To install C News, untar the files into their proper places if you haven't done so yet, and edit the configuration files listed below. They are all located in /usr/lib/news. Their formats will be described in the following sections.
To create an initial hierarchy of newsgroups, obtain an active and a newsgroups file from the site that feeds you, and install them in /usr/lib/news, making sure they are owned by news and have a mode of 644. Remove all to.* groups from the active file, and add to.mysite and to.feedsite, as well as junk and control. The to.* groups are normally used for exchanging ihave/sendme messages, but you should create them regardless of whether you plan to use ihave/sendme or not. Next, replace all article numbers in the second and third field of active using the following command:
# cp active active.old # sed 's/ [0-9]* [0-9]* / 0000000000 00001 /' active.old > active # rm active.old
The second command is an invocation of sed(1), one of my favorite commands. This invocation replaces two strings of digits with a string of zeroes and the string 000001, respectively.
Finally, create the news spool directory and the subdirectories used for incoming and outgoing news:
# cd /var/spool # mkdir news news/in.coming news/out.going # chown -R news.news news # chmod -R 755 news
If you're using a later release of C News, you may also have to create the out.master directory in the news spool directory.
If you're using newsreaders from a different distribution than the C News you have running, you may find that some expect the news spool on /usr/spool/news rather than in /var/spool/news. If your newsreader doesn't seem to find any articles, create a symbolic from /usr/spool/news to /var/spool/news.
Now, you are ready to receive news. Note that you don't have to create any directories other than those shown above, because each time C News receives an article from a group for which there's no spool directory yet, it will create it.
In particular, this happens to all groups an article has been crossposted to. So, after a while, you will find your news spool cluttered with directories for newsgroups you have never subscribed to, like alt.lang.teco. You may prevent this by either removing all unwanted groups from active, or by regularly running a shell script which removes all empty directories below /var/spool/news (except out.going and in.coming, of course).
C News needs a user to send error messages and status reports to. By default, this is usenet. If you use the default, you have to set up an alias for it which forwards all of its mail to one or more responsible persons. (Chapters and explain how to do so for smail and sendmail). You may also override this behavior by setting the environment variable NEWSMASTER to the appropriate name. You have to do so in news' crontab file, as well as every time you invoke an administrative tool manually, so installing an alias is probably easier.
While you're hacking /etc/passwd, make sure that every user has her real name in the pw_gecos field of the password file (this is the fourth field). It is a question of Usenet netiquette that the sender's real name appears in the From: field of the article. Of course, you will want to do so anyway when you use mail.