Provided by: inn2_2.6.0-2_amd64 bug

NAME

       actsync, actsyncd - Synchronize newsgroups

SYNOPSIS

       actsync [-AkmT] [-b hostid] [-d hostid] [-g max] [-i ignore-file] [-I hostid] [-l hostid]
       [-n name] [-o format] [-p min-unchanged] [-q hostid] [-s size] [-t hostid] [-v verbosity]
       [-w seconds] [-z seconds] [host] host

       actsyncd config [debug-level [debug-format]]

DESCRIPTION

       actsync permits one to synchronize, compare, or merge two active files.  With this utility
       one may add, change, or remove newsgroups on the local news server to make it similar to
       the list of the newsgroups found on another system or file.  The synchronization need not
       be exact.  Local differences in newsgroup lists may be maintained and preserved.  Certain
       newsgroup errors may be detected and optionally corrected.

       There are several reasons to run actsync (or actsyncd) on a periodic basis.  Among the
       reasons are:

       · A control message to add, change or remove a newsgroup may fail to reach your site.

       · Your control.ctl may be out of date or incomplete.

       · News articles for a new newsgroup may arrive ahead (sometimes days ahead) of the control
         message.

       · Control messages may be forged, thus bypassing the restrictions found in control.ctl
         unless you set up PGP authentication (and even then, not all hierarchies use PGP
         authentication).

       · Your active file may have been trashed.

       If either host argument begins with "." or "/", it is assumed to be the name of a file
       containing information in the active(5) format.  The getlist(1) utility may be used to
       obtain a copy of a remote system's active file via its NNTP server, or an FTP client
       program can retrieve such a file from an FTP archive (such as
       <ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/CONFIG/active>; see more about this below).  Newsgroup
       information from a file may be treated as if it was obtained from a host.  In this man
       page, the host arguments on the command line are called hosts, even though they may be
       file names.

       If a host argument does not begin with "." or "/", it is assumed to be a hostname or
       Internet address.  In this case, actsync will attempt to use the NNTP protocol to obtain a
       copy of the specified system's active file.  If the host argument contains ":", the right
       side will be considered the port to connect to on the remote system.  If no port number is
       specified, actsync will connect to port 119.

       Regardless how the active file information is obtained, the actions of actsync remain the
       same.

       The first host specified is taken to be the local host, the one where any changes would be
       made.  The second host specified is the remote host that is being synchronized with.  If
       only one host is specified, it is assumed to be the remote host to synchronize with, and
       the local host is assumed to be the default local NNTP server as specified by the
       NNTPSERVER environment variable or by the server value found in inn.conf.

       If either host is specified as "-", the default server will be used for that host,
       determined as described above.

       The newsgroup synchronization, by default, involves all newsgroups found on both hosts.
       One may also synchronize a subset of newsgroups by directing actsync to ignore certain
       newsgroups from both systems.  Only newsgroups with valid names will be synchronized.  To
       be valid, a newsgroup name must consist only of alphanumeric characters, ".", "+", "-",
       and "_".  One may not have two "." characters in a row.  The first character must be
       alphanumeric, as must any character following ".".  The name may not end in a "."
       character.

       The actsyncd daemon provides a convenient interface to configure and run actsync.  If a
       host is not initially reachable, the daemon will retry up to 9 additional times, waiting 6
       minutes before each retry.  This daemon runs in the foreground, sending output to standard
       output and standard error.  It then uses mod-active(8) to update the active file if there
       are commands for ctlinnd in its output.

       The configuration filename for the daemon is given as a command line argument, usually
       actsync.cfg in pathetc.  The config file can contain the following options:

           host=<host>
           ftppath=<path-to-active>
           ignore_file=<ignore-file>
           flags=<actsync-options>

       The host=, ignore_file=, and flags= lines are mandatory.  Each keyword must start at the
       beginning of the line, and there may be no whitespace before the "=" character.  Blank
       lines are ignored, as are comment lines that start with "#".  Any other lines may produce
       undefined results.

       The <host> setting refers to the second (remote) host parameter to actsync.  If
       <path-to-active> is provided, <host> is accessed as an FTP server, retrieving the file
       named.  If the filename ends in ".gz" or ".Z", it will be automatically uncompressed after
       retrieval.  <ignore-file> names the ignore file used by actsync (the -i option).
       <actsync-options> contains any other flags that you wish to pass to actsync.

       Note that one should not include -i or -o options in the flags= line; they are
       automatically taken care of by actsyncd.

       One may produce a trial actsyncd run without changing anything on the server by supplying
       the debug-level argument:

           actsyncd <pathetc>/actsync.cfg 2

       The debug-level causes actsyncd to run actsync with a -v debug-level flag (overriding any
       -v flag on the flags= line), not make any changes to the active file, write a new active
       file to standard output, and write debug messages to standard error.

       If the debug-format argument is also given to actsyncd, the data written to standard
       output will be in -o debug-format instead of in "-o a1" format.

       INN comes with default values of "ftp.isc.org" for <host> and
       "/pub/usenet/CONFIG/active.gz" for <path-to-active>.  You can read about the policies used
       for maintaining that active file at <ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/CONFIG/README>.
       Consider synchronizing from this file on a daily basis by using cron.

OPTIONS

       actsync takes the following options.

       In all of the following options, the hostid parameter takes one of the following values:

           0    neither server
           1    local default server
           2    remote server
           12   both servers
           21   both servers

       In other words, 1 refers to the local host (the first host argument on the actsync command
       line) and 2 refers to the remote host (the second host argument, or the only one if only
       one is given).

       -A  actsync tries to authenticate before issuing the LIST command.

       -b hostid
           This flag causes actsync to ignore for synchronization purposes newsgroups with
           "bork.bork.bork"-style names (newsgroups whose last 3 components are identical).  For
           example, the following newsgroups have bork-style names:

               alt.helms.dork.dork.dork
               alt.auto.accident.sue.sue.sue
               alt.election.vote.vote.vote

           The default is "-b 0"; no newsgroups are ignored because of bork-style names.

       -d hostid
           This flag causes actsync to ignore newsgroups that have all numeric path components.
           For example, the following newsgroups have numeric path components:

               alt.prime.chongo.23209
               391581.times.2.to_the.216193.power.-1
               99.bottles.of.treacle.on.the.wall
               linfield.class.envio_bio.101.d

           The newsgroups directory of a newsgroup with a all numeric component could conflict
           with an article from another group if stored using the tradspool storage method; see
           storage.conf(5).  For example, the directory for the first newsgroup listed above is
           the same path as article number 23209 from the newsgroup:

               alt.prime.chongo

           The default is "-d 0"; all numeric newsgroups from both hosts will be processed.

       -g max
           Ignore any newsgroup with more than max levels.  For example, "-g 6" would ignore:

               alt.feinstien.votes.to.trash.freedom.of.speech
               alt.senator.exon.enemy.of.the.internet
               alt.crypto.export.laws.dumb.dumb.dumb

           but would not ignore:

               alt.feinstien.acts.like.a.republican
               alt.exon.amendment
               alt.crypto.export.laws

           If max is 0, then the max level feature is disabled.

           By default, the max level feature is disabled.

       -i ignore-file
           The ignore-file, usually actsync.ign in pathetc, allows one to have a fine degree of
           control over which newsgroups are ignored.  It contains a set of rules that specifies
           which newsgroups will be checked and which will be ignored.

           By default, these rules apply to both hosts.  This can be modified by using the -I
           flag.

           Blank lines and text after a "#" are considered comments and are ignored.

           Rule lines consist of tokens separated by whitespace.  Rule lines may be one of two
           forms:

               c <newsgroup> [<type> ...]
               i <newsgroup> [<type> ...]

           If the rule begins with a "c", the rule requests certain newsgroups to be checked.  If
           the rule begins with an "i", the rule requests certain newsgroups to be ignored.  The
           <newsgroup> field may be a specific newsgroup, or a uwildmat(3) pattern.

           If one or more <type>s are specified, then the rule applies to the newsgroup only if
           it is of the specified type.  Types refer to the 4th field of the active file; that
           is, a type may be one of:

               y
               n
               m
               j
               x
               =group.name

           Unlike active files, the "group.name" in an alias type may be a newsgroup name or a
           uwildmat(3) pattern.  Also, "=" is equivalent to "=*".

           On each rule line, no pattern type may be repeated.  For example, one may not have
           more than one type that begins with "=", per line.  However, one may achieve an effect
           equivalent to using multiple "=" types by using multiple rule lines affecting the same
           newsgroup.

           By default, all newsgroups are candidates to be checked.  If no ignore-file is
           specified, or if the ignore file contains no rule lines, all newsgroups will be
           checked.  If an ignore file is used, each newsgroup in turn is checked against the
           ignore file.  If multiple lines match a given newsgroup, the last line in the ignore
           file is used.

           For example, consider the following ignore file lines:

               i *.general
               c *.general m
               i nsa.general

           The newsgroups ba.general and mod.general would be synchronized if moderated and
           ignored if not moderated.  The newsgroup nsa.general would be ignored regardless of
           moderation status.  All newsgroups not matching *.general would be synchronized by
           default.

       -I hostid
           This flag restricts which hosts are affected by the ignore file.  This flag may be
           useful in conjunction with the -m flag.  For example:

               actsync -i actsync.ign -I 2 -m host1 host2

           will keep all newsgroups currently on host1.  It will also only compare host1 groups
           with non-ignored newsgroups from host2.

           The default is "-I 12"; newsgroups from both hosts are ignored per the file specified
           with -i.

       -k  By default, any newsgroup on the local host that has an invalid name will be
           considered for removal.  This causes actsync simply ignore such newsgroups.  This
           flag, used in combination with -m, will prevent any newsgroup from being scheduled for
           removal.

       -l hostid
           This flag causes problem newsgroups of type "=" to be considered as errors.
           Newsgroups of type "=" are newsgroups active entries that have a fourth field that
           begins with "="; i.e., newsgroups that are aliased to other newsgroups.  A problem
           newsgroup is one for which one of the following is true:

           · Aliased to itself.

           · In an alias chain that loops around to itself.

           · In an alias chain longer than 16 groups.

           · Aliased to a non-existant newsgroup.

           · Aliased to a newsgroup that has an error of some kind.

           However, a newsgroup that is equivalent to an ignored newsgroup is not a problem.

           The default is "-l 12":  problem newsgroups from both hosts are marked as errors.

       -m  Merge newsgroups instead of sync.  By default, if a newsgroup exists on the local host
           but not the remote, it will be scheduled to be removed.  This flag disables this
           process, permitting newsgroups unique to the local host to be kept.

       -n name
           Depending on -o, the ctlinnd(8) command may be used to create newsgroups as necessary.
           When this is done, the default creator name used is "actsync".  This flag changes the
           creator name to name.

       -o format
           Determine the output or action format of this utility.  format may be one of:

           a   Output in active(5) format.

           a1  Output in active(5) format and output non-error ignored groups from the local
               host.

           ak  Output in active(5) format, but use the high and low (2nd and 3rd active fields)
               values from the remote host for any newsgroup being created.

           aK  Output in active(5) format, but use the high and low (2nd and 3rd active fields)
               values from the remote host for all newsgroups found on that host.

           a1k Output in active(5) format, but use the high and low (2nd and 3rd active fields)
               values from the remote host for any newsgroup being created and output non-error
               ignored groups from the local host.

           a1K Output in active(5) format, but use the high and low (2nd and 3rd active fields)
               values from the remote host for all newsgroups found on that host and output non-
               error ignored groups from the local host.

           ak1 Same as "a1k".

           aK1 Same as "a1K".

           c   Output as commands to ctlinnd.

           x   No output.  Instead, directly run ctlinnd commands.

           xi  No output.  Instead, directly run ctlinnd commands in an interactive mode.

           The "a", "a1", "ak", "aK", "a1k", "a1K", "ak1", and "aK1" style formats allow one to
           format new active file instead of producing ctlinnd commands.  They use high and low
           values of 0000000000 and 0000000001 respectively for newsgroups that are created
           unless otherwise specified.  The "ak" and "aK" variants change the high and low values
           (2nd and 3rd active fields).  In the case of "ak", newsgroups created take their high
           and low values from the remote host.  In the case of "aK", all newsgroups found on the
           remote host take their high and low values from it.

           The "c" format produces ctlinnd commands.  No actions are taken because actsync simply
           prints ctlinnd commands on standard output.  This output format is useful to let you
           see how the local host will be affected by the sync (or merge) with the remote host.

           The sync (or merge) may be accomplished directly by use of the "x" or "xi" format.
           With this format, actsync uses the execl(2) system call to directly execute ctlinnd
           commands.  The output of such exec calls may be seen if the verbosity level is at
           least 2.

           The actsync utility will pause for 4 seconds before each command is executed if "-o x"
           is selected.  See the -z flag below for discussion of this delay and how to customize
           it.

           The "xi" format interactively prompts on standard output and reads directives on
           standard input.  One may pick and choose changes using this format.

           Care should be taken when producing active(5) formatted output.  One should check to
           be sure that actsync exited with a zero status prior to using such output.  Also one
           should realize that such output will not contain lines ignored due to -i even if "-p
           100" is used.

           By default, "-o c" is assumed.

       -p min-unchanged
           By default, the actsync utility has safeguards against performing massive changes.  If
           fewer than min-unchanged percent of the non-ignored lines from the local host remain
           unchanged, no actions (output, execution, etc.) are performed and actsync exits with a
           non-zero exit status.  The min-unchanged value may be a floating point value such as
           66.667.

           A change is a local newsgroup line that was removed, added, changed, or found to be in
           error.  Changing the 2nd or 3rd active fields via "-o ak" or "-o aK" are not
           considered changes by -p.

           To force actsync to accept any amount of change, use the "-p 0" option.  To force
           actsync to reject any changes, use the "-p 100" option.

           Care should be taken when producing active(5) formatted output.  One should check to
           be sure that actsync exited with a zero status prior to using such output.  Also one
           should realize that such output will not contain lines ignored due to -i even if "-p
           100" is used.

           By default, 96% of the lines not ignored in the first host argument on the actsync
           command line must be unchanged.  That is, by default, "-p 96" is assumed.

       -q hostid
           By default, all newsgroup errors are reported on standard error.  This flag quiets
           errors from the specified hostid.

       -s size
           If size is greater than 0, then ignore newsgroups with names longer than size and
           ignore newsgroups aliased (by following "=" chains) to names longer than size.  Length
           checking is performed on both the local and remote hosts.

           By default, size is 0 and thus no length checking is performed.

       -t hostid
           Ignore improper newsgroups consisting of only a top component from the specified
           hostid.  The following newsgroups are considered proper newsgroups despite top only
           names and therefore are exempt from this flag:

               control
               general
               junk
               test
               to

           For example, the following newsgroup names are improper because they only contain a
           top level component:

               dole_for_pres
               dos
               microsoft
               windows95

           The default is "-t 2"; that is, all improper top-level-only newsgroups from the remote
           host are ignored.

       -T  This flag causes newsgroups on the remote host in new hierarchies to be ignored.
           Normally a newsgroup which only exists on the remote host, chongo.was.here for
           example, is created on the local host.  However, if this flag is given and the local
           host does not have any other newsgroups in the same hierarchy (chongo.* in this case),
           the newsgroup in question will be ignored and will not be created on the local host.

       -v verbosity
           By default, actsync is not verbose.  This flag controls the verbosity level as
           follows:

           0 No debug or status reports (default).

           1 Print summary, but only if work was needed or done.

           2 Print actions, exec output, and summary, but only if work was needed or done.

           3 Print actions, exec output, and summary.

           4 Full debug output.

       -w seconds
           If "-o x" or "-o xi" is selected, ctlinnd will wait seconds seconds before timing out.
           The default value is "-w 30".

       -z seconds
           If "-o x" is selected, actsync will pause for seconds seconds before each command is
           executed.  This helps prevent innd from being busied-out if a large number of ctlinnd
           commands are needed.  One can entirely disable this sleeping by using "-z 0".

           By default, actsync will pause for 4 seconds before each command is executed if "-o x"
           is selected.

EXAMPLES

       Determine the difference (but don't change anything) between your newsgroup set and
       uunet's set:

           actsync news.uu.net

       Same as above, with full debug and progress reports:

           actsync -v 4 news.uu.net

       Force a site to have the same newsgroups as some other site:

           actsync -o x master

       This may be useful to sync a slave site to its master, or to sync internal site to a
       gateway.

       Compare your site with uunet, disregarding local groups and certain local differences with
       uunet.  Produce a report if any differences were encountered:

           actsync -v 2 -i actsync.ign news.uu.net

       where actsync.ign contains:

           # Don't compare to.* groups as they will differ.
           #
           i       to.*

           # These are our local groups that nobody else
           # (should) carry.  So ignore them for the sake
           # of the compare.
           #
           i       nsa.*

           # These groups are local favorites, so keep them
           # even if uunet does not carry them.
           #
           i       ca.dump.bob.dorman
           i       ca.keep.bob.dorman
           i       alt.tv.dinosaurs.barney.die.die.die
           i       alt.tv.dinosaurs.barney.love.love.love
           i       alt.sounds.*    =alt.binaries.sounds.*

       To interactively sync against news.uu.net, using the same ignore file:

           actsync -o xi -v 2 -i actsync.ign news.uu.net

       Based on newsgroups that you decided to keep, one could make changes to the actsync.ign
       file:

           # Don't compare to.* groups as they will differ.
           #
           i       to.*

           # These are our local groups that nobody else
           # (should) carry.  So ignore them for the sake
           # of the compare.
           #
           i       nsa.*

           # These groups are local favorites, so keep them
           # even if uunet does not carry them.
           #
           i       ca.dump.bob.dorman
           i       alt.tv.dinosaurs.barney.die.die.die
           i       alt.sounds.*    =alt.binaries.sounds.*

           # Don't sync test groups, except for ones that are
           # moderated or that are under the gnu hierarchy.
           #
           i       *.test
           c       *.test m        # check moderated test groups
           c       gnu.*.test
           c       gnu.test        # just in case it ever exists

       Automatic processing may be set up by using the following actsync.cfg file:

           # Host to sync off of (host2).
           host=news.uu.net

           # Location of the ignore file.
           ignore_file=<pathetc in inn.conf>/actsync.ign

           # Where news articles are kept.
           spool=<patharticles in inn.conf>

           # actsync(8) flags
           #
           # Automatic execs, report if something was done,
           # otherwise don't say anything, don't report
           # uunet active file problems, just ignore
           # the affected entries.
           flags=-o x -v 2 -q 2

       and then by running actsyncd with the path to the config file:

           actsyncd <pathetc>/actsync.cfg

       The command

           actsyncd <pathetc>/actsync.cfg 4 >cmd.log 2>dbg.log

       will operate in debug mode, not change the active file, write ctlinnd style commands to
       cmd.log, and write debug statements to dbg.log.

       To check only the major hierarchies against news.uu,net, use the following actsync.ign
       file:

           # By default, ignore everything.
           #
           i       *

           # Check the major groups.
           #
           c       alt.*
           c       comp.*
           c       gnu.*
           c       humanities.*
           c       misc.*
           c       news.*
           c       rec.*
           c       sci.*
           c       soc.*
           c       talk.*

       and the command:

           actsync -i actsync.ign news.uu.net

       To determine the differences between your old active and your current default server:

           actsync <pathetc>/active.old -

       To report but not fix any newsgroup problems with the current active file:

           actsync - -

       To detect any newsgroup errors on your local server, and to remove any
       *.bork.bork.bork-style silly newsgroup names:

           actsync -b 2 - -

       The active file produced by:

           actsync <flags> -o x erehwon.honey.edu

       is effectively the same as the active file produced by:

           cd <pathdb>
           ctlinnd pause 'running actsync'
           rm -f active.new
           actsync <flags> -o a1 erehwon.honey.edu > active.new
           rm -f active.old
           ln active active.old
           mv active.new active
           ctlinnd reload active 'running actsync'
           ctlinnd go 'running actsync'

       It should be noted that the final method above, pausing the server and simply replacing
       the active file, may be faster if you are making lots of changes.

FILES

       pathbin/actsync
           The C program itself used to synchronize, compare, or merge two active files.

       pathbin/actsyncd
           The Shell daemon which provides a convenient interface to configure and run actsync.

       pathetc/actsync.cfg
           The configuration file which specifies the settings to use.

       pathetc/actsync.ign
           The ignore file which contains a set of synchronization rules that specifies which
           newsgroups will be checked and which will be ignored.

CAUTION

       Careless use of this tool may result in the unintended addition, change, or removal of
       newsgroups.  You should avoid using the "x" output format until you are sure it will do
       what you want.

BUGS

       If a newsgroup appears multiple times, actsync will treat all copies as errors.  However,
       if the group is marked for removal, only one rmgroup will be issued.

HISTORY

       Written by Landon Curt Noll <chongo@toad.com> for InterNetNews.  Updated to support FTP
       fetching by David Lawrence <tale@isc.org>.  Converted to POD by Russ Allbery
       <eagle@eyrie.org>.

       $Id: actsync.pod 9767 2014-12-07 21:13:43Z iulius $

       By Landon Curt Noll <chongo@toad.com> (chongo was here /\../\).

       Copyright (c) Landon Curt Noll, 1993.  All rights reserved.

       Permission to use and modify is hereby granted so long as this notice remains.  Use at
       your own risk.  No warranty is implied.

SEE ALSO

       active(5), ctlinnd(8), getlist(8), inn.conf(5), mod-active(8), simpleftp(1).