FAQ Questions?

Christoph Biedl cbiedl at gmx.de
Tue Apr 27 22:29:56 UTC 2004


divya at avnika.com wrote...

> (3) Is there a way to use MAIL as a transport for news replication/feeds?

Another word on that.

>  Perhaps this is an esoteric question, but I have often wondered if
>  mail could be used as a transport for articles between servers. I know
>  that we have "imapfeed" so why not a "mailfeed".

If you want to use the store&forward technique of mail: There's already
uucp, and embedding the transport in mail is rather re-inventing the
wheel.

>  This is useful in those cases where port 119 is not open between a
>  company intranet and an externally resident Usenet peer. Establishing 
>  a mail based peer feed may be a viable option.

You will surely find enough company firewall setups that might want you to
do that.  However: No matter how you hide the NNTP traffic it will
discovered just by its huge and constant amount.  Anybody who wants to
play newsadmin inside such a network should contact the network guys
before doing that and find a solution.  Bypassing a firewall might be a
reason for being fired without previous notice and I can understand such a
policy.
Only if the network administrators agree to a NNTP feed but cannot open
access on 119/tcp for most likely layer 9/10 problems, you might have to
find tricks for firewall piercing. There are a lot of things I'd try
before implementing and using a mail transport:
- running INN on a non-standard port.
- doing the feed within a ssh port forwarding (caveat: You'll have to
  restart ssh everytime the connection got lost, on the other hand you
  can have a compressed feed at no extra charge).
- have an ip tunnel to an external host (ipip, ipsec, openvpn etc.)
  and feed using that.  openvpn can even do such nasty tricks like
  connecting through a proxy (but: tcp-over-tcp considered harmful).

You should also keep in mind that nntp-in-mail will put a load on the
mail virus scanner, and no doubt it will pass along one or two during the
ride.

Overall, I cannot any use of that.

	Christoph



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