Old newsreader source code

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Wed May 9 00:22:34 CDT 2018

On Tue, May 8, 2018 at 12:23 PM, Seth Morabito via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> I'm experimenting with setting up UUCP and Usenet on a cluster of 3B2/400s, and I've quickly discovered that while it's trivial to find old source code for Usenet (B News and C News), it's virtually impossible to find source code for old news *readers*.

I might try delving through comp.sources.unix of the period 1985-1989...

> I'm looking especially for nn, which was my go-to at the time.

I don't think I ever used nn.

> I also found that trn 3.6 from 1994 works well enough, though it is fairly bloated. Earlier versions of that might be better.

ISTR using 'trn' for a while, but not that late.  Probably 1992 or 1993?

> Does anyone have better Google-fu than I do? Or perhaps you've got earlier sources squirreled away?

I likely have backups of UNIX machines I used in the late 80s but not
anywhere quickly accessible.  They would be on 9-track tape (I have a
working tsz07 SCSI tape drive for those times I need to read old

It would definitely be faster to find public sources than my old
backups.  I would have used whatever was common for the day on BSD
UNIX with no house mods.

> As an aside: If you were active on Usenet in 1989, what software were you using?

In 1989 I was running a UUCP box at work (Ultrix on a VAX-11/730) and
UUCP on my Amiga at home.  I didn't have a 300MB news spool and my max
transfer speed was 2300 baud, so I wasn't running a full feed.

My fingers remember 'rn' and 'trn' for UNIX news readers.  I forget
what I used on the Amiga, probably Matt Dillon's rn clone or perhaps


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