Netnews Standards

Netnews is the generic name for the article format and protocols that underly the Usenet discussion network. Properly speaking, Usenet is the name of a specific world-wide distributed implementation of the Netnews protocols, and other uses of the protocols for private groups are not Usenet. In practice, people rarely make the distinction.

The information here copies information also available from the IETF Internet-Draft Archive Tool, but focuses only on RFCs related to Netnews.

Follow the IETF link for each draft to see all historic versions available from the IETF archive and diffs between versions. Historic drafts leading up to recent RFCs are also available in my draft archive.

Netnews articles are normally transferred via NNTP. For the standards that define the NNTP protocol, see my NNTP standards page.

Core Protocol

The following standards-track RFCs describe the basic article format and Netnews protocols.

RFC 5536: Netnews Article Format (70KB) (errata)

This document specifies the syntax of Netnews articles in the context of the Internet Message Format (RFC 5322) and Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) (RFC 2045). This document obsoletes RFC 1036, providing an updated specification to reflect current practice and incorporating incremental changes specified in other documents.

IETF draft archive

RFC 5537: Netnews Architecture and Protocols (118KB) (errata)

This document defines the architecture of Netnews systems and specifies the correct manipulation and interpretation of Netnews articles by software that originates, distributes, stores, and displays them. It also specifies the requirements that must be met by any protocol used to transport and serve Netnews articles.

IETF draft archive

Additional Netnews Protocols

RFC 8315: Cancel-Locks in Netnews Articles (41KB) (errata)

This document defines an extension to the Netnews Article Format that may be used to authenticate the withdrawal of existing articles.

IETF draft archive

Related Standards

RFC 2045: MIME: Format of Internet Message Bodies (71KB) (errata)

This set of documents, collectively called the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, or MIME, redefines the format of messages to allow for textual message bodies in character sets other than US-ASCII, an extensible set of different formats for non-textual message bodies, multi-part message bodies, and textual header information in character sets other than US-ASCII. This initial document specifies the various headers used to describe the structure of MIME messages.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2046: MIME: Media Types (103KB) (errata)

This document defines the general structure of the MIME media typing system and defines an initial set of media types.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2047: MIME: Message Header Extensions for Non-ASCII Text (32KB) (errata)

This document describes extensions to RFC 822 to allow non-US-ASCII text data in Internet mail header fields.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2049: MIME Part Five: Conformance Criteria and Examples (50KB) (errata)

This document describes MIME conformance criteria as well as providing some illustrative examples of MIME message formats, acknowledgements, and the bibliography.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2183: Communicating Presentation Information in Internet Messages (23KB) (errata)

This memo provides a mechanism whereby messages conforming to the MIME specifications [RFC 2045, RFC 2046, RFC 2047, RFC 2048, RFC 2049] can convey presentational information. It specifies the "Content-Disposition" header field, which is optional and valid for any MIME entity ("message" or "body part"). Two values for this header field are described in this memo; one for the ordinary linear presentation of the body part, and another to facilitate the use of mail to transfer files. It is expected that more values will be defined in the future, and procedures are defined for extending this set of values.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2231: MIME Parameter Value and Encoded Word Extensions (19KB) (errata)

This document defines extensions to the RFC 2045 media type and RFC 2183 disposition parameter value mechanisms to provide a means to specify parameter values in character sets other than US-ASCII, to specify the language to be used should the value be displayed, and a continuation mechanism for long parameter values to avoid problems with header line wrapping. This memo also defines an extension to the encoded words defined in RFC 2047 to allow the specification of the language to be used for display as well as the character set.

IETF draft archive

RFC 3282: Content Language Headers (14KB) (errata)

This document defines a "Content-language:" header, for use in cases where one desires to indicate the language of something that has RFC 822-like headers, like MIME body parts or Web documents, and an "Accept-Language:" header for use in cases where one wishes to indicate one's preferences with regard to language.

IETF draft archive

RFC 3676: The Text/Plain Format and DelSp Parameters (41KB) (errata)

This specification establishes two parameters (Format and DelSP) to be used with the Text/Plain media type. In the presence of these parameters, trailing whitespace is used to indicate flowed lines and a canonical quote indicator is used to indicate quoted lines. This results in an encoding which appears as normal Text/Plain in older implementations, since it is in fact normal Text/Plain, yet provides for superior wrapping/flowing, and quoting.

This document supersedes the one specified in RFC 2646, "The Text/Plain Format Parameter", and adds the DelSp parameter to accommodate languages/coded character sets in which ASCII spaces are not used or appear rarely.

Interesting for Netnews partly because it contains the only description of the Netnews signature delimiter convention in an RFC that I know of apart from the one in RFC 1849 (Historic).

IETF draft archive

RFC 3864: Registration Procedures for Message Header Fields (35KB) (errata)

This specification defines registration procedures for the message header fields used by Internet mail, HTTP, Netnews and other applications.

IETF draft archive

RFC 4289: MIME Part Four: Registration Procedures (21KB) (errata)

This document specifies IANA registration procedures for MIME external body access types and content-transfer-encodings.

IETF draft archive

RFC 5064: The Archived-At Message Header Field (20KB) (errata)

This memo defines a new email header field, Archived-At:, to provide a direct link to the archived form of an individual email message.

This header field is valid for Netnews as well under the general principle that Netnews and email largely share the same format, and nothing about it obviously rules out using it for Netnews as well, but I'm not aware of any implementations in Netnews.

IETF draft archive

RFC 5322: Internet Message Format (119KB) (errata)

This document specifies the Internet Message Format (IMF), a syntax for text messages that are sent between computer users, within the framework of "electronic mail" messages. This specification is a revision of Request For Comments (RFC) 2822, which itself superseded Request For Comments (RFC) 822, "Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text Messages", updating it to reflect current practice and incorporating incremental changes that were specified in other RFCs.

IETF draft archive

RFC 6838: Media Type Specifications and Registration Procedures (71KB) (errata)

This document defines procedures for the specification and registration of media types for use in HTTP, MIME, and other Internet protocols.

IETF draft archive

RFC 7259: The Jabber-ID Header Field (13KB) (errata)

This document defines a header field that enables the author of an email or netnews message to include a Jabber ID in the message header block for the purpose of associating the author with a particular Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) address.

IETF draft archive

Obsolete Standards

RFC 850: Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages (42KB) (errata)

This was the original Usenet standard. It documents the so-called "B News" format, the format implemented by the B news software. It includes both the article format standard and the original standard for transmission of articles using UUCP or e-mail, including rnews batching. It was obsoleted by RFC 1036 and is now of only historical interest.

IETF draft archive

RFC 1036: Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages (45KB) (errata)

This document defines the standard format for the interchange of network News messages among USENET hosts. It updates and replaces RFC-850, reflecting version B2.11 of the News program. It was not standards-track. It based the format of Netnews messages on RFC 822 (the current standard for mail messages at the time).

IETF draft archive

RFC 1849: "Son of 1036": News Article Format and Transmission (253KB) (errata)

By the early 1990s, it had become clear that RFC 1036, then the specification for the Interchange of USENET Messages, was badly in need of repair. This "Internet-Draft-to-be", though never formally published at that time, was widely circulated and became the de facto standard for implementors of News Servers and User Agents, rapidly acquiring the nickname "Son of 1036". Indeed, under that name, it could fairly be described as the best-known Internet Draft (n)ever published, and it formed the starting point for the recently adopted Proposed Standards for Netnews.

IETF draft archive

RFC 2048: MIME Part Four: Registration Procedures (44KB) (errata)

This document specifies various IANA registration procedures for the following MIME facilities: media types, external body access types, and content-transfer-encodings. Registration of character sets for use in MIME is covered elsewhere and is no longer addressed by this document.

This was obsoleted by RFC 4288, which in turn was obsoleted by RFC 6838. It's included on this page mostly because otherwise there's an odd gap in the five consecutive base MIME standards.

IETF draft archive

RFC 4288: Media Type Specifications and Registration Procedures (51KB) (errata)

This document defines procedures for the specification and registration of media types for use in MIME and other Internet protocols.

Obsoleted by RFC 6838.

IETF draft archive

Last spun 2021-09-25 from thread modified 2021-07-24