ctlinnd - Control the main InterNetNews daemon
ctlinnd [-hs] [-t timeout] [command [argument ...]]
ctlinnd sends a message to the control channel of innd(8), the main
In the normal mode of behavior, the message is sent to the server,
which then performs the requested action and sends back a reply with a
text message and an exit code for ctlinnd. If the server successfully
performed the command, ctlinnd will print the reply on standard output
and exit with a status of zero. If the server could not perform the
command, it will direct ctlinnd to exit with a status of one. By
default, ctlinnd will wait forever for a response from innd; this can
be changed with the -t flag.
The "shutdown", "xabort", and "xexec" commands do not generate a reply,
since they cause innd to exit. After these commands, ctlinnd will
always exit silently with a status of zero.
-h Prints a command summary. If a command is given along with the -h
flag, only the usage for that command will be given.
-s If the command was successful, don’t print the output from innd.
Specifies how long to wait for the reply from the server, for
commands other than "shutdown", "xabort", and "xexec". timeout is
the number of seconds to wait. A value of zero says to wait
forever, and a value less than zero says not to wait at all but
just exit immediately with status zero. When waiting for a reply,
ctlinnd will check every two minutes to be sure the server is still
running, to make it less likely that ctlinnd will just hang.
The default is zero, indicating that ctlinnd should wait forever.
Here is the complete list of supported commands. Note that nearly all
commands have a fixed number of arguments. If a parameter may be an
empty string, it is still necessary to pass the empty string to ctlinnd
as an argument (specified in the shell as two adjacent quotes, like
addhist message-id arrival expires posted token
Add an entry to the history database for message-id. The angle
brackets around the message-ID are optional. It should normally be
protected from the shell with single quotes.
arrival, expires, and posted should be the number of seconds since
epoch and indicate when the article arrived, when it expires (via
the Expires: header), and when it was posted (given in the Date:
header), respectively. expires should be 0 if the article doesn’t
have an Expires: header. token is the storage API token for the
article, and may be empty.
This command can only be used while the server is running, and will
be rejected if the server is paused or throttled.
Allow remote connections, reversing a prior "reject" command.
reason must be the same text given to the "reject" command, or the
empty string (which matches any reason).
Begin feeding site. The server will rescan the newsfeeds file to
find the specified site and set up a newsfeed for it. If the site
already existed, a "drop" for that site is done first. This
command is forwarded; see NOTES below.
Remove the article with the specified message-ID from the local
system. This does not generate a cancel control message; it only
affects the local system. The angle brackets around the message-ID
are optional. It should normally be protected from the shell with
single quotes (and not double quotes). For instance:
ctlinnd cancel 'email@example.com'
Note that the history database is updated with the specified
message-ID so if an article with the same message-ID is afterwards
received, it will be rejected; it is useful for rejecting spam
before it arrives.
If the server is throttled manually, this command causes it to
briefly open the history database. If the server is paused or
throttled for any other reason, this command is rejected.
changegroup group status
The newsgroup group is changed so that its status (the fourth field
in the active file) becomes status. This may be used to make an
existing group moderated or unmoderated, for example.
This command, unlike "newgroup" or "rmgroup", can only be used
while the server is running, and will be rejected if the server is
paused or throttled.
Check the syntax of the newsfeeds file and display a message if any
errors are found. The details of the errors are reported to
Flush and drop site from the server’s list of active feeds. This
command is forwarded; see NOTES below.
Print detailed information about the state of the feed to site, or
brief status about all feeds if site is the empty string.
Flush the buffer for the specified site. The action taken depends
on the type of feed the site receives; see newsfeeds(5) for more
information. This is useful when the site is being fed by a file
and batching is about to start, or to cleanly shut down and respawn
a channel feed. If site is an empty string, all sites are flushed
and the active file and history database are also flushed to disk.
This command is forwarded; see NOTES below.
Flushing the innfeed channel feed is the recommended method of
restarting innfeed to pick up new configuration. innd will spawn a
new innfeed process while the old process shuts down cleanly.
Close the news and error log files and rename them to add ".old" to
the file name, then open fresh news and error logs. The active
file and history database are also flushed to disk.
Re-open the history database and start accepting articles again,
reversing a previous "pause" or "throttle" command. reason must be
either the empty string or match the text that was given to the
earlier "pause" or "throttle" command.
If a "reject" command is in effect, this will also reverse it by
doing the equivalent of an "allow" command if the reason matches
reason. Likewise, if a "reserve" command had been given, this will
clear the reservation if reason matches the text that was given to
The history database is automatically closed on "throttle" or
"pause" and reopened on "go", so the history database can be
replaced during the pause or throttle without requiring an explicit
"reload" command. If any other configuration files or the active
file were modified, a "reload" command should be given to force the
server to re-read those files.
If the server throttled itself because it accumulated too many I/O
errors, this command will reset the error count.
If innd was not started with the -n y flag, this command also does
the equivalent of a "readers" command with "yes" as the flag and
reason as the text.
Close the socket for the specified incoming channel. This may be
useful when an incoming connection appears to be hung (although
innd will close idle connections automatically after a timeout).
Print a command summary for all commands, or just command if one is
specified. This is equivalent to the -h option.
kill signal site
Signal signal is sent to the process underlying the specified site,
which must be a channel or exploder feed. signal may be a numeric
signal number or one of "hup", "int", or "term"; case is not
Cause the server to log its current operating mode to syslog.
Reset the low water marks in the active file based on the contents
of file. Each line in file must be of the form:
This command is mostly used by news.daily to update the active file
after nightly expiration.
Print the server’s operating mode as a multi-line summary of the
parameters and the operating state. The parameters in the output
correspond to command-line flags to innd and give the current
settings of those parameters that can be overridden by command-line
Print the name and relevant information for the given incoming or
outgoing channel, or for all channels if channel is an empty
string. The response is formatted as:
where <name> is the name of the channel, <number> is its number
(generally the same as the file descriptor assigned to it), <idle>
is the idle time for an NNTP channel or the process ID for a
process channel, and <status> is the status for NNTP channels.
The type is one of the following values:
control Control channel for ctlinnd
file An outgoing file feed
localconn Local channel used by nnrpd and rnews for posting
nntp NNTP channel for remote connections
proc The process for a process feed
remconn The channel that accepts new remote connections
Channel status indicates whether the channel is paused or not.
Nothing is shown unless the channel is paused, in which case
"paused" is shown. A channel will be paused automatically if the
number of remote connections for that label in incoming.conf is
greater than max-connections within hold-time seconds.
newgroup group [status [creator]]
Create the specified newsgroup. The status parameter is the fourth
field of the active file entry, as described in active(5). If it
is not an equal sign, only the first character is used. creator
should be the identity of the person creating the group. If the
newsgroup already exists, this is equivalent to the "changegroup"
creator, encoded in UTF-8 if given, may be omitted; if so, it will
default to the newsmaster (as specified at configure time, normally
"usenet"). status may also be omitted; if so, it will default to
"y" (a normal, unmoderated group). The combination of defaults
make it possible to use the text of the Control: header directly
(although don’t do this without checking the syntactic validity of
the header first).
This command can only be done while the server is running or
throttled manually. It will update its internal state when a "go"
command is sent. This command updates the active.times file as
well. This command is forwarded; see NOTES below.
param letter value
Change the specified server parameter. letter is the innd command-
line option to set and value is the new value. For example:
ctlinnd param i 5
would direct the server to allow only five incoming connections.
To enable or disable the action of the -n flag, use "n" for the
letter and "y" or "n", respectively, for the value.
The supported values for letter are "a", "c", "H", "i", "l", "n",
"o", "T", "t", and "X".
Pause the server so that no incoming articles are accepted. No
existing connections are closed, but the history database is
closed. This should be used for short-term locks, such as when
replacing the history database. If the server was not started with
the -n y flag, this command also does the equivalent of a "readers"
command with "no" as the flag and reason as the text, encoded in
Enable or disable Perl filtering. This command is only available
if INN was built with Perl filtering support. If flag starts with
"y", filtering is enabled; if it starts with "n", filtering is
Enable or disable Python filtering. This command is only available
if INN was built with Python filtering support. If flag starts
with "y", filtering is enabled; if it starts with "n", filtering is
readers flag text
Allow or disallow readers. If flag starts with the letter "n",
then reading is disallowed by causing the server to pass text as
the value of the -r flag to nnrpd. If flag starts with the letter
"y" and text is either an empty string or the same string, encoded
in UTF-8, that was used when reading was disabled, reading will be
This command has no effect if nnrpd is being run separately rather
than spawned by innd.
Remote connections (those that would not be handed off to nnrpd)
are rejected with reason given as the explanation, encoded in
UTF-8. Existing connections are not closed.
reload what reason
Update the in-memory copy of server configuration files. what
identifies what should be reloaded, and reason is reported to
syslog in the message noting the reload.
There is no way to reload inn.conf, storage.conf, or other
configuration files for the storage or overview backends. To pick
up changes to those files, use "ctlinnd xexec innd" to restart
If what is the empty string or the word "all", everything is
reloaded. If it is the word "history", the history database is
closed and re-opened. If it is the word "incoming.conf", the
corresponding file is reloaded. If it is the word "active" or
"newsfeeds", both the active and newsfeeds files are reloaded,
which will also cause all outgoing feeds to be flushed and
If what is the word "filter.perl", the filter_innd.pl file is
reloaded. If the Perl filter defined a function
"filter_before_reload", it will be called prior to re-reading
filter_innd.pl. If the Perl function "filter_after_reload" is
defined, it will be called after filter_innd.pl has been reloaded.
Reloading the Perl filter does not enable filtering if it has been
disabled; use "perl y" to do this instead. startup_innd.pl cannot
be reloaded. This file is not available for reloading unless INN
was compiled with Perl filtering support.
If what is the word "filter.python", the filter_innd.py file is
reloaded. If a Python method named "filter_before_reload" exists,
it will be called prior to re-reading filter_innd.py. If a Python
method named "__init__" exists, it will be called after
filter_innd.py has been reloaded. Reloading the Python filter does
not enable filtering if it has been disabled; use "python y" to do
this. This file is not available for reloading unless INN was
compiled with Python filtering support.
Update the low water and high water marks for group in the active
file based on the information in the overview database. Regardless
of the contents of the overview database, the high water mark will
not be decreased. (Decreasing it may cause duplicate article
numbers to be assigned after a crash, which can cause serious
problems with the tradspool storage method.) If group is the empty
string, all newsgroups are renumbered. Renumber only works if
overview data has been created (if enableoverview is set to true in
Identical to the "lowmark" command.
Require the next "pause" or "throttle" command to use reason as its
reason, encoded in UTF-8. This reservation is cleared by giving an
empty string for the reason. This is used by programs like expire
to coordinate pauses and throttles of the server and avoid
trampling on other instances of themselves.
Remove the specified newsgroup. The group is removed from the
active file and its overview information is purged, making it
immediately unavailable to readers. Unlike the "newgroup" command,
this command does not update the active.times file.
This command can only be done while the server is running or
throttled manually. This command is forwarded; see NOTES below.
send feed text
The specified text is sent as a control line to the exploder feed.
The server is shut down, with the specified reason recorded in the
log and sent to all open connections. It is a good idea to send a
"throttle" command first so that feeds can be shut down more
If Perl or Python filtering is compiled in and enabled, certain
functions are called at "throttle" or "shutdown" (to save filter
state to disk, for example). Consult the embedded filter
documentation for details.
stathist (off | filename)
Enable or disable generation of history performance statistics. If
the parameter is "off", no statistics are gathered. Otherwise,
statistics are written to the specified file. A parser for this
file is provided in the contrib tree of the INN distribution.
status (off | interval)
Adjust the frequency with which innd reports status information to
syslog. Status reporting is turned off if "off" or 0 is given as
the argument. Otherwise, status will be reported every interval
seconds. See status in inn.conf(5) for information on how to set
Close all existing incoming connections and outgoing feeds and
reject new connections. Close the history database. This should
be used for long-term locks or for running a large number of
"newgroup" and "rmgroup" commands without restarting all outgoing
feeds between each one. (Note that changing the status of existing
newsgroups when the server is throttled cannot be done.)
If the server was not started with the -n y flag, then this command
also does the equivalent of a "readers" command with "no" as the
flag and reason as the text, encoded in UTF-8.
timer (off | interval)
Adjust the frequency with which innd reports performance
information to syslog. Performance monitoring is turned off if
"off" or 0 is given as the argument. Otherwise, statistics will be
reported every interval seconds to syslog. See timer in
inn.conf(5) for information on how to set the default.
trace item flag
Turn tracing on or off for the specified item. flag should start
with the letter "y" or "n" to turn tracing on or off, respectively.
If item starts with a number, tracing is set up for the specified
innd channel, which must be an incoming NNTP feed. If it starts
with the letter "i", general innd tracing is turned on or off. If
it starts with the letter "n", future nnrpd processes spawned by
"innd" will or will not be passed the -t flag, as appropriate.
This will not affect any nnrpd processes already running, or nnrpd
processes started by some means other than innd.
Log the specified reason and then abort. On most systems, this
will cause innd to dump a core file. This is only useful for
Shut down the server, but then rather than exiting, exec innd with
all of its original arguments except for -r. path may be either
"innd" or an empty string, both of which are equivalent. Any other
value is an error.
This is the easiest way to start a new copy of innd after upgrading
or reload configuration files that can’t be reloaded via the
In addition to being acted on by the server, certain commands can be
forwarded to an appropriate child process. If the site receiving the
command is an exploder (such as buffchan) or a funnel that feeds into
an exploder, the command can be forwarded. In this case, the server
will send a command line to the exploder that consists of the ctlinnd
command name. If the site funnels into an exploder that has an
asterisk ("*") in its "W" flag (see newsfeeds(5) for more information
on feed specifications), the site name will be appended to the command;
otherwise, no argument is appended.
ctlinnd uses Unix domain sockets on most systems to communicate with
innd and is therefore limited by whatever maximum packet size the
operating system imposes on Unix domain datagrams. This may mean that
server replies are limited to 4 KB on some systems.
Written by Rich $alz <firstname.lastname@example.org> for InterNetNews. Rewritten
in POD by Russ Allbery <email@example.com>.
$Id: ctlinnd.pod 8804 2009-11-15 09:29:51Z iulius $
active(5), active.times(5), buffchan(8), incoming.conf(5), innd(8),
inndcomm(3), inn.conf(5), newsfeeds(5), nnrpd(8).