yEnc - User questions and FAQ.
Forte (free) Agent
Forte Agent does support yEnc in their release 1.91. (some notes are here)
If you are using an older release of Agent then you can get a
free update at their site.
Support of yEnc for the Free Agent has been
announced for a later version.
Freqently asked questions (FAQ)
These answers are my very personal answers from my own point
Why are so many people using yEnc for posting now ?
- yEnc saves them time, money and bandwidth.
My newsreader does not recognize yEncoded posts - what
should I do ?
- Store the yEncoded messages to disk and use an external
yDecoder. (see also above: 'Outlook Express')
- Check if an upgrade is available. Most newsreaders will
support yEnc soon (or do it already).
- You can also switch to a news-reader which supports it.
There is a list of tools which already support yEnc.
- You can send a feature request to the creator of the
news-reader (not me).
I dont want that yEnc stuff - how can I get rid of it
- yEncoded messages contain the keyword 'yenc' in the
subject line. Your newsreader offers a "filter"
to hide this content.
- Continue to post in UUencoded form
- Ask the the regular contributers to switch back to
UUencode. Give them a free posting account.
People are reposting yEncoded stuff in UUencoded form.
Isn't this also waste of bandwidth ?
- Most stuff is reposted on Usenet sooner or later. :-)
- A lot of stuff is also reposted as MPEG, DivX-AVI, MOV.
- There is a phase of "transition" for all
changes. Use of RAR files, use of PAR files, use of ACE,
use of CD-image files. Today you have to upgrade your
toolsbox every month. yEnc is the first change on
Usenet-transmission for >6 yeras now. And it is the
only one which reduces traffic.
- It seems that every group is having this effect. But
those groups who started early did either discard yEnc -
or they are now used to it. This is a transitional
- If some people repost yEncoded stuff in UUencode all the
time then stop them - or stop the contributor from using
yEnc will make people posting more and more. Isn't
this also waste of bandwidth ?
- Most groups are having a volume restriction (perhaps 75
MB/day/poster). They calculate this on the size of the
binary - not on the size of the encoded message. The
volume will be lower in these groups now.
- Most contributors are posting a specific amount of
material per day: 20/50 pictures. One CD in MP3 format.
One Video. yEnc does not offer 50 percent savings, so
they wont have the saving for doubling their posts. And
source material does not grow on the trees. It is
time-consuming to prepare a good post. This time is _not_
reduced by yEnc.
- Usenet is getting more and more expensive. Neticens have
to pay for the volume they download. Those who contribute
are happy about the savings - and will stick at their
- Some people are always posting at the maximum limit of
their bandwidth. They are flooding newsgroups. You see
them every day - especially if such people get a new DSL
line instead of their old 56k modem. Usenet was always
able to handle these persons appropriately.
Why are yEncoded messages sometimes badly distributed
(incomplete) on Usenet ?
- yEnc is using longer lines than UUencode or MIME. Ask the
posters to reduce the size of multiparts by 50% (exactly:
Use 4600 lines instead of 10000 lines, Use 2300 lines
instead of 5000 lines.
- Some news-servers are actually changing their
spam-filters because some of them recognize yEnc as spam.
Then the spam-filters are deleting messages. This will be
Why are so many yEncoded messages corrupt ?
- Unfortunately some of the first programs create
malformatted yEncoded messages. Some did add an invalid
validity code (CRC-check). Ask the posters to use the
latest revision of these programs. Most bugs have been
fixed in the last weeks. This issue is solved and will
- There are corrupt messages on Usenet all
the time. And it could be expected that the number of
corrupt posts would grow. Hardware is getting older and
unreliable. There are more and more server involved in
the news-transport. Any failure on one of them can cause
corruption. This a unique Usenet problem -and now finally
In former times you did recognize corrupt binaries only
if a CRC-checks (CSV-checker, SFV-checker) showed you
that the binary was incorrect. Or the RAR/ZIP programs
show that there is a CRC-check-failure. Or a movie does
not play or does stop in the middle.
yEnc capable newsreader are checking every single message
for corruption - and they issue a warning whenever a
message is not OK.
What to do if a message is corrupt ?
- Modern multi-host-news-readers might offer a feature to
reload the message from another server - where it is
- Ask the sender to repost just this one message - not a
whole binary when it is splitted into 50 pieces. Delete
the old corrupt message and try the reposted version.
- Use eMail or P2P-News (MyNews) to get the corrupt message
from someone who has it intact.
- Dont bother your news-admin. They dont care yet about
corruption. And if they will then they will have their
own methods to deal with corrupt messages.
Some text-messages contain =ybegin =yend and confuse
my newsreader. What to do ?
- Some people believe that it is funny to use the yEnc
token to confuse others. They are specific kinds of
trolls who also use begin and end for the same purpose.
The usual rules how to handle "trolling"
applies. First rule: "Dont feed the the troll"
:-) Second rule: PLONK.
Does yEnc damage the Usenet ?
- No - a lot of tests have shown that Usenet can properly
handle yEncoded messages. However there might exist
software which cannot handle yEnc.
- Moderated binary newsgroups are using mail-transport for
the messages. Be sure to start slowly and make a few
tests before you start posting yEncoded to moderated
newsgroups. If it does not work then stay with UUencode.
This applies only to a few moderatedpicture newsgroups.
Is my NSP responsible for the correctness of yEncoded
- No - there is no "formal standard" for yEnc.
- No - corruption could happen anywhere on Usenet.
- If everybody on Usenet is receiving the messages
correctly - and you are the only one with problems then
first check your tools.
- There are a few news-servers which are known for offering
often corrupt messages. Dont use them.
- The NSP could detect corrupt messages the same way you
can do it. But this requires scanning GIGS of messages
- Perhaps one day some NSPs will try to find out the
sources for corruption - and eliminate them. yEnc can be
a debug tool for them.
Using yEnc is considered to be abused by my NSP or
newsgroup. What should I do ?
- Stop using yEnc
- Visit newsgroups which accept it.
- Change your NSP.
I believe that yEnc could be far better. Who reads my
- Read the actual drafts and notes - perhaps your proposal
is already included as proposal for the next version of
- Feel free to discuss your proposals in the newsgroup:
news.software.nntp or on the developers mailing list
- Send your proposal to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now some very subjective questions and
Some people say the yEnc is badly designed and was
rushed without proper discussion. Is this right ?
- This depends on your point of view:
- If you believe that a "good design" is
published as a RFC, a proper document, solves all
problems of the world - then they are right.
- If you believe that a "good design"
concentrates on targets, respects existing
infrastructure, is usable from the beginning - then they
- yEnc was discussed for more than 8 months.
Will there be a better designed yEnc (or a better
- There are people who know what a "good design"
is - and they are discussing "good designs" for
more than 8 years now. Unfortunately these people are not
interested in the Binary Usenet. Some of them even hate
it. So there is no chance to get a really "good
design" from them.
- All "better designed" encoding formats require
that all news-software in the world is modified. The
chances are zero-dot-zero.
- Perhaps a yEnc-V2 is released anytime in the future.
Some people say that yEnc should be a part of MIME.
Why did you not respect MIME ?
- MIME has never been developed for transporting binaries
efficiently. Changing MIME is a heros job. And I am not a
- MIME explicitely discourages this - and it would be even
necessary to break MIME rules.
- If an encoding would break MIME rules _then_ it would be
really badly designed!
- MIME is badly implemented actually on some popular
news-readers. There is a risk that binary messages would
be corrupted just because they are sent with the MIME
format. All newsreader must be verified that they can
- Any new, efficient 8-bit encoding which becomes a part of
MIME must prove that all existing MIME tools can handle
it (without crash). Nobody can verify this - so nobody
will take the risk to try it.
- It is not even possible to send multipart binaries by
MIME today through all those news-servers which are
adding signatures automatically. All those servers must
change their policy.
- Just a few binary downloaders support MIME correctly
today. And the development of MIME compatible tools is
difficult. So most freeware would not support it.
- There is only one realistic proposal "how to embed
yEnc into MIME" - and the specialist dont like it.
Some people say that yEnc makes the introduction of a
new and better format very difficult now. Is this correct ?
- No - a new and better format will be released as a formal
RFC - and all NSPs, server-admins and creators of
newsreaders will respect it.
- No - the people who 'do it right' are the "well
known famous guys" from Usenet. For them it is far
easier to introduce something new (than for me).
- No - a new and better format will attract users easily.
They will love and use it.
- No - neticens on Binary Usenet are flexible and used to
change their tools every few weeks. A new format in 2-4
years is no problem.
- No - but it will take its time.
- Yes, whoever wants to introduce a new format has now to
prove that that he can make things better than yEnc.
- yEnc has shown that it is possible to introduce a new
format - if you pay attention to the transition. Some
people dont even care about transition. Now they have to.
And this is far more diffcult than designing a
- yEnc has shown that most other ways to "better
formats" require changes to all the Usenet tools.
This is _very_ difficult - if not impossible.
- yEnd has shown that it is nearly impossible to extend
MIME to efficient 8bit. This is a new problem for others.
- yEnc has shown people how difficult it is to make even a
very small first single step. They were not aware of all
these problems. Now they see them. And I dont wonder why
they are discouraged now.
- The "next format" has to deal with the
remaining problems of Binary Usenet to reach an
improvement: Completeness. And this is _very_ difficult
to solve. But if they solve it, then yEnc will disappear
within a few days.
"bandwith" --> "bandwidth"
Own pages for MS-Outlook Express
Own pages for Forte Agent
Jürgen Helbing - 10. June 2002 - Email: email@example.com