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Subject: Welcome to alt.sources! (biweekly posting)

This article was archived around: 11 Dec 2009 05:18:53 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: Root Directory
All FAQs posted in: alt.sources, alt.sources.d
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Archive-name: alt-sources-intro Submitted-by: ocl@gih.com (Olivier M.J. Crepin-Leblond) Version: $Id: alt-sources-intro,v 1.18 2008/06/17 01:36:43 ocl Exp $ Original-Author: jik@security.ov.com (Jonathan I. Kamens)
What is alt.sources for? The alt.sources newsgroup is intended to be a repository for source-code of all sorts that people wish to distribute and share with other people. There are no restrictions on the type of source code you can post here -- any machine, any language, any purpose. A common reason to post to alt.sources is when you are posting a useful bit of source code to some other newsgroup, and you think that it might prove useful to other people in the future, in which case you can cross-post it here. Please note that alt.sources IS NOT for requests for source code; the alt.sources.wanted newsgroup is for that. Alt.sources IS NOT for comments and discussion about source code, even source code posted in alt.sources; the alt.sources.d newsgroup is for that. Only source code should be posted to alt.sources. Posting material in alt.sources that is not human readable is discouraged. For example, shar archives are preferred to compressed, uuencoded tar files. Furthermore, the posting of machine-specific executables in alt.sources is HIGHLY discouraged. Is alt.sources moderated ? No. alt.sources is unmoderated. There have been times when there were calls for retro-moderation to cancel inappropriate postings like spam, but these never materialized. In true USENET spirit, it is hoped that posters moderate themselves. Why post to alt.sources? Since alt.sources is unmoderated, your source code will be distributed throughout the USENET (or, at least, the portion of the USENET that receives alt.sources) immediately, without having to wait for a moderator's approval, like you have to do for some of the other source newsgroups. Furthermore, alt.sources is archived at quite a few anonymous ftp and mail server archive sites, so people will be able to get your software from the archives after you've posted it, rather than having to ask you to mail it to them. Finally, you might have a bit of source code that is really too small to submit as a package to one of the other major source newsgroups. That's the kind of things that shows up a lot in alt.sources. Why post to somewhere besides alt.sources? Alt.sources isn't as widely propagated as the source newsgroups in the "comp" hierarchy, since more sites tend to get "comp" than "alt". Therefore, if you want your source code to have as wide a distribution as possible, you might want to use one of the "comp" newsgroups. The alt.sources archives tend to be less well-organized than the archives of the other source newsgroups, because they are usually maintained automatically rather than by hand, and because non-source postings are often interspersed with the source postings in the archive. Furthermore, many of the other source newsgroups are available at many more archive sites than alt.sources. Therefore, if you want people to be able to find your program really easily, alt.sources may not be the best place to post it. What format should alt.sources postings have? Because alt.sources is unmoderated, the format your postings take is up to you. However, there are certain basic guidelines which, if followed, make alt.sources a more productive newsgroup for everyone: 1) Choose a good subject line for your posting that describes accurately what it contains. Many alt.sources archive sites generate their indices of the newsgroup from the subject lines of the postings in it, so try to make sure that there are relevant keywords in your subject that people can search for when looking for your source code later. 2) Put a Followup-To: header line in your posting which directs followups somewhere other than alt.sources. This is especially important if you cross-post your alt.sources posting from some other newsgroup, because people will often respond to the posting in that newsgroup without realizing it was cross-posted to alt.sources. 3) At the top of your posting, separated from the main header of the posting by a blank line, put something that looks like this: Archive-name: name Submitted-by: joe@bloggs.com The "name" on the first line should be a short one-word string that can serve as a "tag" for the package. If your program has a somewhat unique name, you can just use the name of the program as the archive name. If you are posting a patch to a previously posted bit of source code, you would do something like "name/patchN", where N is the number of the patch. If you post source code in multiple parts, do "name/part1", "name/part2", etc. The second line should contain a return mail address for you. This informational header (note that it is an auxiliary header, in the body of the posting, NOT part of the main message header) is used by some automatic archiving software to maintain alt.sources archives automatically. There are other useful fields you may want to put in the auxiliary header; if you are curious, see the documentation for the "rkive" program in the comp.sources.misc archives to find out what they are. 4) Make sure to mention, near the top of your posting (or near the top of your first posting, if you are posting a multi-posting package), exactly what the package is. If there is a README file, either include that at the top or (if you are using shar) make it the first thing in the first shar file. People should not have to search through the entire package just to figure out what it is. Where is alt.sources archived? See the article entitled "How to find sources (READ THIS BEFORE POSTING)" in alt.sources.wanted and comp.sources.wanted to find out how to search through the alt.sources archives and how to retrieve source code from the various archive sites. In general, alt.sources archives can be found in many places amongst which: ftp://ftp.fi.netbsd.org/pub/archive/alt.sources/ http://groups.google.com/group/alt.sources/topics <--- recommended Please note that this is a non-exhaustive list. A search for "alt.sources archive" on any good search engine will point you to the right direction. Are the sources available elsewhere? This question was answered by: Victor Volkman <sysop@HAL9K.com>, CUG Acquisitions. Ed.: "The C Users Group wishes to further the distribution of alt.sources types of material to a wider audience. Since 1984, we had been distributing diskettes and CD-ROMs of C source code at very low costs. Today, we use the Internet to distribute all sources for free at: http://planetmirror.com/pub/cug/ Archives cover all major platforms including: Atari, Amiga, Mac, PC (DOS and Windows), Sun, and most Unix machines. Material contributed to the CUG may also be published in the C Users Journal monthly. Please send mail to sysop@HAL9K.com if you would like your alt.sources code to be considered for the CUG. Also check: http://www.HAL9K.com/cug " [Please note that I have no links to the CUG whatsoever - OCL] Doesn't this introductory posting violate the guidelines outlined above? Yes. This posting is not a source-code posting, and therefore shouldn't really appear in alt.sources. However, the problem of non-source postings and source postings without auxiliary headers appearing in this newsgroup is severe enough that I hope to reduce it by posting this message. Other source newsgroups have similar introductory postings, posted by their moderators. No, I am not the "moderator" of alt.sources. I repeat, there is none. I have taken over the posting of this message since the early 1990s and it is being posted automagically by the FAQ server at MIT. There are probably people who think the guidelines I've mentioned above are wrong. If you think there's something wrong with this posting, please tell me about it, either by sending me an E-mail. Although there may be specific things in this posting that people disagree with, I think that I am, in general, outlining the consensus of the alt.sources community. However, if a sufficient number of people (let's say five or more) send me E-mail and tell me that they think I'm completely off base and shouldn't be posting this message at all, I'll put it to some sort of vote and see what the consensus is that way. Comments about, suggestions about or corrections to this posting are welcomed. If you would like to ask me to change this posting in some way, the method I appreciate most is for you to actually make the desired modifications to a copy of the posting, and then to send me the modified posting, or a context diff between my posted version and your modified version (if you do the latter, make sure to include in your mail the "Version:" line from my posted version). Submitting changes in this way makes dealing with them easier for me and helps to avoid misunderstandings about what you are suggesting. -- Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond, Ph.D. |--> Global Information Highway Limited http://www.gih.com/ocl.html | E-mail: <ocl@gih.com>