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The checkgroups Message

Checkgroups messages are sent by news administrators to make all sites within a network synchronize their active files with the realities of Usenet. For example, commercial Internet service providers might send out such a message to their customers' sites. Once a month, the ``official'' checkgroups message for the major hierarchies is posted to comp.announce.newgroups by its moderator. However, it is posted as an ordinary article, not as a control message. To perform the checkgroups operation, save this article to a file, say /tmp/check, remove everything up to the beginning of the control message itself, and feed it to the checkgroups script using the following command:
           #   su   news  -c  "/usr/lib/news/bin/ctl/checkgroups"  <

This will update your newsgroups file, adding the groups listed in localgroups. The old newsgroups file will be moved to newsgroups.bac. Note that posting the message locally will rarely work, because inews refuses to accept that large an article.

If C-News finds mismatches between the checkgroups list and the active file, it will produce a list of commands that would bring your site up to date, and mail it to the news administrator. The output typically looks like this:

           From news Sun Jan 30 16:18:11 1994
           Date: Sun, 30 Jan 94 16:18 MET
           From: news (News Subsystem)
           To: usenet
           Subject: Problems with your active file

           The following newsgroups are not valid and should be removed.

           You can do this by executing the commands:
                    /usr/lib/news/bin/maint/delgroup alt.ascii-art
                    /usr/lib/news/bin/maint/delgroup bionet.molbio.gene-org
                    /usr/lib/news/bin/maint/delgroup de.answers

           The following newsgroups were missing.

When you receive a message like this from your news system, don't believe it blindly. Depending on who sent the checkgroups message, it may lack a few groups or even entire hierarchies; so you should be careful about removing any groups. If you find groups are listed as missing that you want to carry at your site, you have to add them using the addgroup script. Save the list of missing groups to a file and feed it to the following little script:

           cd /usr/lib/news

           while read group; do
               if grep -si "^$group[[:space:]].*moderated" newsgroup; then
               /usr/lib/news/bin/maint/addgroup $group $mod

Andrew Anderson
Thu Mar 7 23:22:06 EST 1996