Ferret Laboratories : NewsGrab

NewsGrab is a utility which allows automatic scanning and extraction of attachments from usenet newsgroups. There are a fair few such utilities knocking about for Windows and various flavours of Unix, but I know of no other for RISC OS. Aside from my preference for RISC OS over every other OS, it has the added benefit that any malicious attachments downloaded (such as viruses or Malware) will be totally safe!

I originally wrote it as a programming excercise - I do quite a lot of messing about with network coding, and recently had ADSL installed at home. I also collect things like cartoon strips, and the idea of writing a program that could download them in large quantities, weeding out duplicates as it went, seemed rather appealing.

NewsGrab is not yet available - I've just made this page in preparation, because things are progressing much quicker than I expected. It's not far off a first release (see my specifications and to-do list below). Drop me a mail if you would be interested in this utility - it might encourage me to finish it quicker.


You'll need a computer with RISC OS 4 or 5 (though I've only tested it on 5). Though it could probably run on RiscPCs with RISC OS 3.xx, the limitations of 77 files per directory and ten character filenames will prove to be a bit of a sod.
You'll also need a connection to the Internet - really, it needs to be a fast connection such as Broadband. I dread to think what your 'phone bill will look like if you run this over ordinary dialup. It currently downloads ALL available articles from the newsgroup(s) you select - you're expected to weed out the files you don't want afterwards.
You'll need access to a usenet (NNTP) server. Your ISP should maintain one.
Make sure you have copious amounts of hard-disk space!

Current Status

Currently, the utility:

And things I'm going to add (in no particular order):

Note that although I'm supporting yEnc encoding, I recommend you have a read of "Why yEnc is bad for Usenet", which makes very interesting reading. In the interests of parity, I should also provide a link to the offical yEnc Website.

E-mail me!
This page was last updated 20th May 2004.