|Visit the download page for freshnews|
|Go elsewhere to find out about leafnode|
The freshnews Technology Preview is a program that will manage the news connection on a permanently-connected RedHat Linux system that is running a default installation of leafnode. Freshnews will give you the fastest possible posting of articles, make new articles available to you quickly and reduce the bandwidth used by fetchnews when you are not reading news.
You don't need to know more. Click over to the download page. Get the source code. Compile it. Edit your inittab. Be happy.
If you're the more curious type, read on!
Freshnews is a program that runs fetchnews for you. If you run leafnode, and have a permanent or autodial connection to your upstream server, then you probably have a line in a cron table that runs fetchnews. I've written freshnews to replace that line. Pretty simple, huh? But wait, there's more.
Running fetchnews from cron is ok, but it does not provide the best performance for your local news server. Using cron, you must choose either a very fast cycle to get a good quality feed or a very slow cycle to reduce the bandwidth you use. Most likely you have chosen something in between and do a refresh every hour. For most people, that will be an excellent solution. But maybe you're a news addict? Maybe your upstream supplier is unreliable? Maybe you participate in high-speed discussions that can turn around in an hour or two? If any of those problems irk you, then freshnews may be just what you need.
I was rather impressed with Opera's idea of showing their code before it's time. They explained at www.opera.com that their code was not ready to release, not ready for beta, not even ready for alpha testing. But they wanted people to see the product anyway. That document may be gone now, but you can look around their site. As of this writing, I'm anxious to see the rumered TP-3 release of their Linux browser, any day now.
I've worked out most of the technical details of how freshnews should run. The code works for me, but needs a little fine tuning still. Before I fine tune it, I need to know if I'm doing this just for me or if other people are interested. Depending on the amount of interest in this Technology Preview, I will either hard-code my own setup into the code and remove this web page, or I will make an alpha version that includes one or more methods of customizing without recompiling.
When I started running leafnode, I quickly ran into a number of problems. Some of these were related to my need (professionally) for a good news feed, others were the usual problems everyone encounters before and during an upgrade of their upstream supplier's news server. I expect to run into these problems again, and I expect it will happen at the worst possible time. This program is partly my attempt to be pro-active and kill the monsters before they rise again. It's partly so I won't be tempted to open another window on my desktop so I can force fetchnews to run when I want news posted or a fresh set of headers to pick from.
I've always thought that a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe that's why I type so much, I'm trying to paint pictures. Here's a picture from my freshnews log file that shows the schedule since my last compile:
91 since last, login time. Sun Mar 26 00:28:18 2000 12 since last, read time. Sun Mar 26 00:40:57 2000 10 since last, read time. Sun Mar 26 00:51:23 2000 10 since last, read time. Sun Mar 26 01:01:57 2000 51 since last, idle time. Sun Mar 26 01:53:00 2000 81 since last, idle time. Sun Mar 26 03:14:35 2000 162 since last, idle time. Sun Mar 26 05:57:01 2000 326 since last, idle time. Sun Mar 26 11:22:53 2000 15 since last, net time. Sun Mar 26 11:38:39 2000 15 since last, net time. Sun Mar 26 11:54:14 2000 16 since last, net time. Sun Mar 26 12:09:57 2000 40 since last, login time. Sun Mar 26 12:50:38 2000Here's a real picture of the intervals:
These lines are printed for debugging purposes each time freshnews decides to run fetchnews. Let's have a look at what this means:
Since I'm just putting this page up, there are no known user problems!
If you have a problem, do not contact me until you have (a) tried hard to fix it yourself and (b) prepared a clear, concise description of the problem. DO NOT SEND SPAM OR UNSOLICITED COMMERCIAL EMAIL TO THIS ADDRESS. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bugs? In my code? You must be kidding.
|1||There is no mechanism for skipping idle and going directly to max cycle||This would only be usefull for people with expensive diallup. Easy to add, but useless to me.|
|2||Nothing shows up in the log!||Yeah. I send it under the "news" banner, apparently this is dissabled
by default. I'm looking into it and will post instructions if there
is an upgrade to the program.
Workaround: Redirect the output to a logfile as shown on the downloads page. A similar message is sent to stdout whenever the log message would appear.