Tag Archives: Fedora

A Free SSL Web Hosting Solution

Introduction

SSL Web Hosting has been made free by a number of providers such as Let’s Encrypt and ZeroSSL for years now. I wrote this blog because I truly believe web administrators and developers should leverage this if they aren’t already.

I’ve personally come across an amazing tool called Dehydrated which I used to leverage this. The best part about Dehydrated is that it even operates using the MIT license, meaning it’s also completely free to use!

Dehydrated Setup

An ideal SSL Web Hosting solution comes with the perfect tool to do all of the work for you…

Installation

#
# Make sure curl is installed:
#
# RedHat/CentOS v5,6, and 7 Users
sudo yum install -y curl

# RedHat/CentOS v8+ and Fedora Systems:
sudo dnf install -y curl

# Debian/Ubuntu Systems
sudo apt update && sudo apt get curl

# Download Dehydrated (as root)
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dehydrated-io/dehydrated/master/dehydrated \
   --output /usr/bin/dehydrated

# Set proper permissions
chmod 755 /usr/bin/dehydrated

# Make a wellknown directory for the acme-challenge strings
mkdir -p /var/www/dehydrated

# SELinux Proof it (for those that use it - and you should!)
semanage fcontext -a -t httpd_sys_content_t \
          '/var/www/dehydrated/(/.*)?'

Initial Preparation

Next we need to just prepare some basic configuration needed by Dehydrated:

mkdir -p /etc/pki/dehydrated
pushd /etc/pki/dehydrated

# SSL Hosting Configuration; Identify your hosts
#
# Below shows how I set up nuxref.com; you will want to
# identify ALL of the SSL hostnames you plan on supporting
# here:
cat << _EOF > domains.txt
# nuxref Hosts; swap these with your own:
# syntax:
#   domain sub1.domain sub2.domain subx.domain > output_file
nuxref.com www.nuxref.com repo.nuxref.com > nuxref_com
_EOF

# Create ourselves a config file:
cat << _EOF > config
# our wellknown directory
WELLKNOWN=/var/www/dehydrated
_EOF

# First time use only
/usr/bin/dehydrated --register --accept-terms

Nginx Configuration

You’ll want to create the the following parameter file that you can source in all of your domain configuration files:

cat << _EOF > /etc/nginx/dehydrated_params
location ^~ /.well-known/acme-challenge {
   alias /var/www/dehydrated;
}
_EOF

The sourcing part is really easy now. You must add this entry in all of your configuration files that you’ve defined in your /etc/pki/dehydrated/domains.txt file (above).

# Place this in all of your NginX files in the server{} block(s):
include        dehydrated_params;

You’ll want to make sure once you got all of the include statements in place, and that you reload NginX so that it can take on your new configuration:

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Generating our SSL Keys

We’re now at the part of the blog where we test to see if all of our setup (defined above) was correctly put into place.

# We must always run Dehydrated from within this directory
pushd /etc/pki/dehydrated

# Force an initial update
dehydrated -c

The above command will run against all of the domains you defined in /etc/pki/dehydrated/domains.txt and attempt to verify them (in order to generate an SSL key for you). If it fails, it’s most likely because of the following:

  1. You’re not correctly hosting that domain on port 80 on this server we just set up together.
  2. You have an error in your NginX configuration and/or you forgot to add an include dehydrated_params; within one of your domain configuration(s).

If everything went smoothly, you’ll now have new SSL keys you can add to your NginX configuration. This allows you to host your website secured now using your own set of registered SSL keys. You’re almost home free now! You need to dive back into NginX and prepare yourself a new server block of code that listens on port 443 with SSL turned on.

server {
  # SSL
  listen 443;
  ssl on;

  #
  # your security setup and location entries here
  # See https://raymii.org/s/tutorials/Strong_SSL_Security_On_nginx.html
  # for some ideas

  # Don't forget to point to your newly generated SSL Keys:
  # swap nuxref_com
  ssl_certificate /etc/pki/dehydrated/certs/nuxref_com/cert.pem;
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/pki/dehydrated/certs/nuxref_com/privkey.pem;
}

Set It and Forget It

Free SSL Web Hosting keys being free do however come with a catch: they don’t last long. They don’t expire in 2-3 years like a normal paid key would – these ones expire in 30 days in some cases. So it’s up to you to either remember to run dehydrated -c often, OR just automated it like so:

# next add a cronjob so it updates automatically
cat << _EOF > /etc/cron.d/dehydrated
# at 14:20 every day update SSL certificates
20 14 * * * cd /etc/pki/dehydrated/ && dehydrated -c &>/dev/null && systemctl reload nginx &>/dev/null
_EOF

Sources

A Redhat Usenet Solution

Introduction

The two top programs in the Usenet world are NZBGet and SABnzbd. Both of these tools have their strengths and weaknesses. Both of them also have a strong community that chooses one over the other and have their own preferences why they did. But at the end of the day, both of them are amazing and well maintained by their developers and the community that follows them.

I’ve recently begun packaging these tools in addition to some of the plugins that go with them. My goal was to just bring awareness to those who use the CentOS/Fedora/RedHat world that their lives just got easier! At the time this blog was written CentOS 8, Fedora 31, Fedora 32, and Fedora 33 were the current distributions.

The Setup and Target Audience

This blog was centered around the Nuxref repositories I maintain. Thus, this is the cleanest CentOS/RedHat RPM based installation with very little effort required. Simply:

  1. Connect to my repository.
  2. Install your desired packages (explained below):
  3. Enjoy!

The Nuxref Repositories

Before you proceed with the rest of this blog; you’ll first want to get yourself set up with the Nuxref repositories. This is where all of the packages are that will allow you to proceed with one (or both) of the solutions below.

The easiest way to do this is to visit the repository website and follow the instructions to get connected.

CentOS 8 users will want to connect to EPEL if they haven’t already done so:

# Connect to EPEL:
sudo dnf install -y epel-release

NZBGet Usenet Solution


The NZBGet solution comes with the following:

Provides a SystemD service ready to go for those who want to tie it to their systems startup and shutdown.

# Install NZBGet from the Nuxref repository
sudo dnf install -y nzbget

# Add NZBGet to the startup of your system
sudo systemctl enable nzbget.service

# Start it up now if you like too!
sudo systemctl start nzbget.service

You’ll now be able to access the web page through your browser accessing:
http://localhost:6789.
Note: The default login/password is nzbget/tegbzn6789 when prompted.

Here is a breakdown of how the custom NZBGet package works:

  • A default configuration (/etc/nzbget.conf) is pre-prepared for you which
  • sets up the logging directory to be /var/log/nzbget/nzbget.log (with log rotation on).
  • All of the variable data (file processing, etc) will be located in /var/lib/nzbget/*. In fact this is a very important directory because unless you configure things differently, all downloaded content will appear in /var/lib/nzbget/downloads.

To grant users on your system access to the data available through NZBGet, simply just add them to the nzbget group:

# swap the USER with your username you want to add to the
# nzbget group:
sudo usermod -aG nzbget USER

You can optionally choose to just run nzbget -d using your general account to launch a personal instance of NZBGet.

NZBGet Notifications

NZBGet can keep you posted on what it’s doing by sending you emails when a download completes (or fails). But it’s not just emails it can use as a medium; it can be Gotify, Twitter, Telegram, Amazon SNS, Slack, etc.

To leverage the notification features, you just need to install the NZB-Notify Plugin:

# Install the notification plugin from the Nuxref repository
sudo dnf install -y nzbget-script-notify

# Reload NZBGet so it takes on the new configuration
sudo systemctl restart nzbget

To enable it, you simply need to need to access the Notifications tab from within the NZBGet Settings section.

NZBGet Notification Setup
  1. Select the SETTINGS entry at the top right.
  2. Select the NOTIFY entry on the left hand side
  3. Notifications basically have to be defined as Apprise URLs; you can learn to construct the one for the services you wish to use here.

Finally it is a good idea to ensure the Notifications are triggered to run at the proper times:

NZBGet Settings – NZB-Notify Ordering
  1. Select the SETTINGS entry at the top right (if you’re not there already still from the previous steps).
  2. Select the EXTNSION SCRIPTS entry on the left hand side
  3. Make sure the Notify.py is listed in both the Extensions and ScriptOrder section.

NZBGet Video Sorting

Another great plugin for NZBGet is one that allows all content downloaded to be automatically sorted/renamed into a very conventional format. The amazing tool that does this is VideoSort. I’ve also gone ahead and packaged this so it would easy to use in a CentOS/Fedora enviroment like everything else:

# Install the videosort plugin from the Nuxref repository
sudo dnf install -y nzbget-script-videosort

# VideoSort can be a bit confusing to setup the first time; so the best way I can
# make this incredibly easy for you is to pre-load you with some good default
# configuration.  Here is how you can do it:

# First stop NZBGet:
sudo systemctl stop nzbget

# Backup the configuration file (so you can restore things they way they
# were if you don't like my approach):
sudo cp /etc/nzbget.conf /etc/nzbget.conf.backup

# Now thrown in our default configuration
# (just copy and paste the below):
NZBGETCFG=/etc/nzbget.conf

# First tidy up any conflicting entries (don't worry
# you backed this file up remember, we can roll back if you're
# not happy after:
sudo sed -i '/Videosort/d' $NZBGETCFG
sudo sed -i '/Category[0-9]\+/d' $NZBGETCFG

# Now copy in our new settings:
( cat &lt;&lt; _EOF
# Custom Categories
Category1.Name=movies
# (option &lt;DestDir&gt;) is used. In this case if the option &lt;AppendCategoryDir&gt;
Category1.DestDir=\${DestDir}/Movies
Category1.Unpack=yes
Category1.Extensions=VideoSort.py, Notify.py
Category1.Aliases=movies*
Category2.Name=tv
Category2.DestDir=\${DestDir}/TVShows
Category2.Unpack=yes
Category2.Extensions=VideoSort.py, Notify.py
Category2.Aliases=hdtv, tv*, s??e??

# VideoSort Script
VideoSort.py:MoviesDir=\${DestDir}/Movies
VideoSort.py:SeriesDir=\${DestDir}/TVShows
VideoSort.py:DatedDir=\${DestDir}/TVShows
VideoSort.py:OtherTvDir=\${DestDir}/TVShows
VideoSort.py:TvCategories=tv
VideoSort.py:VideoExtensions=.mkv,.avi,.divx,.xvid,.mov,.wmv,.mp4,.mpg,.mpeg,.vob,.iso
VideoSort.py:SatelliteExtensions=.srt,.sub,.idx,.subs.rar,.rar,.nfo,.jpg
VideoSort.py:MinSize=100
VideoSort.py:MoviesFormat=%.t.(%y)/%.t.%y.%qss.%qf.%qvc-%qrg
VideoSort.py:SeriesFormat=%s.n/S%0s/%s.n.S%0sE%0e.%e.n.%qss.%qf.%qvc-%qrg
VideoSort.py:EpisodeSeparator=E
VideoSort.py:SeriesYear=yes
VideoSort.py:DatedFormat=%s.n/%s.n-%e.n-%y-%0m-%0d
VideoSort.py:OtherTvFormat=%t
VideoSort.py:LowerWords=the,of,and,at,vs,a,an,but,nor,for,on,so,yet
VideoSort.py:UpperWords=III,II,IV
VideoSort.py:DNZBHeaders=yes
VideoSort.py:PreferNZBName=yes
VideoSort.py:Overwrite=no
VideoSort.py:Cleanup=yes
VideoSort.py:Preview=no
VideoSort.py:Verbose=no
_EOF
) | sudo tee -a $NZBGETCFG

# Restart our NZBGet instance so it takes on the new configuration
sudo systemctl start nzbget

Firewall Configuration

The package will provide you the files needed to set up the firewall and make NZBGet available to you from other stations by simply doing the following:

# Assuming your network is set up to the `home` zone, the following
# sets you up to expose TCP Port 6789 on your network
firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service nzbget --permanent

# You can optionally expose your secure instance of NZBGet on TCP
# port 6791 as well if you want
firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service nzbget-secure --permanent

# Now reload your firewall to take on the new change:
firewall-cmd --reload

SABnzbd Usenet Solution

You can start it up with the command:

# Install SABnzbd from the Nuxref repository
sudo dnf install -y sabnzbd

# Add SABnzbd to the startup of your system
sudo systemctl enable sabnzbd.service

# Start it up now if you like too!
sudo systemctl start sabnzbd.service

You’ll now be able to access the web page through your browser accessing:
http://localhost:9080.

Here is a breakdown of how the custom SABnzbd package works:

  • All of your log files will show up in /var/log/sabnzbd/sabnzbd.log
  • All of configuration will get written to /etc/sabnzbd/sabnzbd.conf
  • All of the variable data (file processing, etc) will be located in /var/lib/sabnzbd/*. In fact this is a very important directory because unless you configure things differently, all downloaded content will appear in /var/lib/sabnzbd/complete.

To grant users on your system access to the data available through SABnzbd, simply just add them to the sabnzbd group:

# swap the USER with your username you want to add to the
# sabnzbd group:
sudo usermod -aG sabnzbd USER

Firewall Configuration

The package will provide you the files needed to set up the firewall and make SABnzbd available to you from other stations by simply doing the following:

# Assuming your network is set up to the `home` zone, the following
# sets you up to expose TCP Port 9080 on your network
firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service sabnzbd --permanent

# You can optionally expose your secure instance of SABnzbd on TCP
# port 9090 as well if you want
firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service sabnzbd-secure --permanent

# Now reload your firewall to take on the new change:
firewall-cmd --reload

SABnzbd Notifications

SABnzbd can keep you posted on what it’s doing by sending you emails when a download completes (or fails). But it’s not just emails it can use as a medium; it can be Gotify, Twitter, Telegram, Amazon SNS, Slack, etc.

To leverage the notification features, you just need to install the NZB-Notify Plugin:

# Install the notification plugin from the Nuxref repository
sudo dnf install -y sabnzbd-script-notify

To enable it, you simply need to need to access the Notifications tab from within the SABnzbd Configuration section.

SABnzbd Notification Setup
SABnzbd Notification Setup
  1. Select the Enable notification script checkbox
  2. Select the Notify.py script from the dropdown list next to the Script category
  3. Next to the Parameter category, you must specify the URL(s) identifying which service(s) you want to notify.Depending on what you want plan on alerting, the URL(s) you specify in the Parameter field will vary. You can get a better understanding of the URL options supported here.

NGinX Frontend

Regardless of what downloader you chose to setup from the instructions above, you should NEVER directly expose SABnzbd or NZBGet to the internet… EVER! ALWAYS uses some sort of proxy to bridge the internet from systems you run on your local network. NGinX (pronounced Engine-X) can solve this very thing for you. NginX is much more actively maintained and focuses entirely protecting your servers while allowing them to safely host their backend HTTP(S) solutions.

# Install NGinX and httpd-tools (if they're not there already)
sudo dnf install nginx httpd-tools

# Add nginx to the startup of your system
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

# Start it up now if you like too!
sudo systemctl start nginx.service

# Expose port 80 and port 443
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service http --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service https --permanent

# If you're installing NginX on the same server that you've installed
# SABnzbd or NGinX on, make sure you no longer expose the ports associated
# with them anymore:
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --remove-service nzbget --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --remove-service nzbget-secure --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --remove-service sabnzbd --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --remove-service sabnzbd-secure --permanent

# Now reload your firewall to take on the new change:
firewall-cmd --reload

Now add the following into your /etc/nginx/default.d/usenet.conf file:

   # NZBGet wrapper
   location /nzbget/ {
      proxy_pass   http://localhost:6789;
      proxy_cache  off;

      # Simple Security
      auth_basic            "Restricted Usenet Area";
      auth_basic_user_file  usenet.htpasswd;
   }

   # SABnzbd wrapper
   location /sabnzbd/ {
      proxy_pass   http://localhost:9080;
      proxy_cache  off;

      # Simple Security
      auth_basic            "Restricted Usenet Area";
      auth_basic_user_file  usenet.htpasswd;
   }

Now let’s set up a simple password file we can use to secure our content.

# Generate a password for the user 'usenet'.  You might want to
# switch this for your own name if you like:
sudo htpasswd -c /etc/nginx/usenet.htpasswd usenet

# you will be prompted to enter a password to associate with your
# new user.  Go ahead and provide one! :)

# You can generate more account if you want too; just remove the
# -c for future calls. e.g:
# sudo htpasswd  /etc/nginx/usenet.htpasswd user2

# It wouldn't hurt to just enhance the security associated with our
# new password file (for prying eyes):
chown root.nginx /etc/nginx/usenet.htpasswd
chmod 640 /etc/nginx/usenet.htpasswd

# You're almost done!
# Make sure your configuration won't break anything
nginx -t -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

# If the above passed okay, then it's safe to make your configuration
# live.
sudo systemctl reload nginx

Credit

Please note that this information took me several days to put together and test thoroughly. There was a tremendous effort put in place to make all versions of these programs compatible with all recent RPM based Linux distributions. I may not blog often; but I want to re-assure the stability and testing I put into everything I intend share.

If you like what you see and wish to copy and paste this HOWTO, please reference back to this blog post at the very least. It’s really all I ask.

Sources

Pan: A Useful NewsReader for Linux

Introduction

PAN is a newsreader that has been around for ages. It allows you to sift through the massive clutter that Usenet has become through its really fast interface loaded with tons of features!

It’s development died off way back in 2012, but recently it’s development has picked right back up again. Not only is this product feature rich and open source, but it’s written purely in C++ which makes it incredibly light weight (thus very, very fast). Some of the subtle product enhancements this product has seen in the past few months make it worthy to be in the spot light again.

So What Can It Do?

  • Header Caching: Tell it the group(s) you want and how much of it you want to see and it will download the headers it retrieves to a local cache file. This is awesome because now you can sift through this content offline.
    Cache Headers
    Cache Headers
  • Header Scoring: You can flag key aspects of articles with a score. By default every header retrieved has a score of zero (0) unless you start dabbling in this area.

    Anything that scores less than (or equal to) -9999 can be configured to not list itself at all. Some well set scores can greatly clean up your ability to locate content in groups.

    You can score content higher and/or lower based on the posts author, subject, size, age, etc. You can even apply scoring through regular expressions too!

    Scoring is very powerful when used properly! I’ll talk about it again a bit later in this blog once you’ve gotten set up. But if we were to apply scoring to the previous screenshot (above), it might look like this (all garbage cleaned up and content prioritized with color coding too):

    Header Scoring
    Header Scoring
  • Multiple Server Support: Got a block account? No problem, you can add it as a secondary server and only pull from it if the Primary one is unavailable.
  • NZB-File Support: The treasure maps of Usenet can be loaded into Pan too and downloaded through it. True automation of these come through systems like NZBGet and SABnzbd, but it’s still worth knowing that not only is this a newsreader, but it can pass as a downloader as well!
  • Concurrent Connections: Like any great browser/downloader of any system; files are retrieve concurrently. This means that you can just keep browsing and tagging content of interest seamlessly without interruptions.
  • Header Compression Support: One of the new enhancements surfaced with the new development of this project. This makes a world of difference when retrieving hundreds of thousands of headers from a Usenet group. Enabling this feature along (if your Usenet provider supports it) will greatly reduce wait times!

Pan’s Disabled Features

The features page on PANs website explains about a parent company (called ChimPanXi) that tries to sell this free product with added functionality. I guess the deal they have with the developers is to just disable a few features so that they can be re-enabled them the paid version (purely speculation)?

But since the (Pan) code is open source, the options are right there in front of us but just disabled. Quite honestly… of all this disabled functionality, only one is truly worth pointing out: Pan restricts you to just 4 allowable concurrent connections to your Usenet provider at a time. Here is a small patch I created which increases this number to 99. The build I provide in this blog already has this patch applied. Here are the rest of the missing features (with some of my comments as well); maybe some might see value in the others?

Pans Missing Features
Pans Missing Features

The Goods

For those hooked up to my repository are already set, just type the following:

# install the new version of Pan
yum install pan --enablerepo=nuxref

You can also reference this table too for direct links:

Package Download Description
pan el7.rpm, fc22.rpm, fc23.rpm, fc24.rpm, fc25.rpm The Newsreader: This is the program that this blog focuses on.

Note: The source rpm can be obtained here which builds everything you see in the table above. It’s not required for the application to run, but might be useful for developers or those who want to inspect how I put the package together.

It’s also worth noting (again) that this build includes a small patch to increase the maximum allowable number of concurrent connections from 4 to 99.

Securing Your Connection

There is very little security built into Pan from a connection point of view. What little security is (normally) in place is built using GnuTLS. GnuTLS has a history of not keeping up with the security exploits and vulnerabilities that surface with encryption libraries. It doesn’t make it unsafe; it just doesn’t make it as reliable as it’s competition (OpenSSL and Crypto). For this reason the packages I provide are intentionally not built against it (GnuTLS).

It’s really not a problem at the end of the day because there are other ways of securing this connection (properly). The way I use (and recommend) is through Stunnel.

Stunnel allows you to take an unencrypted input (from Pan) and connect it to a secure connected one (at your Usenet provider). The best thing about stunnel is that it links to your (OpenSSL) shared system libraries libssl.so and libcrypto.so which are actively maintained and patched! Basically what I’m saying is by attaching Pan to Stunnel: you get the feature rich usage of Pan and the ongoing (reliable) security of OpenSSL.

The following will get you set up with stunnel; you’ll want to be root before running the command below:

# Install stunnel (if it's not installed already)
# you'll need to be connected to either EPEL or NuxRef for this
# to work:
yum install stunnel

You can also reference this table too for direct links:

Package Download Description
stunnel el7.rpm, fc22.rpm, fc23.rpm, fc24.rpm, fc25.rpm Secure Tunnel: for data encryption.

Note: This RPM is not required by PAN to run correctly. It does however offer you a safer and more secure method of encrypting your communication to (and from) your NNTP Server.
# You must have root permissions when setting up
# stunnel

# Create relay bound to local server only (semi-colons are for
# comments):
cat << _EOF > /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf
; Use it for client mode
; This is the pass through mode you need to encrypted
; your NNTP traffic:
client = yes
 
[nntp]
;
; --- IN ---
;
; local port to listen on (on this PC)
; You will configure PAN to connect here:
accept = 127.0.0.1:119

;
; --- OUT ---
;
; The Remote Usenet Server's (encrypted) connection to use:
; In this example, I'm just pointing to Astraweb, but you
; can provide any Usenet server you wish here. Just be sure
; to point it to their secure transport point!
connect = ssl.astraweb.com:563
_EOF

# This line below is useless, but it allows you revisit this blog
# entry and continue and copy and paste these instructions at a later
# time. The line removes any previous entries set to prevent the
# creation of duplicate entries  in your startup file at another time
# It's harmless to run at any point:
sed -i -e '/bin\/stunnel/d' /etc/rc.d/rc.local

# Configure stunnel to start after each boot
echo "# Start /usr/bin/stunnel on boot each time:" >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local
echo "/usr/bin/stunnel" >> /etc/rc.d/rc.local

# By default stunnel is configured to read 
# it's configuration from /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf
# on startup:
stunnel

The next step is to update your PAN server configuration to point to your local server (localhost or 127.0.0.1) instead of the remote one you’re accessing. Make sure to set the port to 119 too like so:

Stunnel Pan Configuration
Stunnel Pan Configuration

You’ll provide the same username and password you would have otherwise provided to your Usenet provider.

The end result is a secure connection between you and your Usenet provider like so:
Pan Setup With Stunnel

Scoring

Scoring articles can greatly ease your life when looking through all of the headers in front of you; it’s great for:

  • Eliminating SPAM
  • Filtering out potential malicious content (such as Trojans and Viruses)
  • Increasing the visibility of items of interest
  • Locating Authors of interest with ease

All scores can be optionally associated with a time limit too. When the limit expires, so does the score. This is useful when you only want to temporarily filter content. Otherwise the permanent scores will make up most of your configuration. To add a score, simply click Articles > Add a Scoring Rule…

Add Scoring Rule
Add a Scoring Rule

Here is an example of a rule you might add; this one greatly reduces the score of all entries that have potentially dangerous file extensions in the subject line:

Block Potentially Malicious Content
Block Potentially Malicious Content

Pan’s built in filter field allows you to sift through all of the articles you found with keywords. Pairing this functionality with the scoring one really shows off the power of Pan.

All created scores are kept in ~/.pan2/Scores so don’t worry if you mess one up. You can just as easily open this file and fix it. Any manual changes to this file will however require you to exit out of Pan (if it’s open) and restart it.

Here is just a few entries of what you might have in your Score file:

%BOS
% Greatly reduce score of potentially malicious content
[alt.bin*]
Score:: -9999
Subject: .*\.(exe|bat|vbs|cpl|msi|scr|vb(script)?|ws(f|h))[^A-Za-z0-9].*
%EOS

%BOS
% Moderately increase the score of compressed content
[alt.bin*]
Score:: 2500
Subject: .*\.(z(ip|[0-9]{2})|r(ar|[0-9]{2})|7z|iso)[^A-Za-z0-9]([0-9]{3}[^A-Za-z0-9])?.*
%EOS

%BOS
% Very slightly decrease the content of PAR content
% This allows it to not quite have the same spot light as
% the item it matches up against. If it were a compressed file
% it would already have +2500 from the previous score entry
% identified above.  These will just sit at +2400 instead.
[alt.bin*]
Score:: -100
Subject: .*(\.vol[0-9]+\+[0-9]+)?\.(par2|sfv)[^A-Za-z0-9].*
%EOS

%BOS
% Very slightly increase the score of NZB-Files
[alt.bin*]
Score:: 250
Subject: .*\.(nzb)[^A-Za-z0-9].*
%EOS 

%BOS
% Mildly drop the score of cross-posted content
[alt.bin*]
Score:: -750
Xref: (.*:){2} % cross-posted to 2 or more groups 
%EOS

Wrapping It Up

I’m certainly not asking anyone to change from their existing system if it works for them. What I am pointing out though is that Pan is completely free, it’s open source and the features it offers are comparable (if not better) than all of it’s competition. Although it works great on Linux, it also works on many other platforms as well such as Microsoft and Apple.

It might not have a beautiful interface, but it wasn’t built to fill your systems memory with bloated eye candy. It was built to be fast and effective… and truly, it really is.

The newer versions coming out are really great! If you haven’t given it a try since it’s dated ones, you really should! If you’re interested in seeing how Usenet is structured, than this is also a great tool to learn with. If you run an indexer (such as newznab or the many forks of it) you can practice your regular expressions (regexs) using Pan. For an Indexer Admin, this tool is especially great in debugging your regexs!

Credit

This blog took me a very long time to put together and test! The repository hosting alone accommodates all my blog entries up to this date. All of the custom packaging described here was done by me personally. I took the open source available to me and rebuilt it to make it an easier solution and decided to share it. If you like what you see and wish to copy and paste this HOWTO, please reference back to this blog post at the very least. It’s really all I ask.

Sources