The infamous to-do list

Sven Paulus sven at
Sun Jun 25 23:15:20 UTC 2000

In article <yl3dm3tmpd.fsf at> you wrote:
|> Future Projects:

|> * Consider implementing the HEADERS command as discussed rather
|>   extensively in  [Greg Andruk has a preliminary
|>   patch.]

One thing I've been thinking about is adding a support for downloading
compressed lists. Since the amount of newsgroups is increasing permanently,
downloading the active and the newsgroups file - which most newsreaders do
after connecting to an NNTP server for the first time - takes quite some
time, especially via dialup lines.

A solution might be an additional NNTP command like ZLIST (or XZLIST), which
has the following format

      ZLIST <compression type> <LIST arguments>

for example "ZLIST COMPRESS active alt.*".

The answer is something like "215 73844 bytes follow\r\n", followed by 73844
octets of binary data. After this, the state is back in command mode,
awaiting the next command.

<compression type> might be something like "gzip", "bzip2", "compress" ... 
After a "LIST FEATURES" (this was the proposed EHLO-like command to list
NNTP extensions, right?), the server replies with "ZLIST gzip bzip2 freeze"
(listing all the supported compression types).

Any comments regarding this idea? I think customers reading news via
connections without compression on IP- or lower levels would really benefit
from this. Of course client support is needed for this, but if major NNTP
server software packages like INN and Diablo provide compressed lists, the
possibility that clients would pick up this (optional) feature might be

Concerning the implementation, various libraries (zlib, ...) provide all the
functions needed for the actual compressing. The presence of the libraries
could be detected by autoconf, whether they are used and with which
parameters (compression level) could be controlled by inn.conf settings.

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