Old newsreader source code

Frank McConnell fmc at reanimators.org
Wed May 9 16:23:14 CDT 2018

On May 8, 2018, at 9:23, Seth Morabito 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'm looking especially for nn, which was my go-to at the time. The oldest version I've found so far is nn 6.4, which is too big to compile on a 3B2/400. If I could get my hands on 6.1 or earlier, I think I'd have a good chance.
> I also found that trn 3.6 from 1994 works well enough, though it is fairly bloated. Earlier versions of that might be better.
> Does anyone have better Google-fu than I do? Or perhaps you've got earlier sources squirreled away?

It occurred to me (and before I saw Peter Corlett’s post) to go looking for some of the old CD-ROMs that have been uploaded to archive.org, and I found this one:


"Source Code CDROM”

I think it has two versions of nn, 6.4 (from 1990, in UNIX_C/USENET) and 6.3 (from 1989, in USENET/COMPSRCS/UNIX/VOLUME19).  Which makes me think that older versions will likely predate the CD-ROM era if they can be found at all.  I get the idea that nn may not have escaped from Europe until that comp.sources.unix release of 6.3 in 1989.

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

rn on SunOS, from about 1986 or 1987, on differing hosts.  In all cases other folks installed it and I did not notice what versions were involved.  Continued with it until 1992 when I switched to GNUS on a SPARCstation.  Between 1994 and 1997 I ran strn on a Sun 3/60 which was also running C News with news delivery via uucp, but switched to Gnus when I built a new system with a PC and FreeBSD.

-Frank McConnell

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