[clug] Downloading binaries from Newsgroups?

Hal Ashburner hal.ashburner at gmail.com
Wed Jan 6 00:27:44 MST 2010

On 06/01/10 16:30, Steve McInerney wrote:
> On Wed, 2010-01-06 at 01:22 +0000, Felix Karpfen wrote:
>> On Wed, 06 Jan 2010 08:28:35 +1100, Nathan O'Sullivan wrote:
>>> I would suggest starting by trying that (hellanzb) instead of Pan.
>> Thank you for the advice.
> You could also try:
> * save all the uuencoded text in the various postings into numerically
> sequenced files.
> * sed/vi the extraneous gumpf around the ---cut here--- lines in all
> those files
> * cat the files back together and uudecode the lot
> Which was a successful method of extracting binaries from news groups
> back in 1990. ;-)

So maybe like me, Felix wants to know more generally  about binaries and 
newsgroups as a background to work out if he wants to know more and to 
enable that if so. Hmm.
In the words of Manuel(+), "I know nothing about the horse!"
And I feel this might be the way to go on this topic. Please if somebody 
knows something more do tell Felix and myself so we know too. I tend to 
think of binaries on newsgroups as a place of ugliness, evil and general 
yuk. Yes I do think this on not much more than pure prejudice.
Why would you distribute a binary over news?
If it were legal or tasteful why not stick  it on a normal webserver or 
seed a torrent?
I'm not talking about the days of yore but right now in 2010 is there 
any good reason to distribute binaries over news? The mutterings I've 
heard is that it's used for people to share things that can't be unseen 
that I really don't want any part of in any way, shape or form.

Maybe train spotters attach photos or short movies of their favourite 
trains on alt.trains.something and this is better than a web forum for 
some reason.
I've heard of people using it to get hollywood movies and warez** and so 
on as well as the hideous(++) stuff.

So yeah I'm unintentionally trolling badly but do please jump in.

Techinically news works similar to email, you can break up a large file 
into smaller pieces then uuencode each piece and attach to a separate 
newsgroup post. There is software that automates dowloading all the 
relevant newsgroup posts, decodes the attachments and reassembles them 
into original file. We should probably read up on news, (RFC* 977 
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc977.html), uuencode to get the basics then 
look up the documentation for the software mentioned that automates it 
if we want to know more about it all.

So I'm just going to sum it all up like this:
"Felix: Stay away from newsgroup binaries, you don't want that stuff. I 
might well be wrong, someone will say so in reply if I am."

The stupid jargon decoding section:
*RFC = Request For Comment. This actually means "Internet Standard" and 
is the rules you need to follow to write software that will work with 
other people's stuff. For an email program to work it has to do what the 
RFC says or the mail won't get anywhere much. mutt, thunderbird, pine, 
kmail, evolution, outlook, lotus all have to agree on what email is, 
that agreement is meant to be the RFC on the particular aspect of email.

**warez = software that is being distributed and used without a proper 
license from the copyright holder. Eg a cracked copy of Windows ME might 
be distributed without the proper license as "warez." These are often 
infected with malware (viruses, trojan, spying, baby-eating programs 
hidden inside them). Windows ME has been considered by some as malware 
without additional infection.

(+) Fawlty Towers
(++) hideous = even more disturbing than the prime minister eating his 

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