Setting Up Local Newsgroups

Setting Up Local Newsgroups

If you want to use newsgroups as a way to share information within your company, you can set up a hierarchy of local newsgroups. Then, you can use these newsgroups to create virtual communities within your company, where people with shared interests can informally discuss issues and exchange knowledge.

Defining a Newsgroup Hierarchy

The first task is to define a hierarchy of newsgroups and decide what each newsgroup will discuss. For example, if your company's name is XYZ Corporation, here's a partial hierarchy of newsgroups you might define:

  • xyz.general-General items about XYZ Corporation

  • news

  • weekly cafeteria menu and any discussions about it

  • listing of items offered for sale by employees

  • openings at XYZ Corporation

  • xyz.wanted-Wanted (help, items to buy, and so on) postings by employees

  • xyz.technical.hardware-Technical discussions about hardware

  • discussions about software

Updating Configuration Files

Add descriptive entries for each of these newsgroups to the /var/lib/news/newsgroups file. Here are some entries from the /var/lib/news/newsgroups file:

control                 Various control messages (no posting).
control.cancel          Cancel messages (no posting).
control.checkgroups     Hierarchy check control messages (no posting).
control.newgroup        Newsgroup creation control messages (no posting).
control.rmgroup         Newsgroup removal control messages (no posting).
junk                    Unfiled articles (no posting). 

Add a line for each newsgroup-type its name, followed by a brief description.

Next, edit the ME entry in the /etc/news/newsfeeds file and add the phrase !xyz.* to the comma-separated list of newsgroup patterns. This ensures that your local newsgroups are not distributed outside your site.

You must also add a storage method to be used for the local newsgroups. For example, you can add the following lines in /etc/news/storage.conf to define the storage method for the new xyz hierarchy of newsgroups (change xyz to whatever you name your local newsgroups):

method tradspool {
    class: 1
    newsgroups: xyz.*

After making changes to configuration files, remember to restart the news server with the command:

service innd restart.

Adding the Newsgroups

The final step is to add the newsgroups. Once you have innd running, it's very easy to add a local newsgroup. Log in as root and use ctlinnd to perform this task. For example, here's how you add a newsgroup named xyz.general:

/usr/lib/news/bin/ctlinnd newgroup xyz.general

That command adds the xyz.general newsgroup to your site. If you use the traditional storage method, the innd server creates the directory /var/spool/news/articles/ xyz/general and stores articles for that newsgroup in that directory.

Once you have created all the local newsgroups, users from your intranet should be able to post news articles and read articles in the local newsgroups. If they have problems accessing the newsgroups, make sure that the /etc/news/readers.conf file contains the IP addresses or names of the hosts that should be able to access the innd server.

Testing Your Newsgroups

For example, I have added a newsgroup named on an INN server running on my Red Hat Linux system by using the instructions explained in the previous sections. Then, I start Mozilla Mail on another system on the LAN and edit the preferences so that the news server is set to my INN server. Next, I access the newsgroup by typing as the URL.