chiark news server

Information for University of Cambridge users

All users in Cambridge University (ie, on the University network) automatically have access to chiark's USENET news server. You can read public newsgroups, and post to them, simply by configuring your news client software to point to:
See below for how to configure Alpine, or PINE on hermes.

If you have problems or questions, please contact newsmaster@chiark. You may also post to ucam.comp.misc, which we read.


Not all groups are accessible to all users. In particular, groups in chiark.* are accessible only to people with chiark accounts and our server will enforce this. Some groups are read-only. Do not enter any passwords into your news reader; if you get asked for a password it means that the group is not accessible to you (or that you are not allowed to post).

We are unsure about the future of the ucam.* hierarchy. Since the UCS server has shut down, only people using chiark or the SRCF can see these groups.


chiark offers this service on a "best effort" basis, free of charge. If anything goes wrong, you are entitled to a full refund :-).

The University Computing Service know about our service, although it is not an official replacement of nntp-serv.

The Student-Run Computing Facility also have a news server, which peers with us. Please contact the SRCF for information about their server.

Configuring Alpine or PINE on hermes

Type M (main menu) S (setup) C (configuration) go down to the 4th setting "NNTP Server". Press enter and type; press E (exit) and Y (confirm change to settings).

Then when you type L (folder list) you'll see separate folder collections for your Hermes mail folders and for news groups on chiark.

If you have previously set up Alpine or Pine to read news using, you may also need to remove it from your list of folder collections. To do this: type M (main menu) S (setup) L (collection lists), move to the nntp-serv collection and type D (delete) then E (exit) and confirm as necessary.

(Thanks to fanf for this information.)

Who are we and why are we doing this?

We are Ian Jackson (iwj10) and Matthew Vernon (mcv21). We're alumni of the University (Churchill and Selwyn, respectively). We are keen on USENET and would like to see it remain as healthy as possible.

We also (with help from Chris Webb) run the domain registry, from which the SRCF domain is delegated. At the time of writing Ian is one of the moderators for uk.rec.cycling.moderated and Matthew is a member of the UK Usenet Committee. Ian is the owner and administrator of chiark.

chiark news administrator, newsmaster@chiark (, that is)