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RFC 2980: There is presently a MAJOR incompatibility between NNTP and...

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Comment by Steve Richfield
Submitted on 12/8/2004
Related RFC: RFC 2980
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There is presently a MAJOR incompatibility between NNTP and satellite communication. The lockstep nature of the NNTP protocol slows transfer down to antique electromechanical teletype speeds when half second delays are introduced.RFC 2980 section 1.2.1 specifies a MODE STREAM command that could potentially address this problem, but the description is SO bad that it isn't clear if it is supposed to work for more than just the CHECK and TAKETHIS commands.If indeed MODE STREAM worked for ALL commands, then a client could just firehose their commands in, and then a half second later start picking through the replies to see what became of their commands.That is, if authentication weren't allowed at just ANY time. Since the standard allows authentication at ANY time, implementing a firehose approach could simply get thousands of error messages in return. Clearly there needs to be some reasonable limitations to just when a login can occur, and recur.Presently, authentications often discard the command that triggered them. The standard should address the issue of lost commands, i.e. just what should be done. If MODE STREAM is to be made to work in the presence of authentication, then probably the best solution would be to buffer unexecuted commands while awaiting authentication, and then execute the buffered commands once authentication is successful, at least in the MODE STREAM mode of operation. Since the MODE STREAM is (apparently) not presently being used by client programs at all, any way you define it should not break anything, so some artful specsmanship should solve the problem of high speed NNTP via satellite.Steve Richfie1dSteve@smart-life.net

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