Broken nntp server support for article-ID retrieval (Peter Flynn)
Date: Tue, 4 May 93 10:20:19 BST
From: (Peter Flynn)
Subject: Broken nntp server support for article-ID retrieval
Message-id: <>
marc ( writes on Tue May  4 08:27:34 1993

> The upshot of this is that this is the same problem I sent mail to
> www-talk about a few days ago.  Many news servers do not honor the RFC
> 977 (NNTP protocol spec) requirement to support fetching articles by
> article ID -- they only allow fetching by group and message number.
> This is a big, big problem.  There really aren't any answers, except
> to have one's news admin switch to a working NNTP server (I'm not sure
> which versions of what are working and broken, only that some servers
> work and some don't).  URL's aren't currently designed to reference
> articles by group and number, and as Tim pointed out this isn't really
> feasible, since message number is a very transient property.
> If anybody has any other ideas, please post them to the list....

A news guru colleague has pointed out here that my nntp server does
support retrieval by article-ID, it's just that it doesn't work...:-)
It seems my history file is broken, so I'm attempting repair (although
why this should be I cannot understand). My understanding is that this
failure is fairly widespread, but can someone please point me at a site
where retrieval thru www _does_ work, so I can institute some comparisons?


> Peter Flynn writes:
> > I have found a problem in retrieving news thru both www (linemode)
> > and xmosaic. Both correctly pick up my news server name, and if I
> > follow the links from `By Type' thru `Network News' to a specific
> > group, both programs correctly list the articles, but cannot access
> > the article texts, giving me instead the message `Connecting to
> > NewsHost ...' and then coming back with `Back, Quit or Help:'
> >
> > It is clear that both programs are expecting articles to be stored
> > in files with names set to the message-id. I have never encountered
> > a system which does this, and my own server runs plain vanilla nntp
> > and Cnews, which puts articles in files whose names are the article
> > numbers (sequential, 1+).
> >
> > As the www server is capable of finding the directory (and is
> > presumably grepping for 'Subject:' and piping the results back into
> > HTML---or is it actually opening each file in turn?) could not a
> > simple addition to the code see if the files are named (=message-ID)
> > or numbered (=message-number) and act accordingly?
> >
> > If this is not possible, where do I find a news system which stores
> > articles under message-ID filenames instead?