batch - Process mailboxes into newsgroups


batch [ -x ]


Batch is used by a site that serves as the central distribution point for a ProLine-based newsgroup. Batch takes messages that accumulate in mailbox files and converts them into newsgroup bundles stored in $spool/news. The bundles are further processed by rnews and postnews for distribution and local posting. To avoid additional processing, use the -x flag which causes batch to simply exit when it is done.

Batch finds newsgroup mailboxes by scanning through the $/etc/newsys file and matching them to mailboxes that exist in $/sys/mail. The mailbox names are defined in your sendmail aliases file ($/etc/aliases). Example:

pro-news-groups: pro-comp-mac-networking: ~p.c.m.networkin

This sample from $/etc/aliases gives posting aliases for the groups and pro.comp.mac.networking. Next to each alias is the name of the mailbox file. Mailboxes are designated as such by the use of the tilde character (see aliases(NET) for details). Mailbox names must agree with the naming conventions of the operating system. So they must start with a letter and be no more than 15 characters in length.

In addition, mailbox names must match the newsgroup aliases defined in the $/etc/newsys file. Newsys entries for the above aliases would be:

pro.comp.mac.networking=p.c.m.networkin #D Macintosh networking discussion group #L mac/networking pro-sat!rnews, pro-finders!rnews #D Discussion about ProLine newsgroups #L pronews/groups

Notice the alias assigned to pro.comp.mac.networking — p.c.m.networkin — it matches the mailbox name given in $/etc/aliases. These must be identical for batch to find news mailboxes to process. If the formal newsgroup name is legal (15 characters or less and agrees with the operating system), like, no newsys aliasing is necessary. See rnews(NET) for more details.

Batch should be called regularly via a crontab entry in order to process any mail that comes in. Unless the -x flag is used, batch invokes unbatch or rnews as appropriate to complete all processing and distribution of news.

Steps for Originating a Newsgroup

Understand that batch is used only to originate a ProLine newsgroup. You don’t need to use batch if you only receive newsgroups from other sites (that’s what unbatch is for).


Before starting a new group for distribution throughout the ProLine network (including USENET), you must first post a formal proposal for the group in Do not continue with these steps until your proposal is accepted and you’re authorized to proceed.


Create an alias in your $/etc/aliases file so users can send mail to the group. Posting address are identical to the formal newsgroup name, except dashes replace the periods. Thus, to post a message to, you send e-mail to


The mail alias points to a mailbox file (as described above).


Add an entry for the newsgroup in your $/etc/newsys file.


Add the batch command to your $/etc/crontab file.


newsgroup description file,
news processing log,
spool area for newsgroup bundles,
mailbox files.

See Also

aliases(NET), unbatch(NET), rnews(NET), postnews(NET)


Morgan Davis (