Friday, 31 October 2008

Setting up Leafnode on Ubuntu

One of the things that I frequently use tunneling for is Usenet access - particularly as quite a few ISPs block port 119 these days and I can't get on with the Google Groups interface.

Leafnode is a simple and light weight NNTP server which adequately handles my needs.


From the command line:
sudo apt-get install leafnode
and enter details as necessary.


This will very much depend on which upstream NNTP server you use. In my case, I use the cheesy server or as it more formally known. I have an account with them and it is free which works for me.

A note about FQDN and Leafnode.

Leafnode insists that you have an FQDN assigned on your machine which Ubuntu does not necessarily set during installation. Solution 1 is to edit /etc/hosts and assign the FQDN there.

My hosts file looks like this: localhost my.fqdn localname

to check what your FQDN is, from the command line type:

hostname -f
Naturally, you will have to use your own FQDN.

Alternatively, you can configure the FQDN using the hostname= parameter in the leafnode config file. Personally, I prefer the former method rather than the cheat.

Breaking news: It appears that the cheesy server allows registered users to also reserve an FQDN which could be useful for some.

Configuring Leafnode

I shall put in the details I have configured to use the cheesy server.

Edit the file /etc/news/leafnode/config
expire = 60
server =
username = my_username
password = my_password
# optional
hostname = my.fqdn
# ignores some x-posted chaff from Usenet trolls :-)
maxcrosspost = 4

Fetching news

fetchnews likes to be run as user news and I have set my cron job to run every 15 minutes. I have also set the texpire task to run at noon every day to remove expired articles.
sudo crontab -u news -e 
# Sets texpire to clean out news at noon:
0 12 * * * /usr/sbin/texpire 1>/dev/null
# Sets fetchnews to run every 15 minutes:
*/15 * * * * /usr/sbin/fetchnews -vv 2>&1 >> /dev/null

For setting up the tunnel, read my IMAP tunnel article and use port 119 instead :-)

Further reading on automating tunnels can be found on this blog here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


I have been meaning to sort out a favicon.ico for my home websever and quite fancied a Tux to do the job. A quick search using my favourite search engine revelaed this which I have altered to have a pink background to match the, erm, house style.

One less thing to worry about for when the inevitable re-build comes around.