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 com-
puters. 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. The startinnfeed
process can then be told to start imapfeed instead of innfeed. (See
the INSTALL file for how to do this.)
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 trans-
mitting, 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.
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 continu-
ally 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/innfeed.pid my-funnel-file &
while true; do
rm -f my-funnel-file
ctlinnd flush funnel-file-site
kill -ALRM ‘cat /var/run/news/innfeed.pid‘
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:
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
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 manag-
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 pat-
tern ‘‘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 inn-
feed.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 Con-
nections 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: 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
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 indi-
cated 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 command.
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 .out-
put 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
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 sev-
enth 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: 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 num-
bers, 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: 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: 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 <patharti-
cles 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 ‘‘inn-
-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 rela-
tive to <pathetc in inn.conf>. The default is ‘‘innfeed.conf’’.
-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 ver-
sion. 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 ‘‘nor-
mal’’ 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 arti-
cles. 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 ‘‘innfeed.pid’’.
-S The ‘‘-S’’ flag specifies the name of the file to write the
periodic staus to. If the path is relative it is considered rel-
ative to <pathlog in inn.conf>. The default is ‘‘innfeed.sta-
-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 arti-
cle 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 inn-
feed.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
-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-connec-
tions’’ 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-connec-
tions’’ 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.
infeed.conf config file.
innfeed directory for backlog files.
Written by James Brister <email@example.com> for InterNetNews. This is
revision 1.9, dated 2002/12/03.
Man(1) output converted with