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B.4: Binaries.


This article is from the Digital Broadcast Satellites FAQ, by Brian Trosko btrosko@primenet.com with numerous contributions by others.

B.4: Binaries.

The rec.video.satellite.dbs charter does not specifically allow binaries,
so the posting of them is strongly discouraged. This is not because
binaries are inherently bad. Rather, it is because of the large size of most
binaries. Specifically, the reasons are thus:

- Binaries take up far more disk space than a text file with a similar number
of lines. Disk space is an important concern for news administrators, and
binary groups are often dropped to save space. If a nominally non-binary
group comes to carry too many binaries, it may get dropped for space
reasons, with obviously negative consequences for the readers of the group.

- Some people use off-line newsreaders, which allow them to download the
entire contents of the group via modem for perusal at a later time. Many
of these newsreaders don't allow you to select specific posts to download,
so you have to download the whole thing. The phone and/or online time
bills for unwittingly downloading a large binary via a slow (or even a
fast) modem can be extreme. This isn't a problem for those of us with
direct T1 connections, but most people read news over a modem.

- What percentage of people will download a multi-part jpeg or gif file,
reassemble it, unzip it, and then view it? Certainly fewer people than
will read a plaintext post. A multi-part gif/jpeg is simply a waste of
newsgroup space for the majority of people who don't have the time,
ability, or inclination, to view it.

Instead of posting a binary, you might consider:
- sending it via email to the people who request it.
- posting it to an appropriate alt.binaries.* group.
- putting the file up for public access on an FTP or WWW site.

In any of these cases, you will probably wish to post a pointer to it on

Some people UUencode or zip plain text files prior to posting them. This just
doesn't make any sense. Far more people will read a plain-text post than will
unzip/UUdecode a file in order to read it. Further, a UUencoded post is
generally *larger* than the original plain text file, so UUencoding
doesn't save any space.

Large binary files are also subject to cancellation by Richard DePew's
bincancelbot (See news.admin.net-abuse.misc for details). Small binaries
might succeed in evading the bot, but will probably draw many flames.


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