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       innfeed - multi-host, multi-connection, streaming NNTP feeder.


       innfeed  [  -a spool-dir ] [ -b directory ] [ -C ] [ -c filename ] [ -d
       num ] [ -e bytes ] [ -h ] [ -l filename ] [ -m ] [ -M ] [ -o bytes ]  [
       -p file ] [ -S file ] [ -x ] [ -y ] [ -z ] [ -v ] [ file ]


       Innfeed  implements  the  NNTP  protocol  for transferring news between
       computers.  It handles the standard  IHAVE  protocol  as  well  as  the
       CHECK/TAKETHIS  streaming  extension.  Innfeed  can  feed any number of
       remote hosts at once and will open multiple connections to each host if
       configured  to  do  so. The only limitations are the process limits for
       open file descriptors and memory.

       As an alternative to using NNTP, INN may also be fed to an IMAP server.
       This is done by using an executable called imapfeed, which is identical
       to innfeed except for the delivery process.  The new  version  has  two
       types  of  connections:  an LMTP connection to deliver regular messages
       and an IMAP connection to handle control messages.


       Innfeed has three modes of operation: channel, funnel-file and batch.

       Channel mode is used when no filename is given on the command line, the
       ‘‘input-file’’  keyword is not given in the config file, and the ‘‘-x’’
       option is not given.  In channel mode innfeed runs with stdin connected
       via  a pipe to innd. Whenever innd closes this pipe (and it has several
       reasons during normal processing to do so), innfeed will exit. It first
       will  try  to  finish  sending  all  articles  it  was in the middle of
       transmitting, before issuing a QUIT command.  This  means  innfeed  may
       take  a  while  to  exit depending on how slow your peers are. It never
       (well, almost never) just drops the connection.

       The recommended way to restart innfeed when  run  in  channel  mode  is
       therefore  to  tell  innd  to  close  the  pipe and spawn a new innfeed
       process.  This can be done with ‘‘ctlinnd flush <feed>’’  where  <feed>
       is the name of the innfeed channel feed in ‘‘newsfeeds’’.

       Funnel-file mode is used when a filename is given as an argument or the
       ‘‘input-file’’ keyword is given in the config  file.   In  funnel  file
       mode  it reads the specified file for the same formatted information as
       innd  would  give  in  channel  mode.  It  is  expected  that  innd  is
       continually  writing  to  this file, so when innfeed reaches the end of
       the file it will check periodically for new information. To prevent the
       funnel  file from growing without bounds, you will need to periodically
       move the file to the side (or simply remove it) and have innd flush the
       file.  Then,  after the file is flushed by innd, you can send innfeed a
       SIGALRM, and it too will close the file and open the new  file  created
       by innd. Something like:

              innfeed -p /var/run/news/ my-funnel-file &
              while true; do
                   sleep 43200
                   rm -f my-funnel-file
                   ctlinnd flush funnel-file-site
                   kill -ALRM ‘cat /var/run/news/‘

       Batch mode is used when the ‘‘-x’’ flag is used.  In batch mode innfeed
       will ignore stdin, and will simply process any  backlog  created  by  a
       previously running innfeed. This mode is not normally needed as innfeed
       will take care of backlog processing.


       Innfeed expects a couple of things to  be  able  to  run  correctly:  a
       directory  where it can store backlog files and a configuration file to
       describe which peers it should handle.

       The configuration file is described  in  innfeed.conf(5).   The  ‘‘-c’’
       option can be used to specify a different file.

       For  each  peer  (say,  ‘‘foo’’),  innfeed manages up to 4 files in the
       backlog directory: a ‘‘foo.lock’’ file, which prevents other  instances
       of  innfeed  from interfering with this one; a ‘‘foo.input’’ file which
       has old article information innfeed is  reading  for  re-processing;  a
       ‘‘foo.output’’  file  where  innfeed is writing information on articles
       that couldn’t be processed (normally due to a slow  or  blocked  peer);
       and a ‘‘foo’’ file.

       This  last  file  (‘‘foo’’) is never created by innfeed, but if innfeed
       notices it, it will rename it to ‘‘foo.input’’ at the next  opportunity
       and  will  start reading from it. This lets you create a batch file and
       put it in a place where innfeed will find it. You  should  never  alter
       the .input or .output files of a running innfeed.

       The format of these last three files is one of the following:

              /path/to/article <message-id>
              @token@ <message-id>

       This  is  the  same  as the first two fields of the lines innd feeds to
       innfeed, and the same as the first two fields of the lines of the batch
       file  innd  will  write if innfeed is unavailable for some reason. When
       innfeed processes its own batch files it ignores everything  after  the
       first two whitespace separated fields, so moving the innd-created batch
       file to the appropriate spot will work,  even  though  the  lines  have
       extra fields.

       The  first  field  can  also  be a storage API token.  The two types of
       lines can be intermingled; innfeed will  use  the  storage  manager  if
       appropriate  and  otherwise treat the first field as a filename to read

       Innfeed writes its current status to the  file  ‘‘innfeed.status’’  (or
       the file given by the ‘‘-S’’ option). This file contains details on the
       process as a whole, and on  each  peer  this  instance  of  innfeed  is

       If  innfeed  is  told  to send an article to a host it is not managing,
       then the article information will be  put  into  a  file  matching  the
       pattern  ‘‘innfeed-dropped.*’’, with part of the file name matching the
       pid of the innfeed process that is writing to  it.   Innfeed  will  not
       process  this  file except to write to it. If nothing is written to the
       file then it will be removed if innfeed exits normally.


       Upon receipt of a SIGALRM innfeed will close the funnel-file  specified
       on  the  command  line, and will reopen it (see funnel file description

       Innfeed with catch SIGINT and will write a large debugging snapshot  of
       the state of the running system.

       Innfeed  will  catch  SIGHUP  and  will  reload  the  config file.  See
       innfeed.conf(5) for more details.

       Innfeed will catch SIGCHLD and will close and reopen all backlog files.

       Innfeed will catch SIGTERM and will do an orderly shutdown.

       Upon receipt of a SIGUSR1 innfeed will increment the debugging level by
       one; receipt of a SIGUSR2 will decrement it by one. The debugging level
       starts  at  zero  (unless  the ‘‘-d’’ option it used), in which case no
       debugging information is emitted. A larger value for  the  level  means
       more debugging information. Numbers up to 5 are currently useful.


       There  are  3  different  categories  of syslog entries for statistics:
       Host, Connection and Global.

       The Host statistics are generated for a given peer at regular intervals
       after  the  first connection is made (or, if the remote is unreachable,
       after spooling starts).  The  Host  statistics  give  totals  over  all
       Connections  that  have  been  active  during the given time frame. For
       example (broken here to fit the page, with ‘‘vixie’’ being the peer):

         May 23 12:49:08 data innfeed[16015]: vixie checkpoint
                 seconds 1381 offered 2744 accepted 1286
                 refused 1021 rejected 437 missing 0 spooled 990
                 on_close 0 unspooled 240 deferred 10 requeued 25
                 queue 42.1/100:14,35,13,4,24,10

       These meanings of these fields are:

       seconds   The time since innfeed connected to the  host  or  since  the
                 statistics were reset by a ‘‘final’’ log entry.

       offered   The number of IHAVE commands sent to the host if it is not in
                 streaming mode.  The sum of the number of  TAKETHIS  commands
                 sent  when  no-CHECK  mode is in effect plus the number CHECK
                 commands sent in streaming mode (when no-CHECK mode is not in

       accepted  The number of articles which were sent to the remote host and
                 accepted by it.

       refused   The number of  articles  offered  to  the  host  that  it  it
                 indicated  it  didn’t  want  because  it had already seen the
                 Message-ID.  The remote host indicates this by sending a  435
                 response  to  an  IHAVE  command or a 438 response to a CHECK

       rejected  The number of articles transferred to the host  that  it  did
                 not  accept  because it determined either that it already had
                 the article or it did not want it because  of  the  article’s
                 Newsgroups:  or  Distribution: headers, etc.  The remote host
                 indicates that it is rejecting the article by sending  a  437
                 or 439 response after innfeed sent the entire article.

       missing   The number of articles which innfeed was told to offer to the
                 host but which were not present in the article spool.   These
                 articles  were  probably  cancelled or expired before innfeed
                 was able to offer them to the host.

       spooled   The number of  article  entries  that  were  written  to  the
                 .output backlog file because the articles could not either be
                 sent to the host or be refused by it.  Articles are generally
                 spooled either because new articles are arriving more quickly
                 than they can be offered to  the  host,  or  because  innfeed
                 closed  all  the  connections  to the host and pushed all the
                 articles currently in progress to the .output backlog file.

       on_close  The number of articles that were spooled when innfeed  closed
                 all the connections to the host.

       unspooled The  number of article entries that were read from the .input
                 backlog file.

       deferred  The number of articles that the host told  innfeed  to  retry
                 later  by sending a 431 or 436 response.  Innfeed immediately
                 puts these articles back on the tail of the queue.

       requeued  The number of articles that were in progress  on  connections
                 when  innfeed  dropped those connections and put the articles
                 back on the queue.  These connections may have been broken by
                 a  network  problem or became unresponsive causing innfeed to
                 time them out.

       queue     The first number is the average (mean) queue size during  the
                 previous  logging interval.  The second number is the maximum
                 allowable queue size.  The third number is the percentage  of
                 the  time  that  the  queue  was  empty.   The fourth through
                 seventh numbers are the percentages  of  the  time  that  the
                 queue  was >0% to 25% full, 25% to 50% full, 50% to 75% full,
                 and 75% to <100% full.  The last number is the percentage  of
                 the time that the queue was totally full.

       If  the ‘‘-z’’ option is used (see below), then when the peer stats are
       generated, each Connection will log its stats  too.  For  example,  for
       connection number zero (from a set of five):

         May 23 12:49:08 data innfeed[16015]: vixie:0 checkpoint
                 seconds 1381 offered 596 accepted 274
                 refused 225 rejected 97

       If  you  only  open a maximum of one Connection to a remote, then there
       will be  a  close  correlation  between  Connection  numbers  and  Host
       numbers,  but  in general you can’t tie the two sets of number together
       in any easy or very meaningful way. When a Connection  closes  it  will
       always log its stats.

       If  all  Connections for a Host get closed together, then the Host logs
       its stats as ‘‘final’’ and resets its counters. If the feed is so  busy
       that  there’s  always  at  least  one Connection open and running, then
       after some amount of time (set via the config file), the Host stats are
       logged  as  final  and  reset.  This is to make generating higher level
       stats from log files, by other programs, easier.

       There is one log entry that is emitted for a Host just after  its  last
       Connection closes and innfeed is preparing to exit. This entry contains
       counts over the entire life of the process. The  ‘‘seconds’’  field  is
       from  the  first time a Connection was successfully built, or the first
       time spooling started. If a Host has been completely idle, it will have
       no such log entry.

         May 23 12:49:08 data innfeed[16015]: decwrl global
                 seconds 1381 offered 34 accepted 22
                 refused 3 rejected 7 missing 0

       The  final log entry is emitted immediately before exiting. It contains
       a summary of the statistics over the entire life of the process.

         Feb 13 14:43:41 data innfeed-0.9.4[22344]: ME global
                       seconds 15742 offered 273441 accepted 45750
                       refused 222008 rejected 3334 missing 217


       -a     The ‘‘-a’’ flag is used to specify the top of the article  spool
              tree.  Innfeed  does  a chdir(2) to this directory, so it should
              probably   be    an    absolute    path.    The    default    is
              <patharticles in inn.conf>.

       -b     The ‘‘-b’’ flag may be used to specify a different directory for
              backlog file storage and retrieval. If the path is relative then
              it  is  relative  to  <pathspool in inn.conf>.  The  default  is

       -c     The ‘‘-c’’ flag may be used to specify a different  config  file
              from  the  default  value.  If  the  path is relative then it is
              relative    to    <pathetc in inn.conf>.    The    default    is

       -C     The  ‘‘-C’’ flag is used to have innfeed simply check the config
              file, report on any errors and then exit.

       -d     The ‘‘-d’’ flag may be  used  to  specify  the  initial  logging
              level.  All  debugging  messages  go to stderr (which may not be
              what you want, see the ‘‘-l’’ flag below).

       -e     The ‘‘-e’’ flag may be used to specify the size limit (in bytes)
              for  the  .output  backlog  files innfeed creates. If the output
              file gets bigger than 10% more than the  given  number,  innfeed
              will  replace  the  output  file  with  the tail of the original
              version. The default value is 0, which means there is no  limit.

       -h     Use the ‘‘-h’’ flag to print the usage message.

       -l     The   ‘‘-l’’  flag  may  be used to specify a different log file
              from stderr. As innd starts  innfeed  with  stderr  attached  to
              /dev/null,  using  this  option  can  be  useful in catching any
              abnormal  error  messages,  or  any  debugging   messages   (all
              ‘‘normal’’ errors messages go to syslog).

       -M     If  innfeed  has  been  built with mmap support, then the ‘‘-M’’
              flag turns OFF the use of mmap(); otherwise it has no effect.

       -m     The ‘‘-m’’ flag is used  to  turn  on  logging  of  all  missing
              articles.  Normally  if  an  article is missing, innfeed keeps a
              count, but logs no further information. When this flag is  used,
              details about message-id and expected pathname are logged.

       -o     The  ‘‘-o’’  flag sets a value of the maximum number of bytes of
              article data innfeed is supposed to keep in memory. This doesn’t
              work properly yet.

       -p     The ‘‘-p’’ flag is used to specify the filename to write the pid
              of  the  process  into.  A  relative   path   is   relative   to
              <pathrun in inn.conf>. The default is ‘‘’’.

       -S     The  ‘‘-S’’  flag  specifies  the  name of the file to write the
              periodic staus to. If the path  is  relative  it  is  considered
              relative    to    <pathlog in inn.conf>.    The    default    is

       -v     When the ‘‘-v’’ flag is given, version information is printed to
              stderr and then innfeed exits.

       -x     The  ‘‘-x’’  flag  is  used  to  tell  innfeed not to expect any
              article information from innd but just to  process  any  backlog
              files that exist and then exit.

       -y     The  ‘‘-y’’  flag is used to allow dynamic peer binding. If this
              flag is used and article information is received from innd  that
              specifies an unknown peer, then the peer name is taken to be the
              IP name too, and an association with it is created.  Using  this
              it  is  possible  to  only  have  the  global  defaults  in  the
              innfeed.conf file, provided the peername as used by innd is  the
              same  as the ip name.  Note that innfeed with ‘‘-y’’ and no peer
              in innfeed.conf would cause a problem  that  innfeed  drops  the
              first article.

       -z     The  ‘‘-z’’ flag is used to cause each connection, in a parallel
              feed configuration, to report statistics when the controller for
              the connections prints its statistics.


       When  using  the  ‘‘-x’’  option,  the  config  file entry’s ‘‘initial-
       connections’’ field will be the total number of connections created and
       used,  no matter how many big the batch file, and no matter how big the
       ‘‘max-connectiond’’ field specifies. Thus a value of 0  for  ‘‘initial-
       connections’’ means nothing will happen in ‘‘-x’’ mode.

       Innfeed  does  not  automatically  grab the file out of out.going--this
       needs to be prepared for it by external means.

       Probably too many other bugs to count.


       innfeed.conf   config file.
       innfeed        directory for backlog files.


       Written by James Brister <> for InterNetNews.   This  is
       revision 7799, dated 2008-04-26.