Provided by: cnews_cr.g7-40.4_i386 bug


        newsdb  -  USENET network news database: article tree, history, active,


        Each news article is stored in a separate file with one or more  links,
        each  a numeric name in a directory under /var/spool/news corresponding
        to a newsgroup the article is (cross-)posted to.  For example, an arti‐
        cle    posted    to    comp.unix.wizards    might    be    stored    in
        The file /var/lib/news/active defines the locally-valid news groups and
        contains  one  line  per group.  Each line consists of four blank-sepa‐
        rated fields: newsgroup name, highest local  article  number  assigned,
        lowest  local  article number in use (approximately), and a flag.  Both
        article-number fields are at least five digits wide.  (Some older  news
        software  may expect exactly five digits.)  The current flag values are
        y (a normal unmoderated group), n (like y  but  local  postings  disal‐
        lowed),  m  (a normal moderated group), x (a locally-disabled group, no
        articles will be filed here), and = (followed by the real  group  under
        which  to  file articles in this group; articles are treated exactly as
        if their Newsgroups: header specified the real  group  instead  of  the
        original one; highest and lowest fields are ignored).
        The  file /var/lib/news/active.times is an extension of the active file
        that records the arrival of new newsgroups by time and creator.  When a
        new  newsgroup  is  created, the group name, time of group creation (as
        seconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00, GMT), and  mail  address  of  the
        creator  are appended as a single line.  The file must always be sorted
        in increasing order of the creation-time field.  The news software only
        appends  to  the file, which normally suffices to ensure this.  An ini‐
        tial active.times for already existing newsgroups, with all times equal
        to  the time of its creation and all creators ‘‘unknown’’, can be built
        using (see newsmaint(8CN)).  Active.times provides a quick
        way for newsreaders to tell when new groups have arrived, without weird
        heuristics and expensive schemes like storing old lists  of  newsgroups
        and comparing them to the active file.
        The  file  /var/lib/news/history  contains  one  line  for each article
        received.  Each line consists of three tab-separated fields: a Message-
        ID:,  a  complex  middle  field, and the list of links to this article.
        The links are separated by blanks and are given as  pathnames  relative
        to  /var/spool/news,  except  that  all  the  ‘/’s  except the last one
        (between the last component of the newsgroup name and the numeric arti‐
        cle name) are replaced by ‘.’s.  If an article has been expired or can‐
        celled without being seen first, the list of links and the  tab  before
        it are omitted.
        The middle history field potentially has several subfields separated by
        tilde (~).  Currently only three are defined:  the  arrival  date,  the
        expiry  date,  and an optional article size in bytes.  The arrival date
        is a time_t (see time(2); in Unix a time_t is a count of seconds  since
        the  GMT beginning of 1970) expressed as a decimal integer.  The expiry
        date is another decimal time_t, or the contents of the Expires:  header
        from  the  message, or ‘-’ indicating that there was no explicit expiry
        date given.
        There are also index files to permit rapid history lookup  by  message-
        id,  typically  called /var/lib/news/history.dir and /var/lib/news/his     
        Also usually present now are overview files,  one  per  newsgroup;  see
        newsoverview(5) for more detail on them.


        A trivial active file.
             control 0000600006 600004 y
             junk 0000000076 00074 y
    0000000006 00004 y
             talk.bizarre 0000296123 292136 n
             comp.sys.sun 0000050175 50173 m
             list.sun-spots 0000000076 00076 =comp.sys.sun
             comp.os.vms 0000000000 00000 x
        A trivial history file.
             <3451@hcr.UUCP>     581905588~-    comp.text/1317 comp.sources.wanted/4200
             <9383@alice.UUCP>   611934511~-


        dbz(1),   readnews(1CN),   rn(1),   dbz(3Z),   getabsdate(3),  news(5),
        newsoverview(5),   newssys(5),   expire(8CN),   newshist(8CN),    news‐
        maint(8CN), relaynews(8CN), newsinvaders(9.1)


        Active.times invented by Mark Moraes and Geoff Collyer as part of the C
        News project.


        Reader implementors are warned that the various files  mentioned  here—
        the  active  file,  the  history file, the article tree itself, and the
        overview files—in general are  not  updated  perfectly  simultaneously.
        Nor are they necessarily updated in a predictable order.
                                   18 Nov 1994                      NEWSDB(5cn)