Chapter 13. Deploying NNTP Discussion Servers

Conferencing, the core groupware application, works most effectively across a range of collaborative scopes. Chapter 4, shows why it’s useful to deploy conferencing at departmental, corporate, and global scopes. Now we’ll explore how to do that.

Traditionally, the setup and administration of news servers was a black art practiced exclusively by the wizards who run newsfeeds for large companies and Internet service providers. It’s true that managing a full Usenet feed is a complex task and an ongoing challenge. But when you run a standalone news server that doesn’t need to connect to the Usenet and doesn’t need to expire articles, things get a whole lot simpler. In this mode, an NNTP server works as a dedicated conferencing system. Deployed on a LAN, an intranet, an extranet, or the Internet, it can provide discussion services to anyone running a standard Internet client.

Let’s define a deployment scenario. Earlier examples in this book have revolved around a team of analysts who write and publish reports. Let’s locate these analysts in a fictitious company—the Ronin Group—that requires the following modes of conferencing:

The analysts’ think tank

This set of newsgroups will be a place for analysts to discuss work in progress and share research data. Some of this information needs to be hidden, not only from the world at large, but also from participants in other internal newsgroups.

The sales lounge

This set of newsgroups serves the ...

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