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Re: Reducing Usenet Bandwidth

  • From: R.P. Aditya
  • Date: Mon Feb 11 23:22:46 2002


On Fri, Feb 08, 2002 at 10:09:12PM -0800, Stephen Stuart wrote:
> The topic being discussed is to try to reduce USENET bandwidth. One
> way to do that is to pass pointers around instead of complete
> articles. If the USENET distribution system passed pointers to

Just to chime in, the idea of passing pointers around has come up in several
different versions over the last so many years and combined with
pre-fetching/caching seems like a very good idea; it's a pity that no one has
really tried it given that many of the tools already exist (disclaimer: I've
been dabbling with writing something using existing protocols on and off for
some time).

So far, and this was inspired by the loss of a clariNet newsfeed, I've written
a silly little personal nntp server based on an SQL back-end that collects RSS
pointers to website "articles". The server stores the "pointers" (URLs) and
retrieves the article directly from the remote webserver (or local http cache)
on demand (currently spits out html, ugh). The header info (overview) is
composed of the RSS data (unfortunately quite sparse in most cases) and the
"headline" fetcher script builds a "score" for each article based on my
predefined criteria.

I've found at least one mailing list archive that produces RSS files for each
mailing list that can be simliarly used to populate a "newsgroup". So mailing
lists provide a simple way of creating a "publishing" method other than a
website.

In all these cases, "replying" to a message is a bit involved, but not
impossible.

So, as far as I can tell, all the tools exist to implement a new set of
newsgroups based on existing protocols that don't involve the massive bit
movement of Usenet however preserve the highly efficient news reading
mechanisms of news readers.

Anyone have a sample, open-source, robust NNTP server implemented in Java or
perl that needs a SQL backend and article population mechanism?

Adi




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