I’ve already done an article called Usenet for Dummies, where you can learn about what exactly Usenet is. Go read that article if you haven’t already. If you have, then this article will go over a variety of tools you need to get up and running with Usenet on Linux.
Before we get started, here is a small list of the types of tools you’ll need, which we’ll go over:
- PAR File Utility
- Extraction Tools
A Newsreader is the application you will be using to view these Usenet servers with. A Newsreader is usually a GUI application which allows you to connect up to a Usenet server and then browse the posts, post something to the server, or download from the “alt.binaries” categories.
Pan: Pan is our first Newsreader we’re going to go over and consequently the best by most people’s standards. Pan has quite a lot of features, allowing you to subscribe to certain groups. The biggest difference between most Newsreaders and Pan is the amount of features. While a lot of the other readers work okay, they usually only do certain features really well, and don’t have any others or they aren’t implemented correctly. If you plan on actually reading content on Usenet and not just download things off of “alt.binaries” groups, then I’d definitely go with Pan. It provides a very intuitive interface that allows you to manage everything neatly so reading or posting is done very easily.
KLibido: KLibido is a great alternative to Pan if you use KDE because of the fact that it happens to already be included in the repository. KLibido does have the ability to be able to subscribe to groups just like Pan, although KLibido’s interface appears to be built more for downloading binaries rather than browsing groups and then reading and posting on them. I personally love KLibido’s Queue manager and the ability to manage binaries very easy and fast without all the “rest” of the features that aren’t needed when just downloading binaries.
PAR File Utility
PAR files are often supplied along with RAR files in case the RAR files need to be repaired. Basically, sometimes one RAR file out of the whole collection, that you need to put your program together, is bad and needs to be repaired. That’s where the PAR files come in. I won’t go into detail of how they work, just how to use them. You need a utility that will take these PAR files and will check the RAR files, find the bad one’s and repair them.
PyPar2: PyPar2 is a python GUI that can be installed and setup fairly easy. It allows you to just a check on the files, or to run a check that tries to repair the files at the end of the check. You’ll want to setup PyPar2 to be associated with your PAR files to make sure they get opened with that application. There are a couple others but I haven’t personally used them, such as Gpar2 and also the command line tool “par2”, can both be found via Google.
Par-N-Rar is apparently another GUI application that will allow you to verify, repair, and then remove the PAR files if the repair was successful. I haven’t used this tool myself yet, but go ahead and give it a shot!
There are many types of files you may come across when browsing Usenet so you’ll need an arsenal of tools to handle them. Here is a short list of extraction types you’ll want to be able to handle:
- RAR Files
- 7z Files
- ZIP Files
I won’t list the tools since you should already have at least one of them, so just Google if your Linux distro plus the names to find out the tools you’ll need to download.
There are many more tools out there that are probably really great, but this is just a list of the one’s I know that I like! If you know of more tools that I haven’t listed, that you’d like me to review, feel free to let me know! Many tools are always needed to do what is necessary so building an arsenal now can save you time in the future. Above all else, have fun! 🙂