1. What is LysKOM?

LysKOM has a lot in common with netnews, but LysKOM is intended for
local discussions (instead of worldwide). LysKOM consists of a server
process and several client programs. The server process maintains a
data base of persons, conferences and articles. The clients connect
to the server and let the users browse the database for unread

LysKOM is much faster than netnews - almost as fast as irc or ICQ! -
but like in netnews the articles are saved so that you don't have to
be logged in to receive the news.

As mentioned above, you need a client to be able to do something
useful with LysKOM. At this time there are several clients available.
The most popular client is written in elisp and requires Gnu Emacs or
XEmacs to run. There are also web clients and a MS Windows client. See
for availability of clients.

A LysKOM server has been running at Lysator since July 25th 1990. You
can connect to it and test it out if you like to get a feel for what
LysKOM is. The hostname of the server is Of
course, you need a client to test it. On that particular server most
of the discussions are done in Swedish.

See the file NEWS for information about changes, or the various
ChangeLogs for more detailed information.

The lyskom-server distribution, of which this README file is a part,
only contains the server. You must obtain the clients separately.

2. Documentation

doc/lyskomd.texi Instructions for maintaining a LysKOM server.
Also contains a chapter for hackers that want
to extend or modify the server.

doc/Protocol-A.texi Documentation of the protocol used between the
clients and the LysKOM server.

NEWS What is new in this release?
README This file.
INSTALL Generic install instructions (see below for
lyskomd-specific instructions).
HACKING Information that may be useful if you want to
change lyskomd.
COPYING The license for lyskomd (GNU GPL).
AUTHORS List of authors.

3. Installing or upgrading a LysKOM installation

1. Select a location where you want the LysKOM database and server
binaries to reside. We recommend something like /usr/lyskom
(the default), /usr/local/lyskom or /opt/lyskom.

WARNING: Do not place the database on an NFS-mounted directory
that is mounted with "intr"! If you do, the system calls that
writes the database may return a failure and set errno to
EINTR. lyskomd does not yet handle that appropriately. See bug
847 for more details and the current status of this problem.

2. From the top directory of the server sources, run configure:

$ ./configure -C --prefix=/usr/local/lyskom

The prefix defaults to /usr/lyskom. There are many other
options that you can give to the configure script. Most of them
are documented in the generic INSTALL file. There are a few
LysKOM-specific options, but except for --with-language they are
only useful if you want to debug lyskomd. See the HACKING file
for more information about them.

You can use --with-language=sv to select that a Swedish database
should be installed (if no previous database exists). By
default, an English database will be installed. This only
affects the names of a few conferences and the administrator.
You can rename them manually once the server is running.

The "-C" option tells configure to cache configuration values in
config.cache. Since the lyskomd distribution uses more than one
configure scripts, this will speed up the configure process.

3. Compile it:

$ make

4. If you like, you can run the test suite:

$ make check

There should be no unexpected errors. It is normal that some
unsupported tests and expected errors are reported. You need
DejaGnu 1.4.2 and Python to run the test suite. DejaGnu in turn
needs TCL and expect. They can be downloaded from:

Please note that expect-5.43.0 has a bug that prevents it from
running the testsuite. A patch that fixes the problem is
available here:

Expect version introduced another bug that was fixed in
5.45, so the 5.44 series cannot be used unless the fix is
backported. (Debian backported the fix in their

5. Create a user that should own the database files. This file
assumes that the user is named "lyskom".

6. If you are upgrading, you must stop the running lyskomd, using
the installed "komrunning" program:

$ su lyskom
$ /usr/lyskom/sbin/komrunning stop

(If you are upgrading from a version older than 2.1.0, the
komrunning program will be residing in /usr/lyskom/bin.)

7. If you are upgrading from 2.0.7 or older to 2.1.0 or newer, run
these commands to adjust to the new filesystem layout (see NEWS
for a complete list of everything that changed; this only moves
the database, config file and log files from the old to the new

$ su lyskom
$ cd /usr/lyskom
$ mv etc/config etc/lyskomd.conf
$ mkdir -p var/lyskomd/db
$ mv db/* var/lyskomd/db/
$ rmdir db
$ mv etc/server-log var/lyskomd.log
$ mv etc/lyskomd-log var/lyskomd.stats
$ mv etc/memory-usage var/lyskomd.memory
$ cp etc/status var/lyskomd/db/status

It might be a good idea to remove the old files in bin, or at
least move them to a location where you won't run them by

8. As "lyskom", install it:

$ su lyskom
$ make install

This will install the server and documentation. It will also
install an empty database, unless it finds an old database. The
empty database will contain four standard conferences and one
privileged user, "Administrator (for) LysKOM", with password
"gazonk". See "Database versions" below if you have an old
database -- you may have to convert it.

A sample config file will be installed in etc/lyskomd.conf,
unless it already exists. If you are upgrading to a new version
of lyskomd you may have to edit the config file. The current
sample config file is in run-support/config.

The configuration for aux-items will be installed in
etc/aux-items.conf. It will be overwritten even if it has been
edited locally.

9. If you are upgrading from 2.0.7 or older to 2.1.0 or newer you
need to update the cron entries, so that they run the binaries
from sbin instead of bin. Once that is done, you can remove the
old etc/status file.

10. Make sure updateLysKOM is run regularly by user lyskom. The
recommended way is to add a line such as this to the cron file
of the lyskom user:

0,10,20,30,40,50 * * * * /usr/lyskom/sbin/updateLysKOM

If your cron does not support per-user cron files you will have
to arrange this in some other way.

The updateLysKOM will occasionally output a message to stderr
and exit with a non-zero exit status. It expects the cron to
send a mail to a LysKOM administrator with the output from the
program. Most sane cron systems does so. You may want to
create a .forward file for user "lyskom".

11. If you are upgrading, you must run komrunning again to remove
the lock it created:

$ su lyskom
$ /usr/lyskom/sbin/komrunning start

(Despite its name, this does not actually start lyskomd. See
the next step.)

12. Wait for updateLysKOM to start the server, or run updateLysKOM
manually (as user "lyskom"). You are ready.

If you are upgrading from 2.1.0 or 2.1.1 you might see entries
similar to this in the log:

fparse_read_range_0: discarded out-of-order local number 8
probably introduced by bug 1121

This means that the server has detected an error in the database
introduced by 2.1.0 or 2.1.1. The error will be fixed
automatically once the affected person logs on. This message is

13. Read the documentation in doc/, especially the
Administration chapter. It tells you how to shut down and
restart lyskomd. LysKOM needs your attention once in a while.
Here at Lysator we expunge old texts (with "dbck -g")
approximately twice a year.

14. We would like to know about where LysKOM servers are running.
If you start a server, please mail "", and
tell us that you are running a server. (You are very welcome to
tell more about you, but that's not necessary).

4. Database Versions -- you may have to convert the database

The database format has not changed in the 2.0.1 through 2.0.6
releases. However, there was a bug in the 2.0.0 release that may have
caused the database to contain errors. Most of them can be fixed by
dbck, but some cannot yet be fixed; a release with an improved dbck
might be created in the future. Please run this command if you are
upgrading from the 2.0.0 release:

dbck -i

lyskomd version 2.0.0 uses a new file format for the database. If you
have been running earlier versions of lyskomd you must convert the
database by issuing the following command:

dbck -o 2 -F

You must, of course, use version 2.0.0 or later of dbck to do the
conversion. You can convert back the database to the old format with

dbck -o 1 -F (for lyskomd version 1.9.0)
dbck -o 0 -F (for ancient lyskomd versions)

5. Contact information

If you find a bug, please take a moment to check the bug database at to make sure that it isn't an old bug.
If you find your bug there, and feel that you have more information
about it, please make an "additional comment". If the bug is
important for you, please tell us so by voting for it. If you cannot
find the bug, please enter a bug report there.

If you are unable to use Bugzilla, or if you don't want the
information you have to be public knowledge, you can send your bug
report to the email address

The latest release of the server can always be found from

This file and almost the entire lyskomd server is
Copyright (C) 1991-2003 Lysator Academic Computer Association
See also the AUTHORS file.