ProNews/2 Version 1.53

마루 0 267 08.11 20:23

Readme for ProNews/2 Version 1.53




       Thank You:

       New features in 1.53 not in previous releases:

       Fixes in 1.53 that you may need to know about:

       Making Mozilla work as a helper for Pronews:

       Memory related issues and tips:

       New features in 1.52 not in previous releases:

       Whats new in version 1.50 ib098 (ancient!):

       Good Net Keeping Seal of Approval (GNKSA):

       Notes about this version:

       Non obvious features:

All proceeds from the sale of this product are donated

to the Save the Children fund -


This version is brought to you by:

        Bob Eager

        Trevor Hemsley

        Will Honea

        Lorne Sunley

building on the original foundations supplied by Panacea software,

Bill Young, William Lamb et al.

We also wish to thank Robert Mahoney of 2Rud Software for his

assistance in making the SpellGuard code work again with ProNews.

yDecode code initially written by Brian Smith and integrated into

the current version of the program by Trevor Hemsley.

Help file and screenshots updated for 1.5x release by Peter

Weilbacher. Readme files proofread and amended by Rik Steenwinkel.


Thank you for evaluating ProNews/2, the best USENET reader for


We do advise that you take a backup of your existing ProNews

setup BEFORE you install this version.

To install simply run the install program. If you are upgrading

from a 1.00 beta 1, 2, 2b, 2c, 3, 3b, 4, or 4b you MUST delete the

entire program and all its data and index files and install from


If you are upgrading from 1.00GA you must switch to the ProNews

directory and run upgrade.exe after the install has completed but

before you start ProNews 1.53 for the first time. You are STRONGLY

recommended to backup your Pronews directory prior to this! The

new authors have no access to source for the "upgrade" program

that Panacea wrote nor do we know the format of the old files and

thus are unable to provide support for the 1.00 -> 1.5x upgrade

path. Sorry, we would if we could! The only option we can offer is

to install 1.53 in a new directory and to run the releases in

parallel for a while. We are fairly convinced that you'll prefer

1.53 ;-)

If you are upgrading from any ProNews 1.5x to this release then

you do not need to perform any additional steps.

We are aware of some outstanding problems that we haven't fixed.

There's a list in the file UNFIXED.TXT that's been installed in

your \PRONEWS directory.

ProNews does not modify CONFIG.SYS or any system settings.

Uninstalling ProNews is as easy as deleting its directory.

Pre-requisite fixes to your system!


Before using Pronews/2 to do large amounts of work, we strongly

recommend that you apply the latest TCPIP stack fixes if you are

running Warp 4. One machine used for testing experienced a number

of fullscreen black TRAP 000E's when running Pronews under extreme

loads for testing purposes. On this machine, running inetver

reported a TCPIP level of 4.0e. After downloading and installing

IC16063.EXE and the "LATEST40.EXE" TCPIP fixes so that inetver

reports 4.02w these TRAPs haven't appeared since. TCP/IP 4.1 and

newer does not seem to have these issues.

New features in 1.53 not in previous releases


1) yEnc decode support

2) Changes to use less memory - details of how to configure this

are below.

3) speed ;-)

4) Addition of the %G variable in Pronews/2-->Settings tab

"Group Defaults (page 4 of 9)" to allow quoting of the group name

in both "Reply Message" and "Forward message" templates. This also

works in the local copy of the group settings.

Fixes in 1.53 that you may need to know about


You can find a complete list of the fixes in this release in the

file FIXED.TXT in your \PRONEWS directory when the installation is

complete. The following is a partial list of things that you may

need to know have been fixed before installing.

1) On all previous releases, the file GROUPS.DAT was randomly

corrupted when you fetched a new list of groups from the server.

This release contains code that will inspect GROUPS.DAT as it is

loaded, will issue warning messages to PRONEWS.LOG for each group

in error then ignore the group. If any errors are detected it will

then rewrite GROUPS.DAT so that it contains only the groups that

have been validated. The first time you look at the groups trees

in this release may log a large number of errors to PRONEWS.LOG

(one of the beta testers had over 21,000 invalid groups deleted)

and take a long time. Hopefully the bug that corrupted the groups

file is also fixed in this release.

2) In 1.52, articles with Message IDs with more than 49 characters

on the lefthand side of the @ sign were not stored in the database

correctly. Articles in reply to one of these will not be correctly

threaded in the article index. To correct this you need to delete

the article with more than 49 characters in its id and then

retrieve ALL headers for the group to make it refetch it. Or let

it age off and forget about it ;-) Mozilla for Linux seems to be

the prime offender for triggering this bug.

3) Contents of some filter files may now be ignored. There's now

some checking of the validity of the FLT files in the headers

directory and Pronews will not process those that it finds are

corrupt. Rather this than crash :-(

4) Pronews should now coexist with other running programs more

readily. Users who have experienced SYS0008 "Cannot start, not

enough memory" errors from OS/2 should be helped by this release.

Most of the problems I have had reported have been from users of

the Polarbar Mailer and Netscape.

5) Changed the behaviour of the article index when it scrolls.

When it had the last article on the screen highlighted and you

pressed the spacebar to go to the next, it used to move the

article index up to the next unread post but place it on the last

line of the display still. It now moves the index up and places

the selected article on the line below the top. This is

intentional for those of you who notice it and are just about to

send me a mail telling me it's a bug ;-)

6) When you select an article for decode, there is now a fastpath

to cater for articles that are self-contained - i.e. (1/1). This

is to speed up the selection of articles for decode. A side effect

of this is that if you swipe a whole range of articles with the

same subject, it will now select all of them for decode where the

old code would have selected just one of them - but very very

slowly. In addition, selection of articles for multipart decodes

has been speeded up.

7) The ROT13 shortcut keys were different in article and post

windows. Both now use Ctrl-T to be consistent.

8) If you have GNKSA compliance set on in the global settings

notebook then you will now be warned when an article that you are

reading and replying to in one group has a Followup-To: header

that points to a different newsgroup.

9) The popup menu that allows you to select which group(s) to send

a post to is now arranged according to the books you have defined.

This means it will not tend to drop off the bottom of the screen

if you have a lot of groups (or a small screen).

10) When you select one of the Groups tabs (All Groups or New

Groups) on the Control Panel, GROUPS.DAT is read and the number of

groups on the server selected in the Servers pane is displayed on

the tabs. The numbers are retained if you switch away from those

tabs, and also if you subsequently select a different server in

the Servers pane. Only if you now switch back to the All Groups or

New Groups tab will the group count be updated.

Not really a fix but...

Making Mozilla work as a helper for Pronews


is easy (tm) if you bear in mind that Mozilla must be able to

finds its DLLs. You can either add the \mozilla\bin path to your

system LIBPATH (and reboot) before you use Pronews or you can

invoke Pronews from a script that uses the OS/2 SET BEGINLIBPATH=

feature to add it to the current process or you can invoke Mozilla

from Pronews via a script that uses SET BEGINLIBPATH. On the

whole, having used Mozilla as my primary browser for a while, I'd

recommend using it in your system LIBPATH - it's just easier.

If you are aiming to use Mozilla then you need to provide a

slightly different parameter to it to have it work correctly.

Netscape was setup as a helper by pointing

Program path: x:\netscape\program\netscape.exe

Parameters: %U

but Mozilla requires

Program path: x:\mozilla\bin\mozilla.exe

Parameters: -url %U

but otherwise they are identical. A new Mozilla window will open

for each link you click from within Pronews.

Memory related issues and tips


The last release introduced an environment variable PNMAXHEADERS

that allowed you to specify how many articles any of your

newsgroups could contain. The default was set at 100,000 and still

is in this version. However, this has a negative side effect when

you have many small groups because each group allocates memory

when it's opened, requesting approximately 8 times PNMAXHEADERS

(in bytes) plus the size of the IDX file for that group. To try to

help this PNMAXHEADERS has been given a slightly different

meaning. It is now the maximum number of articles that any group

can be set to use. If you set the "Automatically limit to" setting

in the global settings notebook to a lower number then this number

is used for all groups. For large groups which exceed this global

number you can override the "Automatically limit to" number in the

local settings notebook. The maximum that you can set either

"Automatically limit to" value to is the one that you've specified


As this is a complex issue an example might help. Suppose you have

a lot of groups that never have more than 10000 articles, and a

small number that have between 60000 and 120000 on a regular

basis. To handle this situation, you SET PNMAXHEADERS=150000

(largest expected group size plus a bit of leeway), then go into

the local settings notebook of each of the large groups and turn

to the "Other" page. Uncheck "Use Group Defaults", turn on

"Automatically limit to" and enter 150000 in the spin control

there (you can overtype it, you don't have to spin it!). Now you

OK your way out, go to the global settings notebook and set the

"Automatically limit to" setting there (page 9 of the Group

Defaults) to a sensible number like 15000 or 20000. This reduces

the memory requirements for the remaining groups that normally

have around 10000 posts or less. For any groups still smaller you

can override the default settings too, adjusting its

"Automatically limit to" downwards as appropriate. Note that you

shouldn't set this value lower than the current group size or the

purge limit (whichever is greater).

On the old release 1.52, setting PNMAXHEADERS=150000 would

allocate 1.2MB per group, regardless of its actual requirements.

With 30 groups, of which 2 large, the new scheme as above requires

6.8MB against 36MB previously. In both cases the groups' index

file sizes should be added to this.

This way of working should help people who have subscribed many

small groups and a few large ones.

For people that have many small groups and no large ones, we

strongly recommend that you SET PNMAXHEADERS to a lower value than

100000 as this will reduce your memory requirement to the minimum.

New features in 1.52 not in previous releases


1) Missing parts in a multipart article decode are now listed when

you attempt to decode them. Messages are written to both

PRONEWS.LOG and to the article window.

2) New environment variable: PNNOOFASFILEPART. Set this to any

value and Pronews will ignore "x of y" in article subject fields.

For use where posters use subjects like "Some huge set of binaries

(1/256) File 1 of 6" to ignore the "File 1 of 6" part of the line,

as otherwise ProNews will incorrectly try to match the "File 1 of

6" to "File 2 of 6" instead of (2/256), (3/256), etc. (it works

backwards from the end of the line). It just requires the

environment variable to be set, the actual value is irrelevant.


3) New environment variable: PNMAXHEADERS. Previous releases of

Pronews were hard coded as to how many articles in a single

newsgroup Pronews could deal with. More recent releases have had a

limit of 100000 articles per newsgroup, older ones had a limit of

30000. You can now set an environment variable to tell Pronews how

many articles to expect in any newsgroup in your subscription

list. Note that this ideally should allow for the current number

of articles in any newsgroup plus the number of new headers

requested from the server. The default is 100000 as before. You

can change it to a lower value than 100000 in order to save on

memory allocated by Pronews, or set it to a higher number to allow

you to view more populous newsgroups. The larger the number you

use, the more memory is allocated (and vice versa for those on low

memory systems), as ProNews keeps the allocated memory associated

with a newsgroup even when it is closed.

Example: SET PNMAXHEADERS=200000 DO NOT SET TOO LOW!! This is a

loaded gun that lets you blow your own foot off ;-) Setting the

value too low can cause horrible crashes, while setting the value

too high will cause memory to be allocated unnecessarily. Trailing

or leading blanks on the numeric argument are not allowed and

should not be specified. Default if not specified is 100000.

4) Autodetection of occasions where the server has had the current

newsgroup rebuilt and reset the message numbers of the articles

within it. Also could happen when switching a group from one

server to another, we now detect the new message numbers and

download all.

What's new in version ib098


Y2K Compliance!


+ Installation of this beta 2 will not fix any Y2K problems that

exist in the current *database* of your old release. We have added

code to recognise the database corruption and "tolerate" it but

the database will remain corrupt until posts made after Jan 1,

2000 and downloaded with a non-Y2K compliant copy of ProNews have

been deleted. The net effect of these changes should mean that you

do not _see_ any Y2K related problems with old posts/articles.

Otherwise, build ib098 should be entirely Y2K compliant.

Good Net Keeping Seal of Approval (GNKSA)


+ A number of issues for GNSKA compliance have been addressed

in this release. A new checkbox on the Settings notebook

Group Defaults tab page 6 has been added to turn on strict

GNSKA compliance for the following items.

        - maximum server connections no more than 4

        - warn user if more than 4 lines in sig

        - warn user if a reply to a post is directed away from

          the current newsgroup by the presence of a Followup-To:


The following GNKSA items are in force regardless of the setting

of the Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval compliant check box:

        - signature should be prefixed by "-- \n" line on posts

          made ("-- \n" is dash, dash, blank, carriage return on a

          line by itself)

        - strip out addressee's signature when replying (anything

          after "-- \n" on a line by itself in original post)

        - subject must be specified (no default). ProNews will now

          refuse to post an article with a null subject

        - don't post empty or unchanged messages. This is done to

          stop accidental posts with no changes made.

+ The Spell Check code is completely new in this version. The

program still uses the Spell Guard API and dictionaries. Our

thanks go to Robert Mahoney of 2Rud Software for his assistance

in making this work.

+ The "Explore Thread" option on the Article Pop Up menu has been

replaced with a new "DejaNews" sub menu that includes the "Explore

Thread" choice and adds two new choices.

  "Classic DejaNews" starts Netscape and passes an URL that asks to look for the message ID for the article and

     displays the article in the Classic Deja News format.

  "Group Search" starts Netscape and passes an URL to

     that asks for a search for the selected text. The menu item

     will be disabled unless a text block is selected in the

     Article window.

+ The tasks "Retrieving all articles for %newsgroup%" have been

moved from "Article Activities" to "Miscellaneous Activities"

queue. This requires that you have at least 1 Miscellaneous

Activity thread configured to run. The more MISC threads that you

configure then the more "Retrieving all article" threads will run

at any one time. This affects the rate at which "Retrieving

article xyz" posts will appear in the "Article Activity" queue.

It's these last ones that actually transfer articles from your

news server to ProNews. You need to find a balance between the

number of MISC threads that run putting Article Activity tasks

onto the queue and allowing enough of them to run to transfer


Notes about this version


+ There are probably numerous bugs, and without your help we won't

be able to find them. If you have a problem, please email us

( and let us know.

Wherever possible we need to know accurate ways to recreate the

problem. If you have a crash then we'll want the popuplog.os2

entry for the crash and, if you're running a debug version, the

*.TRP file from the ProNews directory. The last few lines of the

PRONEWS.LOG file would also be useful. If you can recreate the

problem and we cannot then mail us and ask for the debug version

of the code, run with "pronews -3" to turn on debugging logging

then recreate the problem and let us know.

+ This software is Shareware. It will work unhindered in ANY way

for 45 days. After this there will be a delay upon starting the

program. Please see the programs help files for information on how

to register.

Non obvious features


+ Using the TAB key on the article windows switches between the

article bodies and article headers windows. In the control panel

it will switch between the server field and the list of subscribed


+ The SPACE key pages down the article body window, and when the

end of the article is reached, advances to the next unread

article. The default action of the spacebar may be configured in

the program's settings notebook. If you reach the last unread

article in a newsgroup, ProNews will open the next newsgroup that

has unread article bodies and close this one.

+ Control+Space acts as the space key, but does not wait until the

article is at the end to skip to the next. Follows the same rules

as the spacebar.

+ Each toolbar in the program can be customized. Right click on

the toolbar to learn more. Toolbars for individual groups are

saved so you can give each group you read it's own toolbar suited

to it's content. To copy an item from one toolbar to another

CTRL-Drag it.

+ Double clicking on the [+] [-] items in the tree views expands

all subtrees.

+ Just like OS/2, pressing Ctrl-* (on the numeric keypad) expands

ALL trees in the current window.

+ Selecting all articles in a group and then using the decode

option will automatically scan for multipart binaries and properly

decode them for you. Binaries with missing parts are not

downloaded, and are highlighted to let you know they have missing


+ To edit an article or message that is queued for send you have to go

into the Queue window and double click on it.

+ Drag

   - articles to the desktop to save them.

   - articles into user groups to store them.

   - servers onto groups to change which server is used for subscription.

   - books/groups in the control panel to arrange them.

   - queued items to arrange them.

   - outgoing post queue items to a server to transfer the post.

+ Right click on everything. Nearly every part of the program has

a context sensitive menu. Some options may only be reached in this


Again, thank you for trying ProNews/2!


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