Tips and tricks for SNews ver. 1.91

Dan Fandrich

July 7, 1995

On a new SNews installation, some of the various SNews programs will complain about a missing history file. Create an empty history file with cd . > history in your UUPCNEWS directory to overcome this.

When creating many groups from a batch file as the manual suggests, addgroup will complain about newsbase name collisions for many groups, and those groups won't be added to your active file. Get around this problem by re-running the batch file several times until the message no longer appears, and ignore the "newsgroup x already exists" error messages. Alternately, put all your groups (up to 118 characters worth) on the same addgroup line, separated by spaces.

Some people post articles with really, really long Subject: lines (often by accidentally writing their entire article when prompted for a subject). These long lines cause SNews to crash while entering thread selection mode. The easiest fix for this problem is to use rmgroup to delete the entire group contents, then addgroup to recreate it. If you don't want to delete the group, you can edit the appropriate 12345678.idx file in the newsgroup directory, using the last article number displayed by SNews as a guide to the proper line. Find the offending long line and shorten it, making sure that the following line isn't appended (a related problem). If so, split the line before shortening it. Save the file in your word processor's ASCII mode and try running SNews again.

When running on a network, SNews will not allow more than 1 user to read news at the same time. The documentation wrongly claims that this is possible.

If you are running out of memory while reading, editing or posting articles, try starting snews using the shroom utility. A lack of conventional memory is the main reason for the Edit or Post options not working. Run shroom with snews by invoking snews with shroom snews instead of just snews. Shroom can be found on many ftp sites in the file

Speed up your unbatching times by creating a RAM disk using the ramdrive.sys or vdisk.sys device drivers in your config.sys file, then point your Temp= line in the uupc.rc or snews.rc file to that drive (or use the TEMP environment variable). Make sure your RAM disk is large enough to hold a compressed news batch file, plus two copies of the uncompressed news batch. One megabyte should be sufficient in most setups. SNews doesn't handle full disks gracefully, so it's best to make the disk too large rather than too small.

Another way to speed up unbatching times is to use delayed-write disk cache software. Delayed write can be enabled in smartdrv by appending a `+' to the drive letter given on the command line to start the cache (e.g. smartdrv c+).

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