newsbatch

NEWSBATCH(8)                System Manager's Manual               NEWSBATCH(8)



NAME
       sendbatches, batchsplit - news batching to other sites
       batcher, batchih, batchsm, batchra - news-batch preparation
       compcun - news-batch compression
       c7encode, bencode - compressed-news-batch encoding
       viauux - news-batch transmission via uucp
       viamail - news-batch transmission via mail
       viainews, viarsh - news-batch transmission by misc. means

SYNOPSIS
       /usr/lib/news/batch/sendbatches [ -p ] [ -c class ] [ site ... ]

       .../batchsplit batchsize maxsize count
       .../batcher [ listfile ]
       .../batchih [ listfile ]
       .../batchsm [ listfile ]
       .../batchra [ listfile ]
       .../compcun [ compressoptions ]
       .../c7encode
       .../bencode [ file ]
       .../viauux [ -ggrade ] [ -z ] [ -n ] [ -d decompressor ] [ -c ] [ site
       ]
       .../viamail [ -e ] [ 0-@ ] [ site ]
       .../viainews
       .../viarsh [ site ]

DESCRIPTION
       Sendbatches administers batched transmission of news to other sites.
       It should be run periodically, as the owner of the news database, by
       cron(8) or similar means.  It prepares and sends batches of news,
       subject to restrictions on available space and length of outbound
       queues.

       Normally, sendbatches does locking to ensure that only one sendbatches
       is running at a time.  The -p option suppresses the locking and permits
       parallel sendbatches runs, although lower-level locking is done to
       ensure that only one is trying to prepare batches for any particular
       site at a given time.  Parallel sendbatches runs impose very heavy
       system loads but may be useful to systems with extensive hardware
       parallelism and many outbound news feeds.

       Each site that can have batches sent to it needs a site directory under
       /var/spool/news/out.going.  If sendbatches is invoked with specific
       sites given, it considers batching for those sites, only, in that
       order.  By default, sendbatches consults the batchparms file (see
       below) to determine what to do: If there is a /default/ entry in
       batchparms, sendbatches will consider batching for all sites that have
       directories in /var/spool/news/out.going, in oldest-first order by
       modification time of the directory.  If there is no /default/ entry,
       sendbatches considers batching for those sites named in batchparms, in
       the order named.

       To use the batcher, names of files to be sent to a specific site should
       be appended to a togo file in its site directory.  The batcher expects
       the lines in togo to have two fields, a filename (as a full pathname,
       or relative to /var/spool/news) of an article and its size in bytes.  A
       missing size field is arbitrarily assumed to be a default average.

       Sendbatches uses a number of auxiliary programs to do the real work.
       The search path it uses to find them includes, in order, the site
       directory for the site in question, /var/lib/news/bin, and
       /usr/lib/news/batch.  This permits per-site and per-news-database
       overrides of the default behaviors.  Sendbatches provides all these
       programs with environment variables NEWSSITE, containing the name of
       the site that batches are being prepared for, and NEWSSITEDIR,
       containing the full pathname of the site directory, in case these are
       useful in customization.

       The names of most of the auxiliary programs, and some other parameters,
       are taken from the file /var/lib/news/batchparms, an ASCII text file.
       Empty lines and lines starting with `#' are ignored.  Other lines
       specify the behavior for sites, one line per site.  A site line is four
       fields, separated by white space.

       The first field is the site name.  A line whose site name is /default/
       specifies what parameters should be used for sites not explicitly
       mentioned.  (The presence or absence of such a line also influences the
       behavior of sendbatches when invoked without arguments; see above.)

       The second field is the class of the site.  If sendbatches is invoked
       with the -c option, it attempts batching only for sites of the
       specified class.  A class is a single letter, by convention `u' for
       UUCP feeds and `n' for NNTP feeds; user-defined classes should be
       uppercase letters.

       If the character `!' appears anywhere in the class field of a
       batchparms line, that disables the line.  Any site whose batching would
       have been controlled by that line will have no batching attempted for
       it under any circumstances.  This provides a way to turn a site off
       temporarily.

       The third field is the size of batches to be prepared (before
       compression), in bytes.  It may optionally be two sizes separated by
       `-', in which case the first is the nominal size and the second is the
       absolute maximum.  If only one size is given, that is the nominal size,
       and the absolute maximum is three times that.

       The fourth field is the maximum length of the output queue for
       transmission to that site.  If it is `-', no queue-length limiting is
       done.

       The fifth field, which may contain white space, is the command line
       (normally a pipeline of three-four programs, possibly with options) to
       be used to build, compress, and transmit batches to that site.  It
       receives the contents of the togo file on standard input.  It may not
       contain any single quotes (').

       For each site being considered for batches, sendbatches first
       determines whether there are in fact any articles to be batched.
       Assuming there are, sendbatches then finds the batchparms line for that
       site and (if queue-length limiting is done for that site) invokes
       queuelen (see newsaux(8CN)) to find out the size of the outbound queue
       for the site.  Sendbatches limits the number of batches prepared to the
       minimum of the limits implied by queue lengths and available space.

       Sendbatches uses batchsplit as necessary to slice chunks out of the
       togo file, each chunk containing the togo lines for a batch limited to
       the nominal size.  Exception:  a single article bigger than the nominal
       size will still go out as one batch, provided it does not exceed the
       absolute-maximum size.

       Each chunk is then processed through the command line, which usually
       consists of a batch preparer (typically batcher), which assembles the
       articles into a batch, a batch compressor (typically compcun), which
       performs compression, possibly a batch encoder, which encodes the
       compressed batch against the vagaries of ill-designed transmission
       channels, and a batch transmitter (typically viauux), which sends the
       batch on its way (e.g. enqueues it for transmission).  All are run with
       /var/spool/news as the current directory, so non-absolute pathnames in
       the chunk are valid filenames; NOTE that this represents a change from
       earlier releases, in which only the preparer ran there.

       If there is anything left in the file togo.leftover after a chunk is
       processed, sendbatches assumes this is the portion of the chunk which
       could not be processed at this time.  If/when this happens, sendbatches
       replaces the chunk file with the contents of togo.leftover and attempts
       no further batching to that site on this run.

       Batch preparers in the standard distribution are:

              batcher  Normal batching.

              batchih  Ihave-sending part of uucp ihave/sendme (not to be
                       confused with NNTP).

              batchsm  Sendme-sending part of ihave/sendme.

              batchra  Requested-article-sending part of ihave/sendme.

       Batchih, batchsm, and batchra have to map from the phony ``site name''
       given in their batchparms line to the name of the site they should
       actually send to; they do this by stripping off the last `.' and
       everything that follows (usually `.ihave' or `.sendme' respectively,
       but on machines which limit the size of filenames these may have to be
       shortened).

       Caution: batchih and batchsm do their work by constructing an article
       and feeding it to inews, which means that the batch size must be within
       what inews will accept, if it imposes limits (see inews(1CN)).

       Batch compressors can include ordinary programs like compress and gzip,
       but one special compressor is provided by the distribution:

              compcun  Compression with compress plus the silly B-news-
                       compatible `#! cunbatch' header.  Options, if any, are
                       passed to compress.

       Batch encoders supplied with the distribution are:

              bencode  Encodes 8-bit data using only the ASCII characters
                       ``A'' - ``Z'', ``a'' - ``z'', ``0'' - ``9'', ``+'', and
                       ``-''.  The ASCII characters blank, newline, and ``/''
                       also appear in the encoded file, but do not represent
                       encoded bits.  The encoded data is terminated with a
                       byte count and cyclic redundancy check for detecting
                       corruption.  This ought to suffice to get data through
                       almost any network.

              c7encode Encodes 8-bit data into a 7-bit form optimized for
                       transmission by uucp `f' protocol.  The encoding is
                       complex and bizarre.  Obsolete; use bencode instead.

              nencode  Feebly attempts to protect text (not compressed!) data
                       by prepending a blank line to the input and an `N' to
                       each line.  Obsolete and not recommended; use bencode
                       instead.

       Most transmitters take an optional site argument, using the value of
       the NEWSSITE variable if no argument is supplied.  Batch transmitters
       in the standard distribution are:

              viauux    Normal transmission via UUCP.  -z or -n may be used to
                        feed the corresponding option to uux.  A -g option may
                        be used to feed the grade to uux (the default is grade
                        `d').  A -d option may be used to specify a
                        decompressor program (e.g., gunzip) to the site's
                        rnews; beware that old rnewses may not recognize this.
                        -c may be used to request execution of the site's
                        cunbatch program rather than rnews.

              viamail   Mail the batch to `site!rnews'.  -e specifies mailing
                        to `site!enews' instead.  -@ specifies use of @
                        syntax, e.g. `rnews@site', instead of ! syntax.

              viainews  Feed the batch back to inews (arguments are ignored)
                        (normally useful only for ihave/sendme).

              viarsh    Use rsh to run rnews on the site via Ethernet,
                        Internet, etc.  (the directory containing rnews must
                        be in the default PATH on site).

       Sendbatches logs some information about sites with backlogs in
       /var/lib/news/batchlog (see also newsdaily(8CN)).  This is intended to
       help detection and diagnosis of flow problems.

FILES
       /var/lib/news/LOCKbatch           lock for sendbatches
       /var/lib/news/LOCKexplode         overall batch-file lock (used by batchsplit)
       /var/lib/news/L.*                 lock temporaries
       /var/spool/news/out.going/*       batch directories
       /var/spool/news/out.going/*/LOCK  per-site locks
       /var/spool/news/out.going/*/L.*   per-site lock temporaries
       /var/lib/news/batchparms          parameter file

       also see text

SEE ALSO
       inews(1CN), compress(1), uux(1), relaynews(8CN), rnews(8CN)

DIAGNOSTICS
       Complaints, if any, from sendbatches and its auxiliaries are mailed via
       report.

HISTORY
       Written at University of Toronto as part of the C News project.  A
       number of the ideas came from Chris Lewis, who was then with Motorola.
       Bencode written at University of Waterloo by Reg Quinton and Ken
       Lalonde.

BUGS
       Sendbatches estimates available space without considering the effects
       of compression; this is usually too conservative.

       Viarsh does not incorporate a spooling subsystem, so a slow site stalls
       the entire batching system and a non-responding site loses news.  It is
       not recommended for bulk transmission or where high reliability is
       essential.

       There ought to be an encoder using MIME's base64 encoding and suitable
       descriptive headers.

       The logging is overly simplistic and doesn't work well when selective
       batching (controlled by site arguments, classes, or disabling) is being
       done.



                                 10 March 1995                    NEWSBATCH(8)