Common NNTP Extensions
RFC 2980

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 2000; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                          S. Barber
Request for Comments: 2980                    Academ Consulting Services
Category: Informational                                     October 2000

                         Common NNTP Extensions

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   In this document, a number of popular extensions to the Network News
   Transfer Protocol (NNTP) protocol defined in RFC 977 are documented
   and discussed.  While this document is not intended to serve as a
   standard of any kind, it will hopefully serve as a reference document
   for future implementers of the NNTP protocol.  In the role, this
   document would hopefully create the possibility for some level of
   interoperability among implementations that make use of extensions.

Introduction

   RFC 977 [1] defines the NNTP protocol and  was released over a decade
   ago.  Since then, NNTP has become one of the most popular protocols
   in use on the Internet.  Many implementations of the protocol have
   been created on many different platforms and operating systems.  With
   the growth in use of the protocol, work began on a revision to NNTP
   in 1991, but that work did not result in a new standard protocol
   specification.  However, many ideas from that working group did find
   their way into many implementations of NNTP.  Additionally, many
   other extensions, often created by newsreader authors, are also in
   use.  This document will capture and define all known extensions to
   NNTP available in official NNTP server releases of some type as of
   this writing.  Where possible, the server software first implementing
   a particular extension will be noted.  It is the hope of the author
   that using this document in tandem with RFC 977 will limit the
   addition of new extensions that essentially do the same thing.
   Software developers may wish to use this document and others [2] as a
   resource for the  development of new software.

Barber                       Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2980                 Common NNTP Extensions             October 2000

   This document does not specify an Internet Standard of any kind.  It
   only attempts to document current practices.  While this document may
   clarify some ambiguity in RFC 977, RFC 977 should be regarded as
   authoritative in all cases.  There are some implementations that are
   not strictly RFC 977 compliant and where necessary, these deviations
   from the standard will be noted.  This document does reflect the work
   of the IETF NNTP-EXT working group chaired by Ned Freed and Stan
   Barber.

   This document is provided to help implementers have a uniform source
   of information about extensions, however, it is important for any
   prospective implementer to understand that the extensions listed here
   are NOT part of any current standard for NNTP.  In fact, some of the
   ones listed in this document should not be included in new NNTP
   implementations as they should no longer be used modern NNTP
   environments.  Such commands should be considered historic and are
   documented as such in this document.

   Extensions fall into three categories: transport, newsreader and
   other.  Transport extensions are additions to the NNTP specification
   that were made specifically to move news articles from one server to
   another server.  Newsreader extensions are additions to the NNTP
   specification that were made to assist NNTP clients in selecting and
   retrieving news articles from servers.  Other extensions to the NNTP
   specification are those which did not specifically fall into either
   of the other two categories.  Examples of other extensions include
   authentication and time-of-day extensions.  For each command, the
   format of section 3 of RFC 977 will be used.

1. Transport Extensions

   A transport extension is one which is primarily used in inter-server
   communications.  Following are the descriptions of each transport
   extension commands and the responses which will be returned by those
   commands.

   Each command is shown in upper case for clarity, although case is
   ignored in the interpretation of commands by the NNTP server.  Any
   parameters are shown in lower case.  A parameter shown in [square
   brackets] is optional.  For example, [GMT] indicates that the
   triglyph GMT may present or omitted.  A parameter that may be
   repeated is followed by an ellipsis.

Barber                       Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2980                 Common NNTP Extensions             October 2000

1.1.1  The CHECK command

   CHECK <message-id>

   CHECK is used by a peer to discover if the article with the specified
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