Entry-level/High-end news server for all major platforms

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002


While many users are familiar with newsreaders like Forte Agent, Anawave Gravity, and Microsoft Outlook Express, relatively few people know that you can do more than just read USENET news on the 'net -- you can serve it as well. Enter DNEWS News Server. DNEWS is designed to overcome the limitations prevalent in the traditional INN and CNEWS-based news servers typically used by ISPs and larger organizations. The server isn't just for the big boys, though; DNEWS has also been created with the purpose of making available to anyone and everyone the power of Internet news services. As a result, DNEWS gives individuals, workgroups, small businesses, ISPs, and corporations the ability to host USENET newsgroups as well as local news and discussion groups that can be served either publicly over the Internet or privately over local networks. DNEWS is designed to overcome the limitations prevalent in the traditional INN and CNEWS-based news servers typically used by ISPs and larger organizations. The server isn't just for the big boys, though; DNEWS has also been created with the purpose of making available to anyone and everyone the power of Internet news services.

DNEWS is extremely flexible and is designed to accommodate users of all levels, from the novice netizen to the news guru and everyone in between. The server combines ease of use and cross-platform compatibility with a rich and extremely powerful feature-set to ensure that any user can run the server. And while still not as easy to get up and running with as a standard newsreader client like Agent, most users will be able to install and configure DNEWS within an hour. The best part is that after initially setting the server up everything else is a breeze. DNEWS is designed to run unattended and will perform all of its tasks in the background while you work on other projects. The result is virtually no ongoing administration time and none of the costs normally associated with manually maintaining a server.

DNEWS offers a wide variety of features that will appeal to users of all levels. NNTP streaming extensions (which can increase the throughput of a large feed over slow links by more than 200%), support for standard MIME types and image formats (like GIF and JPEG), built-in SPAM protection (which can cut SPAM by up to 99% using advanced filters and auto-detection mechanisms), a News to Mail gateway, optional PGP authentication, live feed technology, XOVER support, full access control, and intelligent expiration capabilities barely scratch the surface of DNEWS' extensive collection of features. Cross-platform support is another of the server's strong suits. Versions are currently available for Windows 95/NT, OS/2, Macintosh, VMS, Novell NetWare, and a wide variety of Unix platforms.

Perhaps the best feature of DNEWS is its unique dynamic sucking feed mechanism. This option allows DNEWS to receive and maintain only those newsgroups that are actively read by users, which in turn allows you to provide all the benefits of a full news feed service while simultaneously avoiding the considerable bandwidth and disk space required by a full feed. This results in the ability to serve a group of one hundred users on as little as 100 MB and a single user with only 5 MB or disk space and a standard dial-up 'net connection. This feature is best used in small to medium-sized environments of less than 500 users and for companies that want the benefits of running a server with a full news feed but have limited resources for doing so. DNEWS can even use a combination of dynamic and full feeds to give your users the best of both worlds.

DNEWS also bundles a News to Web Gateway called DNEWSWEB that allows users to read and post news directly from their Web browsers. DNEWSWEB is actually a CGI script that 'plugs-in' to your Web server and makes full text searching possible as well as optional support for secure newsgroups (when used with a secure Web server). DNEWS can support up to 500 concurrent users on a single machine and will work with any standard NNTP newsreader software to allow its users to create and participate in USENET newsgroups. Not only can you use the server to download and read news feeds, you can also use it to submit your own messages and add your own public newsgroups. DNEWS will also allow you to create your own local groups for interactive group collaboration and for distributing company- or project-related information and files.

Another selling point of DNEWS is its price tag. A license for one concurrent user can be purchased for $95, a two concurrent user license costs $225, and an unlimited use license runs only $485. Each purchase includes one year of standard support as well as the right to install upgrades (including any major new releases) for free during the first twelve months. DNEWS is even free for schools and state universities when used for non-profit purposes, but this option does lack the standard technical support policy. (Priority support contracts can be purchased separately.) Overall, no other news server combines the ease of use, blazing performance, flexibility, cross-platform support, scalability, and wide range of features found in DNEWS. While it would be nice if DNEWS was even easier to install and configure, with a little patience and effort anyone can begin serving their own news in no time at all.

Pros: Excellent feature-set, blazing performance, dynamic sucking feed capabilities, cross-platform
Cons: Installation and administration could be made easier for novices, sub-par Macintosh version
New: News to Web and News to Mail gateways, improved performance; List of Features

New in v4.7: Header-only newsgroup sucking, spam blocker, new Tellnews commands, immediate/live news sucking (making the server an invisible news cache); Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v5.x: Expires can be run as a separate process, Built in Radius authentication, numerous performance enhancements, bug fixes; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.2b2:Added settings to prevent excessive quoting of local posts. post_quoted_limit 0.9, this is the ratio of quoted to unquoted, Misc. bug fixes.Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.3c7: Revised online documentation to remove obsolete information and make information easier to find; significantly sped up performance for article and xover commands; added a concurrent pull mechanism for sucking from several sites at once using multiple channels; increased the limit on the number of concurrent users for some Unix platforms; added daily user limits; multiple bug fixes; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.3d4: The setting spawn_expire true is has been fixed, it should not be used in versions of DNEWS prior to 5.3d; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in v5.3e3: Changed TCP buffering and idle loop to improve performance; fixed feeding problem with first group in active.dat file; fixed spawn_expire bugs; fixed bug in NT crashing when DNS lookups return bad structure; fixed bug with 4-digit dates in newnews and newgroups commands; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.4c1 : Security patch for dnewsweb; compression in the NT and Linux builds; multipart binary file completion system; new e-mail gatewaying system; fixed loop in dnews when processing parts; fixed loop in dnewsweb when no response from server; added support for incoming compressed feeds to dnews; added support for outgoing compressed feeds to dfeed; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.4e3: Added threading code for incoming newsfeeds by enabling the dnews.conf setting, thread_in true (in this build this setting is buggy; DNEWS recommends users hold off on using the setting until it is recorded as fixed above in a later version); fixed crashing bug in spam filter rules; fixed pop lookup bug; fixed bugs in tomail and dnewsweb "tomail" option; several security fixes made; fixed bugs in nocem processing; added a "limit_users" setting; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 1

New in v5.4f9: Fixed getmail processing to accept "todots" as well as "todot"; fixed getmail processing of multiline headers; increased default multipart buffer index size; fixed performance problem in part processing; fixed bugs with thread_in true (but it's still not stable enough to be considered more than a beta feature); Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

New in v5.4f12 through 5.4j5: Fixed bug with thread_timeout on Solaris which could cause the feed to block; fixed bug in thread_in related to empty messages that could block feed; made thread_timeout true the default, this can prevent memory loss in some cases; made thread_in true the default on platforms that support it; fixed bug with nntp "last" command not showing first item in group; fixed memory leak related to user groups; fixed security fault with blank password entries in users.dat; fixed bugs in thread_in true; added listen_extra host:port, which makes the application listen on an extra host and port (dnews not dmulti); added master_address host:port, which tells a DNEWS slave where to find its master; fixed fault with auto getgroups on empty system; fixed some faults in multi system read-only processing which could cause GID errors on slaves and groups to take a long time to appear on read-only servers; reduced minimum disk space requirements during expiration; made dmulti inter dnews connections use 127.0.0.1 instead of myname; made dmulti not restart dnews master if it crashes (as this could hide serious configuration faults and make finding faults difficult or impossible); fixed thread_in fault on freebsd (fault caused by stack fault in pthread library on freebsd); fixed fault in PART processing (bug added in 5.4f10); made spam_post_local_ok true work for all spam rules not just filter; added uucp_timer 800 setting to uucp feeds, this is 800 by default and flushes the uucp; bag files from '.new' to '.bag' even if the other limits are not reached; fix for Solaris lockup problem with 5.4f9, basically on Solaris the threading libraries are buggy and the usleep() function intermittently hangs; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.4j7 through 5.5a7: Fixed glitch in new users.dat code that was causing it not to detect changes to users.dat from dmulti slaves; fixed fault in dadmin regarding sucking feeds changing the return feed to the wrong type; changed default for reindex_stack to true; significantly improved performance of users.dat lookups; fixed the fault introduced in 5.5a5 with regard to auto-detecting lost buckets that could rarely cause news to disappear if spool files were not accessible on startup; fixed rare dadmin crash on installation; default bucket size no longer needs to be manually increased in most cases; fixed fault in tellnews undelete that would clear the "moderated" flag on moderated groups; fixed dadmin problem that set the feed type for a sucking feed to posting; added more valid settings to domain.conf; fixed bug that caused expire not to release the history file on NT; fixed bug with thread_in related to "ihave" protocol; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in v5.5a8 through 5.5b3: Made threads get reused on Unix, which seems to avoid a bug in the posix thread library; changes to mb=x limits behavior in access.conf; fixed last bug in thread_in for Unix platforms; added setting post_cancel_authorized true, which only allows cancels from authenticated users; improved performance of group index caching; made XOVER_EXPIRE_NORMAL true the default, which improves the quality of the xover indexes when spawn_expire true is used, and that improves performance; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 2

Version Reviewed: 4.7
Date of Review: 6/22/99
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud
Last Updated: 4/1/02

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