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Corporate culture, personal experiences, and unique observations about Giganews, Usenet, Newsgroups, and Usenet related technologies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why You Should be Using the Giganews Accelerator™

If you use the Giganews® Usenet service, or if you keep up with Usenet news, you've probably heard about the Giganews Accelerator. The Giganews Accelerator is a Windows® operating system based software application which was custom built by our very own engineering team to improve the security and speed of the Usenet experience.

This post was written to give you an inside look at the security and compression advantages that set the Giganews Accelerator apart.

What does the Giganews Accelerator Do?

• Compresses headers for up to 10 times faster header downloads
• Enables secure login, whether or not you have SSL service
• Real-time reporting on your in/out traffic
• Allows rate-limiting even if your news reader doesn't
• Allows SSL connections even if your news reader doesn't

Compression Technology

The Giganews Accelerator sets itself apart from other Usenet compression technologies because the Accelerator's compression is done at the protocol level rather than the network level. By compressing at the protocol level, we can selectively compress the parts of the data stream where compression makes sense, and leave alone parts that do not benefit from compression.

Most binary article data is already compressed when it's uploaded, so compressing it for download doesn't actually save users any network traffic. Similarly, very small content, such as response messages, also get very little benefit out of compression because of their already small size.

Compression also requires CPU and time. CPU time is required on the server end to compress the data and on the client end, to decompress the data.

By selectively compressing only the compressible content, a user's CPU can be used for downloading instead of needless decompression work.

Other Usenet compression technologies essentially compress the entire network stream, using software like Stunnel, which compresses all data in and out. With that method, every bit of traffic requires more CPU to decompress, CPU that could be better spent on getting more traffic or decoding already downloaded data.

Differences Between Stunnel and the Giganews Accelerator

Secure Logins

With the Giganews Accelerator, all of your logins are secured via SSL, even if you do not have 256-bit SSL encryption added to your Giganews account. With the Accelerator, we do authentication under SSL and then the Accelerator renegotiates an unencrypted connection for continued use. Your login and password are private, even if you don't pay for the full privacy that an SSL account offers.

Of course, if you do have an SSL account, the Accelerator will fully utilize it, even if your news reader software doesn't support SSL. On the server end, our SSL is built directly into our custom written server software. We write all of our software in-house with an eye towards maximizing per-stream performance. By hooking SSL capabilities directly into our server software without proxy servers or processes, we can read and write SSL data as efficiently as possible!

Real-Time Reporting

With the Accelerator's real-time reporting function, you can see how many actual connections you have open, what commands are being issued, and what state they are in.


The Giganews Accelerator lets you rate-limit your streams as one entire group. This lets you optimize your bandwidth usage if you share an Internet connection or if you just need to do some other things while downloading data. With the Accelerator's rate-limiting feature, you can ratchet your connection speed down to control the flow of bandwidth for other purposes, even if your news reader software doesn't support rate-limits.

In Conclusion

We encourage you to check out all of these features for yourself. The Giganews Accelerator is a free program and we really think that it improves the Giganews Usenet experience. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. You can also check out our Usenet University™ tutorial page about the Giganews Accelerator. There is a cool little video, featuring screen shots and instructions about configuring the Accelerator and your news reader, all done with a soothing British voice over.
Blogger Sean said...

Hey, still dying for the Mac Leopard version of the Giganews Accelerator - is it in the works?

4:52 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to use Giganews Accelerator.

But my client runs on Linux, and even if I was prepared to pipe it through a Windows server, Giganews Accelerator only accepts connections through the loopback. (And yes, that is a dumb restriction, because it does take all of two minutes to write a 'hello world' TCP pipe from eth0 to lo).

Hows about some documentation on how to speak compressed headers to giganews? It's not like you'd be giving out any kind of trade secret or anything: if the secret sauce isn't sorting the headers and sending a delta from the previous one, I'll eat my hat.

3:57 PM 
Blogger Giganews said...


> Giganews Accelerator only
> accepts connections through
> the loopback.

Have you tried writing a Windows proxy on your Linux machine (in fact, you can use stunnel to do it without writing anything)?

We don't have any immediate plans to develop a Linux version of the Giganews Accelerator.

> Hows about some documentation
> on how to speak compressed
> headers to giganews?

Thanks for the feedback. We will take this into consideration for future feature requests.

Good comments BTW.

5:51 AM 
Blogger Michael said...

How about GN posting directions for setting up a Windows proxy?

I do my newsreading on a Mac but have a Windows box sitting next to it I'd be happy to proxy through. A script or craplet would be sufficient, just something I could plug the address of my Windows box into and point my newseader at.

(Posted while pulling down 2500000 uncompressed headers in a new newsgroup.)

9:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waiting for a Mac version as well...

8:33 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the European server supported yet?

Last time I tried it, I edited my hosts file to map to the IP for, but it didn't work too well. Maybe the Euro server doesn't support the extra features?

6:47 PM 
Blogger Itchy said...

Wondering if will be supported as well.

2:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another vote for a Mac version...

6:26 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mac...need this desperately in mac!

9:39 AM 
Anonymous Meconium said...

Usenet is better on OSX! Please give us an Accelerator too!

12:13 AM 
Blogger Michael said...

Hey - anyone at GN listening? Some feedback on Mac support would be greatly appreciated...

3:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waiting on a Mac version as well... Perhaps the solution is to work with Usenet reader developers rather than writing your own tools?

Please contact Panic for inclusion in Unison!

9:37 AM 
Blogger Giganews said...

@michael, we are listening :) At this time we do not have a Mac version, but is in on our list. Thanks for the request!

5:30 AM 
Blogger donnacha said...

Another request for a Mac version and, yes, I agree with the comment that Panic's Unison is currently the best Usenet client on OS X.

9:19 AM 
Blogger Michael said...

A Mac-specific version isn't necessary (though it'd be great.) For many of us a tweak to the Windows version, allowing non-local clients* to use it, would be sufficient.

* ie Other clients on the same subnet connecting to the Giganews Accelerator's port, such as my Mac sitting next to my PC, or other's *nix boxes doing the same.

12:21 PM 
Anonymous Steve Bell said...

I would be most grateful to see Giganews Accelerator ported to Linux, or enough information made available to allow a Linux version to be written.

9:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On your Windows machine try something like:

netsh routing ip nat install
netsh routing ip nat add interface "local" full
netsh routing ip nat add portmapping "local" tcp 119 119

and you should be able to connect from Mac/Linux trough your Windows box.

11:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another request for a Mac version of the Giganews Accelerator ;)

- Giganews fan

10:20 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using the most expensive plan with Giganews.. I think me, and most of your clients, deserve the option of using the accelerator in the OS they choose, not the one you Giganews choose.

I am moving over to Ubuntu (yup, that's Linux, folks!) and I hope this app is functionable under wine.

I know I could just tunnel the connection, but I want to access the post in the speeds the Giganews accelerator does, and since this is closed software, I suppose we should get at least a compilation for the major OSs apart from windows:
OS X, Ubuntu and Debian


9:47 PM 
Anonymous gn375546 said...

Yes, a MacOS version please :-)

2:12 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I didn't see any compatibility of the accelerator with different clients. I use BNR2, I think port is 119. Is it compatible? Thx.

4:17 AM 
Blogger Errorcode408 said...

I think there are enough Mac Version Requests to think of porting your Accelerator to Mac/Linux. I´m sure there are volunteers to help developing/port existing code, me for example, drop me a mail at errorcode-at-googlemail-dot-com

see ya!

1:12 PM 
Blogger Errorcode408 said...

Typo in my last Post,
the email is errorcode408-at-googlemail-dot-com

1:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please put out a Mac version of the accelerator... I will join your premium plan if this happens. Until then I'm with another (and also not-mac-friendly) provider.

10:53 PM 
Anonymous Jim said...

I am currently subscribed to the highest single user plan here @ Giganews ( Diamond Single User Account + SSL ) and while I think the service is great, I think the total lack of accelerator support for my OS ( OS X ) is a bit disheartening. Please move the Mac version up your list of things to do to #1. I bet you would be surprised to find out how many Mac users subscribe to your service.

4:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy. It really sucks being a Mac or Linux user. I sure am glad I stopped using Macs in 1990 when Windows 3 shipped. My life has been so easy ever since.
Thanks for the accelerator!

5:45 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mac version please!!! There are enough of us, right?

8:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anothe vote for MAC client

9:14 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While a mac proxy would be great (yeah another mac user), writing some doc about the protocol would be best. That way, you wouldn't even have to bother writing a mac client yourself and unix client would get some love too (and I'd love that too as my main client is actually running on a linux box).

2:06 PM 
Blogger lornix said...

Another vote for a non-windows version. Or at least good documentation so I could write my own. Thanks. Lornix

4:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome app. Are there any plans to enable it to work with alternate ports?

At work I have to use port 23 since the default usenet port is blocked.


4:56 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you need to make Linux and Mac OS X clients!

9:41 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to make Linux and Mac os X clients! most of all you need to enable the use of alternate ports!

9:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to add my request for a mac version. I too have the highest level account and have had for some to now. I use unison (which is not that great of a program) and I would like to see some support for the mac.

10:32 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another request for a Mac version. I use both Windows and OS X so it's not a fanboy issue for me--I just haven't found a Windows newsreader that I like anywhere near as much as Thoth (for message-by-message reading) and Unison (for NZB downloads).

5:48 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another voice to add to the OS X chores requesting the accelerator. I just moved to the Mac and I'm really missing this...

10:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to use OS X app PPC Universal binary please don't forget the PPC users.

3:45 PM 
Anonymous James said...

I am also on OSX.

Really hoping giganews provides some good client for osx, because if someone else comes up first, would have to switch to the other provider..

Hope will be the selling point for giganews: support for mac osx(growing number of users every second!!)

1:28 AM 
Blogger Alex said...

Any news on when Giganews Accelerator will support the European server at

10:30 AM 
Blogger Giganews said...


The Giganews Accelerator directs you to the server cluster that is best for you. If you are connecting in Europe you will be redirected to

If you feel this is not happening please feel free to contact our support department for further investigation.


10:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another vote for a Mac version, i use "unison" at the moment, what's everyone else use?

2:50 AM 
Blogger Zykr said...

I use the Giganews Accelerator on my mac under a VM running a stripped down version of windows xp. I then use the following string in terminal to route localhost:119 to the Giganews Accelerator inside the VM and back out of the VM to the Usenet Client. It essentially mirrors localhost:119 on the VM and the Mac. The setup is a little complicated if you don't have much experience working with the command line and the administrator functions of windows xp, it also eats a lot of CPU and memory. So this solution isn't for everyone.

Basically what you need to do is install openssh in your windows xp VM and then set openssh to run as a service. There are some good guides on getting this setup so I won't go into specifics here as this is already very long.

Next you need setup the VM to use a bridged connection with host computer, NAT seems to mess up, but it may work for you. Now install and launch
the Giganews Accelerator and make sure you can connect to the internet by launching IE or something. Switching to the Mac side of things... Open terminal and type the following, sans quotes of course. This is all one line. Make sure you double check your typing. Enter your password and hit enter.

sudo ssh "User Name on XP VM"@"IP Address of the Virtual Network Adapter" -N -L localhost:119:localhost:119

"EXAMPLE: sudo ssh Administrator@ -N -L localhost:119:localhost:119"

If its working it will ask for the user password you set on the VM and give you a long boring warning about Unauthorized Access. Hit enter and close the window, ignore any warning about still running processes. Setup your Usenet client according the Giganews instructions, and try it out. Although I have not tried it, this should be adaptable to a real machine on your local network as well. This will not last between reboots or quitting of the VM. To restore the pipe, simply re-enter the terminal command above.

NOTE: A rare bug I sometimes get with this trick is for the ssh session to crash and max out the cpu after running for a while. In this case simply open activity monitor find the process call ssh and force quit it. To restore the pipe, simply re-enter the terminal command above.

If you need additional help setting this up, please feel free to leave a note here. --Zykr

1:47 PM 
Anonymous Andy said...

+1 for Mac version.

5:47 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

+1 for Mac version!!

6:31 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty good application, although I am not sure if it helps NewsLeecher, which already does header compression. Took me forever to figure out the totally undocumented "Show Spinners" feature. Wow, really makes it fly!

Thanks for the videos too.

I could care less about the me too OSes (Linux/Mac), just let uncle steve control his market...and I am sure the open sorcerers have figure it out themselves.

12:11 PM 
Anonymous Rudi Lousberg said...

+1 for mac version

come on can't be so hard....

5:49 AM 
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