Binary newsgroups

Some newsgroups are primarily devoted to the exchange of graphic (picture) files or other binary files (such as programs). Newsgroups which were not established for this purpose usually frown on having binary files posted!
Although binary files can also include software programs, word processor files, and/or other file in a binary format, these discussions will assume a graphic file. Other file formats are handled in a similar fashion.
Articles in the binary newsgroups like comp.binaries and*** are "encoded". The graphic images or programs which are in a 'binary format' have been translated into ASCII format, so they can be posted. To view these images you have to "decode" the postings.

At one time the standard encoding was called "uuencode" and you needed a software utility (uuencode) to prepare a file for transmission and a program called "UUdecode"' to extract the binary file. Now there are several different encoding methods including "base64" and "Binhex" (originally a Macintosh format). In some instances one program can be used to encode or decode several file formats.

The CCN Public Download Area [go pda] has links to several utilities that can be used to decode binary files.

Viewing Graphic Files

To view a graphic file you must first save the message or messages (some files are separated into several messages). Some newsreaders save messages in a subdirectory of your personal home directory called News/.

Save the File(s)

After saving the message you must download (*) the file(s) to your home system.

Decode the File

On your home system, use a utility program to decode the binary file. Some decoders are smart enough to combine several files to re-create the original image.

Viewing the Image

After the image has been decoded, you will need a viewer to view the image. Just select the article you're interested in, and press "s" for save. This will save it to the News/ directory in your home directory.

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