suck(1) Pull a small newsfeed from an NNTP server, avoiding the NEWNEWS command.


suck [ hostname ] [ @filename ] [ -V ] [ -K ] [ -L[SL] ] [ -LF filename ] [ -H ] [ -HF filename ] [ -d[tmd] dirname ] [ -s | -S filename ] [ -e | -E filename ] [ -a ] [ -m ] [ -b[irlf] batchfile ] [ -r filesize ] [ -p extension ] [ -U userid ] [ -P password ] [ -Q ] [ -c ] [ -M ] [ -N port_number ] [ -W pause_time pause_nr_msgs ] [ -w pause_time pause_nr_msgs ] [ -l phrase_file ] [ -D ] [ -R ] [ -q ] [ -C count ] [ -k ] [ -A ] [ -AL activefile ] [ -hl localhost ] [ -bp ] [ -T timeout ] [ -n ] [ -u ] [ -z ] [ -x ] [ -B ] [ -O ] [ -G ] [ -X ] [ -f ] [ -y post_filter ] [ -F ] [ -g ] [ -i number_to_read ] [ -Z ] [ -rc ] [ -lr ] [ -sg ] [ -ssl ] [ -SSL ]

Options valid in all modes stname may optionally include the port number, in the form Host:Port.Ifthisoptionisused,anyportnumberspecified via the -N option is ignored.


This option tells suck to read other options from a file in addition to the commandline.


This option forces suck to always batch up any downloaded articles, even if suck aborts for any reason. Without this option, suck will only batch up articles if it finishes successfully or is cancelled by a signal (see below).


This option tells suck to scan the localhost (specified with the -hl option) and use its active file to build and update the sucknewsrc. If you add a group to your local server, suck will add it to sucknewsrc and download articles. Or, if you delete a group from your local server, it will be deleted from sucknewsrc. If posting is not allowed to a particular group, then the line in sucknewsrc is just commented out. With this option, you should never have to edit your sucknewsrc. In case you have newsgroups (like control and junk) that you don't want downloaded, you can put these newsgroups in a file "active-ignore", one per line, and suck will ignore these newsgroups when it scans the localhost. If your system supports regex(), you may use regular expressions in the active-ignore file to skip multiple groups, eg: fred.*. If you use the -p (postfix) option, suck will check for the existence of an active-ignore file with the postfix. If that doesn't exist, then suck will check for the existence of the file without the postfix.

NOTE: If the localhost is on a non-standard port, the port number may be specified as part of the hostname, in the form Host:Port.

NOTE: If you use regular expressions, suck will silently add a "^" to the beginning of the group name, and a "$" to the end of the group name if they aren't already present, so that if you have "comp.os.linux", it won't match "comp.os.linux.answers" or if you have "alt.test" it doesn't match "comp.alt.test".

-AL activefile

This option is identical to the -A option, except it reads the active file from the local file specified instead of reading it from the localhost. All the caveats from the -A option apply to this option as well. If both options are used on the command line, suck first tries to use the -A option, then if that fails it uses this option.


This option tells suck to attempt to batch up any articles in its directory BEFORE starting to download messages. This can be useful if you have a problem with the previous download. This option will only work if you specify a batch option (see below). If there are no messages to batch up, some of the batch options may produce warning messages. They may be safely ignored. Also, if the batch files exist at the end of the run, in inn-batch mode, it will be overwritten, since the new batch file will contain all messages. In rnews mode, if the batch file exists, it will abort and not batch up any messages.


If this option is specified, suck will clean up after itself. This includes:

1. Moving sucknewsrc to sucknewsrc.old
2. Moving suck.newrc to sucknewsrc
3. rm suck.sorted and suckothermsgs.

-C count

This option tells suck to drop the connection and reopen it every count number of articles. This is designed to battle INN's LIKE_PULLERS=DONT option, that some folks compile in. With LIKE_PULLERS=DONT, after 100 messages INN will pause between every message, dramatically reducing your download speed. I don't recommend the use of this, but if you have no other choice....

-dd dirname

-dm dirname

-dt dirname

Specify the location of the various files used by suck.

-dd dirname = directory of data files used by suck (sucknewsrc suckkillfile suckothermsgs active-ignore sucknodownload)

-dm dirname = directory for storage of articles created in Multifile mode or batch mode. DO NOT make this the same as the directories used for the -dt or -d options, or you will lose all your configuration files.

-dt dirname = directory of temp files created by suck (suck.newrc, suck.sort, suck.restart, suck.killlog,


This option tells suck to log various debugging messages to "debug.suck", primarily for use by the maintainer.

-e | -E filename

These options will send all error messages (normally displayed on stderr), to an alternate file. The lower case version, -e, will send the error messages to the compiled-in default defined in suck_config.h. The default is suck.errlog. The upper case version, -E, requires the filename parameter. All error messages will then be sent to this file.


This option tells suck to reconnect after deduping, and before downloading the articles. This is in case long dedupe times cause timeouts on the remote end.


This option tells suck to reconnect after reading the local active file, and before downloading the Msg-IDs. This is in case of a large active file, which causes timeouts on the remote end.


This option causes suck to only download the headers of any selected articles. As a result of this, any batching of articles is skipped. This option does work with killfiles, however, killfile options such as BODYSIZE> will be ignored, since the body of the article will never be downloaded.

This option causes suck to display the message count and BPS status lines in a slightly different format, more suitable for use by a filter program (such as a GUI).


This option will cause suck to bypass the history check.

-HF history_file_name

This option tells suck the location of the history file. The default is at /usr/news/db/history.

-hl localhost

This option specifies the localhost name. This option is required with both the -A and the -bp option.

-i number_to_read

This option tells suck the number of articles to download if you are using the -A or -AL option, and a new group is added. The default is defined in suck_config.h (ACTIVE_DEFAULT_LASTREAD, currently -100). NOTE: This must be a negative number (eg -100, -50), or 0, to download all articles currently available in the group.


This option tells suck to NOT attach the postfix from the -p option to the names of the killfiles, both the master killfile and any group files. This allows you to maintain one set of killfiles for multiple servers.


This option will cause suck to bypass checking the killfile(s).

-l phrase_file

This option tells suck to load in an alternate phrase file, instead of using the built-in messages. This allows you to have suck print phrases in another language, or to allow you to customize the messages without re-building suck. See below.


This option, is used in conjunction with the highest article option in the sucknewsrc, to download the oldest articles, vice the newest articles. See that section for more details.


This option tells suck to NOT log killed articles to suck.killlog.

-LF filename

This option allows you to override the built-in default of "suck.killlog" for the file which contains the log entries for killed articles.


This option tells suck to create long log entries for each killed article. The long entry contains the short log entry and the header for the killed message.


This option tells suck to create short log entries for each killed article. The short entry contains which group and which pattern was matched, as well as the MsgID of the killed article.


This option tells suck to send the "mode reader" command to the remote server. If you get an invalid command message immediately after the welcome announcement, then try this option.


This option tells suck to use the article number vice the MsgId to retrieve the articles. This option is supposedly less harsh on the remote server. It can also eliminate problems if your ISP ages off articles quickly and you frequently get "article not found" errors. Also, if your ISP uses DNEWS, you might need this option so that it knows you're reading articles in a group.

-N port_number

This option tells suck to use an alternate NNRP port number when connecting to the host, instead of the default, 119.


This option tells suck to skip the first article upon restart. This is used whenever there is a problem with an article on the remote server. For some reasons, some NNTP servers, when they have a problem with a particular article, they time out. Yet, when you restart, you're back on the same article, and you time out again. This option tells suck to skip the first article upon restart, so that you can get the rest of the articles.

-p extension

This extension is added to all files so that you can have multiple site feeds. For example, if you specify -p .dummy, then suck looks for sucknewsrc.dummy, suckkillfile.dummy, etc, and creates its temp files with the same extension. This will allow you to keep multiple sucknewsrc files, one for each site.


This option tells suck to not display the BPS and article count messages during download. Handy when running suck unattended, such as from a crontab.


This option tells suck to skip a rescan of the remote newserver upon a restart. The default is to rescan the newserver for any new articles whenever suck runs, including restarts.


This option tells suck to change its behavior when the remote server resets its article counters. The default behavior is to reset the lastread in sucknewsrc to the current high article counter. With this option, suck resets the lastread in sucknewsrc to the current low article counter, causing it to suck all articles in the group, and using the historydb routines to dedupe existing articles.

-s | -S filename

These options will send all status messages (normally displayed on stdout), to an alternate file. The lower case version, -s, will send the status messages to the compiled-in default defined in suck_config.h. The default is /dev/null, so no status messages will be displayed. The upper case version, -S, requires the filename parameter. All status messages will then be sent to this file.


This option tells suck to add the name of the current group being downloaded, if known, to the BPS display. Typically the only time suck doesn't know the group name is if an article is downloaded via the suckothermsgs file.


This option tells suck to use SSL to talk to the remote server, if suck was compiled with SSL support.


This option tells suck to use SSL to talk to the local server, if suck was compiled with SSL support.

-T timeout

This option overrides the compiled-in TIMEOUT value. This is how long suck waits for data from the remote host before timing out and aborting. The timeout value is in seconds.


This option tells suck to send the AUTHINFO USER command immediately upon connect to the remote server, rather than wait for a request for authorization. You must supply the -U and -P options when you use this option.

-U userid

-P password

These two options let you specify a userid and password, if your NNTP server requires them.


This option tells suck to get the userid and password for NNTP authentication from the environment variables "NNTP_USER" and "NNTP_PASS" vice the -U or -P password. This prevents a potential security problem where someone doing a ps command can see your userid and password.


This option will cause suck to print out the version number and then exit.

-w pause_timer pause_nr_msgs

This option allows you to slow down suck while pulling articles. If you send suck a predefined signal (default SIGUSR1, see suck_config.h), suck will swap the default pause options (if specified by the -W option), with the values from this option. For example, you run suck with -w 2 2, and you send suck a SIGUSR1 (using kill), suck will then pause 2 seconds between every other message, allowing the server to "catch its breath." If you send suck another SIGUSR1, then suck will put back the default pause options. If no pause options were specified on the command line (you omitted -W), then suck will return to the default full speed pull.

-W pause_time pause_nr_msgs

This option tells suck to pause between the download of articles. You need to specify how long to pause (in seconds), and how often to pause (every X nr of articles). Ex: -W 10 100 would cause suck to pause for 10 seconds every 100 articles. Why would you want to do this? Suck can cause heavy loads on a remote server, and this pause allows the server to "catch its breath."


This option tells suck to not check the Message-IDs for the ending > character. This option is for brain dead NNTP servers that truncate the XHDR information at 72 characters.


This option tells suck to bypass the XOVER killfiles.

-y post_filter

This option is only valid when using any of batch modes. It allows you to edit any or all of the articles downloaded before posting to the local host. See below for more details.


This option tells suck to bypass the normal deduping process. This is primarily for slow machines where the deduping takes longer than the download of messages would. Not recommended.


This option tells suck to use the XOVER command vice the XHDR command to retrieve the information needed to download articles. Use this if your remote news server doesn't support the XHDR command.


-a --always_batch
-bi --batch-inn
-br --batch_rnews
-bl --batch_lmove
-bf --batch_innfeed
-bp --batch_post
-c --cleanup
-dt --dir_temp
-dd --dir_data
-dm --dir_msgs
-e --def_error_log
-f --reconnect_dedupe
-g --header_only
-h --host
-hl --localhost
-k --kill_no_postfix
-l --language_file
-lr --low_read
-m --multifile
-n --number_mode
-p --postfix
-q --quiet
-r --rnews_size
-rc --resetcounter
-s --def_status_log
-sg --show_group
-ssl --use_ssl
-w --wait_signal
-x --no_chk_msgid
-y --post_filter
-z --no_dedupe
-A --active
-AL --read_active
-B --pre-batch
-C --reconnect
-D --debug
-E --error_log
-G --use_gui
-H --no_history
-HF --history_file
-K --killfile
-L --kill_log_none
-LS --kill_log_short
-LL --kill_log_long
-M --mode_reader
-N --portnr
-O --skip_on_restart
-P --password
-Q --password_env
-R --no_rescan
-S --status_log
-SSL --local_use_ssl
-T --timeout
-U --userid
-V --version
-W --wait
-X --no_xover
-Z --use_xover


MODE 1 - stdout mode


Suck grabs news from an NNTP server and sends the articles to stdout. Suck accepts as argument the name of an NNTP server or if you don't give an argument it will take the environment variable NNTPSERVER. You can redirect the articles to a file or compress them on the fly like "suck server.domain | gzip -9 > output.gz". Now it's up to you what you do with the articles. Maybe you have the output already on your local machine because you used a slip line or you still have to transfer the output to your local machine.

MODE 2 - Multifile mode

%suck -m
%suck -m

Suck grabs news from an NNTP server and stores each article in a separate file. They are stored in the directory specified in suck_config.h or by the -dm command line option.

MODE 3 - Batch mode

%suck -b[irlf] batchfile
or %suck -bp -hl localhost
or %suck -bP NR -hl localhost
%suck -b[irlf] batchfile

Suck will grab news articles from an NNTP server and store them into files, one for each article (Multifile mode). The location of the files is based on the defines in suck_config.h and the command line -dm. Once suck is done downloading the articles, it will build a batch file which can be processed by either innxmit or rnews, or it will call lmove to put the files directly into the news/group/number format.

-bi - build batch file for innxmit. The articles are left intact, and a batchfile is built with a one-up listing of the full path of each article. Then innxmit can be called:

%innxmit localhost batchfile

-bl - suck will call lmove to put the articles into news/group/number format. You must provide the name of the configuration file on the command line. The following arguments from suck are passed to lmove:

The configuration file name (the batchfile name provided with this option)
The directory specified for articles (-dm or built-in default).
The errorlog to log errors to (-e or -E), if provided on the command line.
The phrases file (-l), if provided on the command line.
The Debug option, if provided on the command line.

-br - build batch file for rnews. The articles are concatenated together, with the #!rnews size article separator. This can the be fed to rnews:

%rnews -S localhost batchfile

-r filesize specify maximum batch file size for rnews. This option allows you to specify the maximum size of a batch file to be fed to rnews. When this limit is reached, a new batch file is created AFTER I finish writing the current article to the old batch file. The second and successive batch files get a 1 up sequence number attached to the file name specified with the -br. Note that since I have to finish writing out the current article after reaching the limit, the max file size is only approximate.

-bf - build a batch file for innfeed. This batchfile contains the MsgID and full path of each article. The main difference between this and the innxmit option is that the innfeed file is built as the articles are downloaded, so that innfeed can be posting the articles, even while more articles are downloaded.

-bp - This option tells suck to build a batch file, and post the articles in that batchfile to the localhost (specified with the -hl option). This option uses the IHAVE command to post all downloaded articles to the local host. The batch file is called, and is put in the temporary directory (-dt). It is deleted upon completion, as are the successfully posted articles. If the article is not wanted by the server (usually because it already exists on the server, or it is too old), the article is also deleted. If other errors occur, the article is NOT deleted. With the following command line, you can download and post articles without worrying if you are using INND or CNEWS.

%suck -bp -hl localhost -A -c

-bP NR - This option works identically to -bp above, except instead of waiting until all articles are downloaded, it will post them to the local server after downloading NR of articles.

%suck -bP 100 -hl localhost -A -c


If you specify @filename on the command line, suck will read from filename and parse it for any arguments that you wish to pass to suck. You specify the same arguments in this file as you do on the command line. The arguments can be on one line, or spread out among more than one line. You may also use comments. Comments begin with '#' and go to the end of a line. All command line arguments override arguments in the file.

# Sample Argument file
-bi batch # batch file option
-M     # use mode reader option


Suck looks for a file sucknewsrc to see what articles you want and which you already received. The format of sucknewsrc is very simple. It consists of one line for each newsgroup. The line contains two or three fields.

The first field is the name of the group.
  The second field is the highest article number that was in the group when that group was last downloaded.

The third field, which is optional, limits the number of articles which can be downloaded at any given time. If there are more articles than this number, only the newest are downloaded. If the third field is 0, then no new messages are downloaded. If the command line option -lr is specified, instead of downloading the newest articles, suck will download the oldest articles instead.

The fields are separated by a space.

comp.os.linux.announce 1 [ 100 ]

When suck is finished, it creates the file suck.newrc which contains the new sucknewsrc with the updated article numbers.

To add a new newsgroup, just stick it in sucknewsrc, with a highest article number of -1 (or any number less than 0). Suck will then get the newest X number of messages for that newsgroup. For example, a -100 would cause suck to download the newest 100 articles for that newsgroup.

To tell suck to skip a newsgroup, put a # as the first character of a line.


There are two types of killfiles supported in suck. The first, via the file suckkillfile, kills articles based on information in the actual article header or body. The second, via the file suckxover, kills articles based on the information retreived via the NNTP command XOVER. They are implemented in two fundamentally different ways. The suckkillfile killing is done as the articles are downloaded, one at a time. The XOVER killing is done while suck is getting the list of articles to download, and before a single article is downloaded. You may use either, none or both type of killfiles.


If suckkillfile exists, the headers of all articles will be scanned and the article downloaded or not, based on the parameters in the files. If no logging option is specified (see the -L options above), then the long logging option is used.

Comments lines are allowed in the killfiles. A comment line has a "#" in the first position. Everything on a comment line is ignored.

Here's how the whole keep/delete package works. All articles are checked against the master kill file (suckkillfile). If an article is not killed by the master kill file, then its group line is parsed. If a group file exists for one of the groups then the article is checked against that group file. If it matches a keep file, then it is kept, otherwise it is flagged for deletion. If it matches a delete file, then it is flagged for deletion, otherwise it is kept. This is done for every group on the group line.

NOTES: With the exception of the USE_EXTENDED_REGEX parameter, none of these parameters are passed from the master killfile to the individual group file. Each killfile is separate and independant. Also, each search is case-insensitive unless specifically specified by starting the search string with the QUOTE character (see below). However, the parameter part of the search expression (the LOWLINE=, HILINE= part) is case sensitive.


GROUP=keep groupname filename OR GROUP=delete groupname filename
Any Valid Header Line:

All parameters are valid in both the master kill file and the group files, with the exception of GROUP, PROGRAM, PERL, TIEBREAKER_DELETE, and GROUP_OVERRIDE_MASTER. These are only valid in the master kill file.

KILL/KEEP Files Parameters

HILINES= Match any article longer than the number of lines specified.

LOWLINES= Match any article shorter than the number of lines specified.

NRGRPS= This line will match any article which has more groups than the number specified on the Newsgroups: line. Typically this is used in a killfile to prevent spammed articles. (A spammed article is one that is posted to many many groups, such as those get-rich quick schemes, etc.)

NRXREF= This line will match any article that has more groups than than the number specified on the Xref: line. This is another spamm stopper. WARNING: the Xref: line is not as accurate as the Newsgroups: line, as it only contains groups known to the news server. This option is most useful in an xover killfile, as in Xoverviews don't typically provide the Newsgroups: line, but do provide the Xref: line.

HEADER: Any Valid Header Line: Suck allows you to scan any single header line for a particular pattern/string, or you may scan the entire article header. To scan an individual line, just specify it, for example to scan the From line for [email protected], you would put

From:[email protected]

Note that the header line EXACTLY matches what is contained in the article. To scan the Followup-To: line, simply put To search the same header line for multiple search items, then each search item must be on a separate line, eg:

From:[email protected]
From:[email protected]
The parameter HEADER: is a special case of the above. If you use the HEADER: parameter, then the entire header is searched for the item. You are allowed multiple HEADER: lines in each killfile.

When suck searches for the pattern, it only searches for what follows the :, and spaces following the : are significant. With the above example "Subject:suck", we will search the Subject header line for the string "suck". If the example had read "Subject: suck", suck would have searched for the string " suck". Note the extra space.

If your system has regex() routines on it, then the items searched for can be POSIX regular expressions, instead of just strings. Note that the QUOTE= option is still applied, even to regular expressions.

BODY: This parameter allows you to search the body of an article for text. Again, if your system has regex(), you can use regular expressions, and the QUOTE= option is also applied. You are allowed multiple BODY: lines in each killfile. WARNING: Certain regex combinations, especially with .* at the beginning, (eg BODY:.*jpg), in combination with large articles, can cause the regex code to eat massive amounts of CPU, and suck will seem like it is doing nothing.

BODYSIZE> This parameter will match an article if the size of its body (not including the header) is greater than this parameter. The size is specified in bytes.

BODYSIZE< This parameter will match an article if the size of its body, is less than this parameter. The size is specified in bytes.

QUOTE= This item specifies the character that defines a quoted string. The default for this is a ". If an item starts with the QUOTE character, then the item is checked as-is (case significant). If an item does not start with the QUOTE character, then the item is checked with out regard to case.

NON_REGEX= This items specifies the character that defines a non-regex string. The default for this is a %. If an item starts with the NON_REGEX character, then the item is never checked for regular expressions. If the item doesn't start with the QUOTE character, then suck tries to determine if it is a regular expression, and if it is, use regex() on it. This item is so that you can tell suck to treat strings like "$$$$ MONEY $$$$" as non-regex items. IF YOU USE BOTH QUOTE and NON_REGEX characters on a string, the NON_REGEX character MUST appear first.

GROUP= This line allows you to specify either keep or delete parameters on a group by group basis. There are three parts to this line. Each part of this line must be separated by exactly one space. The first part is either "keep" or "delete". If it is keep, then only articles in that group which match the parameters in the group file are downloaded. If it is delete, articles in that group which match the parameters are not downloaded. The second part, the group name is the full group name for articles to check against the group file. The group name may contain an * as the last character, to match multiple groups, eg: "comp.os.linux.*" would match comp.os.linux.announce, comp.os.linux.answers, etc.. The third part specifies the group file which contains the parameters to check the articles against. Note, that if you specified a postfix with the -p option, then this postfix is attached to the name of the file when suck looks for it, UNLESS you use the -k option above.

GROUP_OVERRIDE_MASTER This allows you to override the default behavior of the master kill file. If this option is in the master kill file, then even if an article is flagged for deletion by the master kill file, it is checked against the group files. If the group files says to not delete it, then the article is kept.

TIEBREAKER_DELETE This option allows you to override the built-in tie-breaker default. The potential exists for a message to be flagged by one group file as kept, and another group file as killed. The built-in default is to then keep the message. The TIEBREAKER_DELETE option will override that, and caused the article to be deleted.

USE_EXTENDED_REGEX This option tells suck to use extended regular expressions vice standard regular expressions. It may used in the master killfile, in which case it applies to all killfiles, or in an individual killfile, where it only applies to the parameters that follow it in the killfile.

XOVER_LOG_LONG This option tells suck to format the killfile generated by from an Xover killfile so that it looks like an article header. The normal output is to just print the Xover line from theserver.

PROGRAM= This line allows suck to call an external program to check each article. You may specify any arguments in addition to the program name on this line. If this line is in your suckkillfile, all other lines are ignored. Instead, the headers are passed to the external program, and the external program determines whether or not to download the article. Here's how it works. Suck will fork your program, with stdin and stdout redirected. Suck will feed the headers to your program thru stdin, and expect a reply back thru stdout. Here's the data flow for each article:

1. suck will write a 8 byte long string, which represents the length of the header record on stdin of the external program. Then length is in ascii, is left-aligned, and ends in a newline (example: "1234 \n").
2. suck will then write the header on stdin of the external program.
3. suck will wait for a 2 character response code on stdout. This response code is either "0\n" or "1\n" (NOT BINARY ZERO OR ONE, ASCII ZERO OR ONE). If the return code is zero, suck will download the article, if it is one, suck won't.
4. When there are no more articles, the length written down (for step 1) will be zero (again in ascii "0 \n"). Suck will then wait for the external program to exit before continuing on. The external program can do any clean up it needs, then exit. Note: suck will not continue processing until the external program exits.

PERL= This line allows suck to call a perl subroutine to check each article. In order to use this option, you must edit the Makefile, specifically the PERL* options. If the PERL= line is in your suckkillfile, all other lines are ignored. Instead, the header is sent to your perl subroutine, and your subroutine determines if the article is downloaded or not. The parameter on the PERL= line specifies the file name of the perl routine eg:

See the sample/ for a sample perl subroutine. There are a couple of key points in this sample. The "package Embed::Persistant;" must be in the perl file. This is so that any variable names you create will not conflict with variable names in suck. In addition, the subroutine you define must be "perl_kill", unless you change the PERL_PACKAGE_SUB define in suck_config.h. Also, your subroutine must return exactly one value, an integer, either 0 or 1. If the subroutine returns 0, then the article is downloaded, otherwise, the article is not downloaded.

NOTES: The perl file is only compiled once, before any articles are downloaded. This is to prevent lengthy delays between articles while the perl routine is re-compiled. Also, you must use Perl 5.003 or newer. In addition, you are advised to run 'perl -wc filter' BEFORE using your filter, in order to check for syntax errors and avoid problems.


If the file suckxover exists, then suck uses the XOVER command to get information on the articles and decide whether or not to download the article. Xover files use the same syntax as suckkillfiles, but supports a subset of the commands.

The following killfile commands are not supported in suckxover files:


Only the following header lines will be checked:


The behaviour of the size commands ( BODYSIZE>, BODYSIZE<, HILINES, and LOWLINES ) specify the total size of the article (not just the body) in bytes or lines, respectively.

All other parameters are allowed. However, if you use an invalid parameter, it is silently ignored.

SUCKXOVER and PROGRAM= or PERL= parameters

These parameters are supported in a suckxover file, however they work slightly differently than described above. The key difference is that prior to sending each individual xoverview line to your program, suck will send you the overview.fmt listing that it retrieves from the server. This overview.fmt is a tab-separated line, describing the fields in each overview.fmt line.

For the PROGRAM= parameter, suck will first send your program an 8 byte long string, which is the length of the overview.fmt. This length is formatted as the lengths above (see nr1 under PROGRAM=). Suck will then send the overview.fmt. After that, the flow is as described above. See sample/killxover_child.c for an example.

For the PERL= parameter, Your program must have two subroutines. The first is perl_overview, which will recieve the overview.fmt, and not return anything. The second subroutine is perl_xover, which will recieve the xoverview line, and return 0 or 1, as described in the PERL= above. See sample/ for an example.


If suckothermsgs exists, it must contain lines formatted in one of three ways. The first way is a line containing a Message-ID, with the <> included, eg:

       <[email protected]>

This will cause the article with that Message-ID to be retrieved.

The second way is to put a group name and article number on a line starting with an !, eg:

       !comp.os.linux.announce 1

This will cause that specific article to be downloaded.

You can also get a group of articles from a group by using the following syntax:

       !comp.os.linux.announce 1-10

Whichever method you use, if the article specified exists, it will be downloaded, in addition to any articles retreived via the sucknewsrc. These ways can be used to get a specific article in other groups, or to download an article that was killed. These articles ARE NOT processed through the kill articles routines.


If sucknodownload exists, it must consist of lines contaning a Message-ID, with the <> included, eg:

       <[email protected]>

This will cause the article with that Message-ID to NEVER be downloaded. The Message-ID must begin in the first column of the line (no leading spaces). This file overrides suckothermsgs so if an article is in both, it will not be downloaded.


if the -y post_filter option is specified on the command line in conjunction with any of the batch modes, then suck will call the post filter specified, after downloading the articles, and before batching/posting the articles. The filter is passed the directory where the articles are stored (the -dm option). The filter program is responsible for parsing the contents of the directory. See sample/ for a sample post filter. This option was designed to allow you to add your own host name to the Path: header, but if you need to do anything else to the messages, you can.


If the -l phrases option is specified or the file /usr/local/lib/suck.phrases (defined in suck_config.h) exists, then suck will load an alternate language phrase file, and use it for all status & error messages, instead of the built-in defaults. The command line overrides the build in default, if both are present. The phrase file contains all messages used by suck, rpost, testhost, and lmove, each on a separate line and enclosed in quotes. To generate a sample phrase file, run make phrases from the command line. This will create "phrases.engl", which is a list of the default phrases. Simply edit this file, changing the english phrases to the language of your choosing, being sure to keep the phrases within the quotes. These phrases may contain variables to print items provided by the program, such as hostname. Variables are designated by %vN% where N is a one-up sequence per phrase. These variables may exist in any order on the phrase line, for example,
"Hello, %v1%, welcome to %v2%"         or
"Welcome to %v2%, %v1%"        
are both valid phrases. Phrases may contain, \n, \r, or \t to print a newline, carriage return, or tab, respectively. Note that the first line of the phrase file is the current version number. This is checked against the version of suck running, to be sure that the phrases file is the correct version.

If you modify any of the source code, and add in new phrases, you will need to regenerate phrases.h, so that everything works correctly. To recreate, just run make phrases.h from the command line.


Suck accepts two signals, defined in suck_config.h. The first signal (default SIGTERM) will cause Suck to finish downloading the current article, batch up whatever articles were downloaded, and exit, without an error.

The second signal (default SIGUSR1) will cause suck to use the pause values defined with the -w option (see above).


Suck will exit with the following return codes:
0 = success
1 = no articles available for download.
2 = suck got an unexpected answer to a command it issued to the remote server.
3 = the -V option was used.
4 = suck was unable to perform NNTP authorization with the remote server.
-1 = general error.


Original Author - Tim Smith (unknown address)
Maintainers -
March 1995 - Sven Goldt ([email protected])
July 1995 - Robert A. Yetman ([email protected])