Is There A Good Nntp Client For CentOS 6 That Handles SSL Native?

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Is there a good nntp client for CentOS 6 that handles SSL native?

It was difficult, to say the least, on CentOS anyway, to get Pan to post to Mixmin servers, which require SSL (so we have to use Stunnel to add SSL capabilities to Pan) on CentOS.

Had Pan native SSL support, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

Hence the question:
Q: Is there a good freeware NNTP client with a CentOS repository
that handles SSL native?

Note: Here’s the abbreviated sequence to install Stunnel with Pan
(but it took me months to come up with this as all the
tutorials on the web fail in the little CentOS details).

Install Stunnel:
$ sudo yum install stunnel -y

Read bug reports to find a stunnel init script for CentOS:
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?idE5815

Add & modify that stunnel /etc/init.d/stunnel script:
http://bugzilla.redhat.com/attachment.cgi?id25164

Configure the Stunnel /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf file:
;setuid = nobody
;setgid = nobody client = yes
[nntp]
accept = localhost:2119
connect = news.mixmin.net:563

NOTE: It took me months to figure out that these two now-commented lines cause stunnel to fail on my CentOS box:

Test Stunnel:
$ telnet localhost 2119
Trying ::1…
telnet: connect to address ::1: Connection refused
Trying 127.0.0.1…
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is ‘^]’.
200 news.mixmin.net InterNetNews NNRP server INN 2.6.0 (20120622 prerelease)
ready (posting ok)
post
340 Ok, recommended message-ID
From: foobar
Newsgroups: alt.test Subject: This is a test

This is a test of stunnel to mixmin.
.
240 Article received
quit
205 Bye!
Connection closed by foreign host.

Install Pan:
$ sudo yum –enablerepo rpmforge install pan -y

Configure any known good Pan newsserver:
[Pan]Edit->Edit News Servers->Add->(see below)->OK
Address: aioe.org
Port: 119

Configure a test Pan posting profile:
[Pan]Edit->Edit Posting Profiles->Add->
Profile Name: New Profile
Full Name: Foo Bar
Email Address: foo@bar.com
Post Articles Via: aioe.org
OK

Test Pan setup by reading & sending a message to alt.test.
[Pan]Post->Post to Newsgroup->alt.test

Now you’re ready to configure Pan for SSL via Stunnel:
[Pan]Edit->Edit News Servers->Add->(see below)->OK
Address: localhost
Port: 2119

Switch the test user to this encrypted server:
[Pan]Edit->Edit Posting Profiles->Edit->
Post Articles Via: localhost
OK

Test this setup by reading & sending a message to alt.test.
[Pan]Post->Post to Newsgroup->alt.test

Note: It would have been easier had Pan native SSL
capability; hence the question:

Q: What nntp client handles SSL native on CentOS 6?

13 thoughts on - Is There A Good Nntp Client For CentOS 6 That Handles SSL Native?

  • I found out elsewhere that the latest Pan handles SSL, but the one in the rpmforge repository doesn’t. Every time I
    try to compile source, it’s a disaster, so, for me, Pan doesn’t handle SSL.

    I also found out elsewhere that Thunderbird has native SSL support – but TB treats NNTP as SMTP which makes it difficult, if not unwieldy to use.

    So, I’m still looking …

  • Googling whether Knode handles SSL:
    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?idC875

    It looks like SSL was implemented in KDE 4.0:
    Volker Krause 2007-05-21 18:15:08 UTC, Implemented SSL for KDE4.0.

    So, looking for a CentOS RPM repository:
    $ yum –noplugins –showduplicates –enablerepo \* –disablerepo c6-
    media,\*-source,\*debug\* provides “*/knode”

    I find every language possible reported, but not an RPM for knode.

    Any suggestions for installing it?
    (I’m the world’s worst at compiling so I try to find a repo first!)

  • What exactly do you mean with that?
    At times I use thunderbird with the gmane news to mail gateway and it seemed to worked great for me. I did not bother with ssl for that, though.

  • I’m using claws-mail to read gmane news. It support SSL in mail, probably will work for NNTP too.

    BR, Bob

  • Ah, indeed!

    I had seen the “personal information manager” but I was looking for it to say “nntp usenet reader” or something of the sort since an nntp client isn’t at all a PIM (to me).

    Another mistake I made was to try to install Knode using:
    $ sudo yum install knode -y

    Instead of:
    $ sudo yum install kdepim -y

    It’s installed now so I will test it out. Thanks for the help!

    …log… Installed: kdepim.x86_66:4.3.4-6.el6
    Dependency Installed:
    akonadi.x86_64 0:1.2.1-2.el6
    kdelibs-experimental.x86_64 0:4.3.4-3.el6
    kdepim-libs.x86_64 6:4.3.4-6.el6
    kdepimlibs.x86_64 0:4.3.4-4.el6
    kdepimlibs-akonadi.x86_64 0:4.3.4-4.el6
    qt-mysql.x86_64 1:4.6.2-26.el6_4

  • When setting up Thunderbird for NNTP, TB asked questions like
    “incoming and outgoing user name”, which are meaningless for NNTP
    (AFAIK); and TB didn’t give any place to add any other server than an SMTP server; and even then, it didn’t allow for a port change to 563.

    I’m sure if I dug further into the TB setup I could set it up for NNTP, but it was extremely clear (like bright blinding sunlight), that either I was in the wrong setup or that TB wasn’t meant for USENET news ease of use.

    So, I gave up on TB – having the experience to know not to try to make something do what it wasn’t meant to do combined with my total ignorance of how to make it do what I would want it to do.

    NNTP setup should be as simple as three questions:
    Q1: What is your news server address & port? (e.g., news.gmane.org:119)
    Q2: What is your username & password? (both allowed to be blank)
    Q3: What is your posting user & email (both allowed to be invalid)

    If the setup is more complex than that, then I wouldn’t expect the program to handle news any better.

  • Well, it’s installed. A bunch of junk came with knode, so, that’s definitely unfortunate. Here’s a log of the setup results:

    $ knode -v
    ==> Qt: 4.6.2, KDE: 4.3.4 (KDE 4.3.4), KNode: 4.3.5

    $ knode &

    {Knode}Settings->Configure Knode->Identity->
    Name = foo
    Email Address = foo@is.invalid
    {Knode}Settings->Configure Knode->Accounts->Newsgroup Servers->Add
    Name = Mixmin
    Server = news.mixmin.net
    Port = 563
    Encyryption = SSL
    {Knode}Article->Post to Newsgroup
    Groups = alt.test
    Followups to = alt.test
    Subject = test
    Body = test
    File->Send Now

    Unfortunately, there is no error message (that I could see), yet it failed to post. It even failed to obtain the group list (so the problem is earlier in the setup).

    I’m debugging (without any debugging tools) …

  • Since no easily-found repository existed for xpn:
    $ yum –noplugins –showduplicates –enablerepo \* –disablerepo c6-media,\*-source,\*debug\* provides “*/xpn”
    REPORTS: No Matches found

    I downloaded version 1.2.6 from:
    http://xpn.altervista.org/codice/xpn-1.2.6.tar.gz

    As suggested, I simply extracted and executed “xpny.py” to start xpn, and the setup was as easy as I would have expected an NNTP setup to be.

    I simply set up the minimum user & server information:
    http://www2.picturepush.com/photo/a/12853990/img/12853990.png

    Fetched the list of available groups for that server:
    http://www4.picturepush.com/photo/a/12853992/img/12853992.png

    And, then posted to the alt.test newsgroup:
    http://www5.picturepush.com/photo/a/12853993/img/12853993.png

    Unlike Thunderbird & Knode (which were nntp-horrid for different reasons)
    it was that easy (as it should be) on xpn to post using port 553 SSL native!

    Thanks!

    SUMMARY:
    Linux native SSL NNTP clients:
    a) xpn (worked on the first pass after a simple and intuitive NNTP setup)!
    b) Knode (problematic – didn’t work on first pass & provided no error messages)
    c) Thunderbird (problematic – setup was not intuitive and didn’t work for me)
    d) Pan 0.136 (problematic – requires compilation – which often fails for me)

  • I think that with thunderbird you get a kind of first start setup wizard.
    *skip that* (“I think I’ll configure my account later”)

    Preferences (you *will* find that ;-) -> Account Settings -> Account Actions -> Add Other Account -> Newsgroup account Afterwards you can set SSL/TLS

  • Thanks. In the end, I’m using XPN, which, after a quick, intuitive, and simple setup, was posting immediately with native SSL to mixmin.net.

    I’ve learned, after testing perhaps hundreds of freeware solutions, over the years, to try once… try again… and then quickly move on to the next one if it fails twice. Usually, after two or three different packages, if well chosen, the task is accomplished.

    In this case…
    1. I first tried Pan 0.135, which worked with stunnel – but problematically.
    2. Then, I tried Thunderbird, which had a non-intuitive setup (to me).
    3. I then tried Knode, which had problematic bloat & it didn’t work anyway.
    4. I could have learned how to compile Pan version 0.136 – but that’s problematic.
    5. Instead, I downloaded & executed xpn, which was simple to set up & worked!

    Woo hoo!

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