocol that a newsreader uses to talk to a news server and that a
news server uses to talk to another news server over TCP/IP is called
NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol).
INN supports accepting articles via either NNTP connections or via UUCP.
innd, the heart of INN, handles NNTP feeding connections directly; UUCP
newsfeeds use rnews (included in INN) to hand articles off to innd.
Other parts of INN handle feeding articles out to other news servers,
most commonly innfeed (for real-time outgoing feeds) or nntpsend and
innxmit (used to send batches of news created by innd to a remote site
via TCP/IP). INN can also handle outgoing UUCP feeds.
The part of INN that handles connections from newsreaders is nnrpd.
Also included in INN are a wide variety of supporting programs to handle
periodic maintenance and recovery from crashes, process special control
messages, maintain the list of active newsgroups, and generate and
record a staggering variety of statistics and summary information on the
usage and performance of the server.
INN also supports an extremely powerful filtering system that allows the
server administrator to reject unwanted articles (such as spam and other
abuses of Usenet).
INN is free software, supported by Internet Systems Consortium and
volunteers around the world. See "Supporting the INN Effort" below.
Compiling INN requires an ANSI C compiler (gcc is recommended). INN was
originally written in K&R C, but supporting pre-ANSI compilers has
become enough of a headache that a lot of the newer parts of INN will no
longer compile with a non-ANSI compiler. gcc itself will compile with
most vendor non-ANSI compilers, however, so if you're stuck with one,
installing gcc is highly recommended. Not only will it let you build
INN, it will make installing lots of other software much easier. You
may also need GNU make (particularly if your system make is
BSD-derived), although most SysV make programs should work fine.
Compiling INN also currently requires a yacc implementation (bison will
INN uses GNU autoconf to probe the capabilities of your system, and
therefore should compile on nearly any Unix system. It does, however,
make extensive use of mmap(), which can cause problems on some older
operating systems. See INSTALL for a list of systems it is known to
work on. If you encounter problems compiling or running INN, or if you
successfully run INN on a platform that isn't listed in INSTALL, please
let us know (see "Reporting Bugs" below).
Perl 5.004 or later is required to build INN and use the embedded Perl
filter support (which is highly recommended; some excellent spam filters
have been written for INN). Since all versions of Perl previous to
5.004 are buggy (including security problems) and have fewer features,
installing Perl 5.004 or later (like at least Perl 5.8.0) is
If you want to enable PGP verification of control messages (highly
recommended), you will need to have a PGP implementation installed. See
INSTALL for more details.
A news server can be a fairly complicated piece of software to set up
just because of the wide variety of pieces that have to be configured
(who is authorized to read from the server, what newsgroups it carries,
and how the articles are stored on disk at a bare minimum, and if the
server isn't completely stand-alone -- and very few servers are -- both
incoming and outgoing feeds have to be set up and tested). Be prepared
to take some time to understand what's going on and how all the pieces
fit together. If you have any specific suggestions for documentation,
or comments about things that are unclear, please send them to the INN
maintainers (see "Reporting Bugs" below).
See INSTALL for step-by-step instructions for setting up and configuring
a news server.
INN also comes with a very complete set of man pages; there is a man
page for every configuration file and program that comes with INN. (If
you find one that doesn't have a man page, that's a bug. Please do
report it.) When trying to figure out some specific problem, reading
the man pages for all of the configuration files involved is a very good
We're interested in all bug reports. Not just on the programs, but on
the documentation too. Please send *all* such reports to
(patches are certainly welcome, see below). Even if you post to Usenet,
please CC the above address.
If you have general "how do I do this" questions or problems configuring
your server that you don't believe are due to a bug in INN, you should
post them to news.software.nntp. A lot of experienced INN users,
including several of the INN maintainers, read that newsgroup regularly.
Please don't send general questions to the above addresses; those
addresses are specifically for INN, and the INN maintainers usually
won't have time to answer general questions.
If you have a patch or a utility that you'd like to be considered for
inclusion into INN, please mail it to
in the body of the message (not as an attachment because the
mailing-list might strip it), or put it on a webpage and send a link.
Patches included with a bug report as described above should follow the
There are various INN-related mailing lists you can join or send
messages to if you like. Some of them you must be a member of before
you can send mail to them (thank the spammers for that policy), and one
of them is read-only (no postings allowed).
Where announcements about INN are set (only
maintainers may post).
Discussion of INN development. It is also where
to send bug reports and patches for
consideration for inclusion into INN (postings
by members only). If you're an INN expert and
have the time to help out other users, we
encourage you to join this mailing list to
answer questions. (You may also want to read
the newsgroup news.software.nntp, which gets a
lot of INN-related questions.)
Subversion commit messages for INN are sent to
this list (only the automated messages are sent
here, no regular posting).
firstname.lastname@example.org Trac tickets for INN are sent to this list (only
the automated messages are sent here, no regular
posting). Bug reports should be sent to the
inn-workers mailing list.
To join these lists, send a subscription request to the "-request"
address. The addresses for the above lists are:
Who's Responsible / Who to Thank
See CONTRIBUTORS for a long list of past contributors as well as people
from the inn-workers mailing list who have dedicated a lot of time and
effort to getting this new version together. They deserve a big round
of applause. They've certainly got our thanks.
This product includes software developed by UUNET Technologies, Inc. and
by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.
Last, but certainly not least, Rich Salz, the original author of INN
deserves a lion's share of the credit for writing INN in the first place
and making it the most popular news server software on the planet (no
NNTP yet to the moon, but we plan to be there first).
INN users may also be interested in the following software packages that
work with INN or are based on it. Please note that none of this
software is developed or maintained by ISC; we don't support it and
generally can't answer questions about it.
URL: <http://www.mixmin.net/cleanfeed/> (maintained by Steve Crook)
Cleanfeed is an extremely powerful spam filter, probably the most
widely used spam filter on Usenet currently. It catches excessive
multiposting and a host of other things, and is highly configurable.
Note that it requires that INN be built with Perl support (the
--with-perl option to configure).
Cleanfeed was originally developed by Jeremy Nixon who maintained it
until 1998. Then Marco d'Itri until 2002. Steve Crook has been
maintaining it since 2007.
GUP (Group Update Program)
GUP provides a way for your peers to update their newsfeeds entries
as they want without having to ask you to edit the configuration
file all the time. It's useful when feeding peers take limited and
very specific feeds that change periodically.
/innduct.8> (maintained by Ian Jackson)
A possible replacement for innfeed, innxmit and nntpsend that
quickly and reliably streams Usenet article to a remote site.
innduct is designed to be robust and not to lose any articles (when
offered to peers) in case it unexpectedly dies, contrary to innfeed.
It also permits a realtime feed, contrary to innxmit or nntpsend.
A PHP-based web news reader that works as a front-end to a regular
news server such as INN and lets people read and post without
learning a news reader.
PersonalINN is a version of INN modified for personal use and with a
friendly GUI built on top of it. It is available for NEXTSTEP or
OPENSTEP only, unfortunately.
suck is a separate package for downloading a news feed via a reading
connection (rather than via a direct NNTP or UUCP feed) and sending
outgoing local posts via POST. It's intended primarily for personal
or small-organization news servers who get their news via an ISP and
are too small to warrant setting up a regular news feed.
Serving the same purpose as suck, newsx is a separate package for
downloading a news feed via a reading connection and sending
outgoing local posts via POST. Some people find suck easier to
configure and use, and some people find newsx easier. If you have
problems with one, try the other.
Supporting the INN Effort
Note that INN is supported by Internet Systems Consortium, and although
it is free for use and redistribution and incorporation into vendor
products and export and anything else you can think of, it costs money
to produce. That money comes from ISPs, hardware and software vendors,
companies who make extensive use of the software, and generally
kind-hearted folk such as yourself.
Internet Systems Consortium has also commissioned a DHCP server
implementation and handles the official support/release of BIND. You
can learn more about the ISC's goals and accomplishments from the web
page at <https://www.isc.org/>.
$Id: readme.pod 9590 2013-12-19 17:48:22Z iulius $