Tony Houghton

Table of Contents

Quick start guide
Obtaining newsstar
Directories used
Setting up
The file
Setting up for download
Setting up for upload
Command-line options
Upgrading from versions earlier than 0.7.0
How it works
Preparing articles for upload
Running the binary, processing downloaded articles, clearing up
Migrating from suck
Score-based killfiling
Interrupting while running
Contact details


Newsstar fetches news and posts it to a local server; INN, s-news and sn are supported, and it should be easy to adapt for other servers with some configuration and extra scripts. It's designed for Unix-like systems, and all the development was done on Linux.

There are already plenty of other programs to do this, but what makes newsstar special is that it can make multiple simultaneous connections, not only to one server, but to several, supporting up to 10 threads. Before fetching each article it checks that it hasn't already been downloaded by another thread or in a previous session. It can also pipeline article requests to make better use of available bandwidth.

I wrote it because a number of ISPs I have used suffer from unreliable newsfeeds. There is an excellent free server made available by, but it can be a bit slow at times, and using external servers uses more bandwidth. Therefore I wanted a program which could fetch whatever articles my ISP has available, but use the foreign server to avoid missing posts or getting them very late, and to do it as fast as possible.

Newsstar is distributed under the GPL. If you are reading this file offline you should have a file called COPYING with details. Due to a long-term illness I am unable to earn a living, either by programming or by any other means, so any gifts will be much appreciated. You can use the Sourceforge/Paypal donation scheme or see below to find out where to send cheques or cash etc.

Quick start guide

A quick start guide is provided, with brief instructions on how to configure newsstar once it is installed. It starts off in the source distribution as docs/; this is readable, but some directory names are abstracted, enclosed in @ symbols. After configure has been run, docs/QuickStart will be available, containing the actual directory names.

If you are installing from source, and you want to use the quick start guide, read on to the building section, follow the instructions there, then read the generated guide.

If you are using a binary package, the guide should be available in /usr/share/doc/newsstar.