What is alt.sources for?
The alt.sources newsgroup is intended to be a repository for
source-code of all sorts that people wish to distribute and share with
There are no restrictions on the type of source code you can post
here -- any machine, any language, any purpose.
A common reason to post to alt.sources is when you are posting a
useful bit of source code to some other newsgroup, and you think that
it might prove useful to other people in the future, in which case you
can cross-post it here.
Please note that alt.sources IS NOT for requests for source code; the
alt.sources.wanted newsgroup is for that. Alt.sources IS NOT for
comments and discussion about source code, even source code posted in
alt.sources; the alt.sources.d newsgroup is for that.
Only source code should be posted to alt.sources.
Posting material in alt.sources that is not human readable is
discouraged. For example, shar archives are preferred to compressed,
uuencoded tar files. Furthermore, the posting of machine-specific
executables in alt.sources is HIGHLY discouraged.
Is alt.sources moderated ?
No. alt.sources is unmoderated. There have been times when there
were calls for retro-moderation to cancel inappropriate postings
like spam, but these never materialized. In true USENET spirit,
it is hoped that posters moderate themselves.
Why post to alt.sources?
Since alt.sources is unmoderated, your source code will be
distributed throughout the USENET (or, at least, the portion of the
USENET that receives alt.sources) immediately, without having to wait
for a moderator's approval, like you have to do for some of the other
Furthermore, alt.sources is archived at quite a few anonymous ftp
and mail server archive sites, so people will be able to get your
software from the archives after you've posted it, rather than having
to ask you to mail it to them.
Finally, you might have a bit of source code that is really too
small to submit as a package to one of the other major source
newsgroups. That's the kind of things that shows up a lot in
Why post to somewhere besides alt.sources?
Alt.sources isn't as widely propagated as the source newsgroups in
the "comp" hierarchy, since more sites tend to get "comp" than "alt".
Therefore, if you want your source code to have as wide a distribution
as possible, you might want to use one of the "comp" newsgroups.
The alt.sources archives tend to be less well-organized than the
archives of the other source newsgroups, because they are usually
maintained automatically rather than by hand, and because non-source
postings are often interspersed with the source postings in the
archive. Furthermore, many of the other source newsgroups are
available at many more archive sites than alt.sources. Therefore, if
you want people to be able to find your program really easily,
alt.sources may not be the best place to post it.
What format should alt.sources postings have?
Because alt.sources is unmoderated, the format your postings take is
up to you. However, there are certain basic guidelines which, if
followed, make alt.sources a more productive newsgroup for everyone:
1) Choose a good subject line for your posting that describes
accurately what it contains. Many alt.sources archive sites generate
their indices of the newsgroup from the subject lines of the postings
in it, so try to make sure that there are relevant keywords in your
subject that people can search for when looking for your source code
2) Put a Followup-To: header line in your posting which directs
followups somewhere other than alt.sources. This is especially
important if you cross-post your alt.sources posting from some other
newsgroup, because people will often respond to the posting in that
newsgroup without realizing it was cross-posted to alt.sources.
3) At the top of your posting, separated from the main header of the
posting by a blank line, put something that looks like this:
The "name" on the first line should be a short one-word string that
can serve as a "tag" for the package. If your program has a somewhat
unique name, you can just use the name of the program as the archive
name. If you are posting a patch to a previously posted bit of source
code, you would do something like "name/patchN", where N is the number
of the patch. If you post source code in multiple parts, do
"name/part1", "name/part2", etc. The second line should contain a
return mail address for you.
This informational header (note that it is an auxiliary header, in
the body of the posting, NOT part of the main message header) is used
by some automatic archiving software to maintain alt.sources archives
automatically. There are other useful fields you may want to put in
the auxiliary header; if you are curious, see the documentation for
the "rkive" program in the comp.sources.misc archives to find out what
4) Make sure to mention, near the top of your posting (or near the
top of your first posting, if you are posting a multi-posting
package), exactly what the package is. If there is a README file,
either include that at the top or (if you are using shar) make it the
first thing in the first shar file. People should not have to search
through the entire package just to figure out what it is.
Where is alt.sources archived?
See the article entitled "How to find sources (READ THIS BEFORE
POSTING)" in alt.sources.wanted and comp.sources.wanted to find out
how to search through the alt.sources archives and how to retrieve
source code from the various archive sites.
In general, alt.sources archives can be found in many places
Please note that this is a non-exhaustive list. A search for
"alt.sources archive" on any good search engine will point you
to the right direction.
Are the sources available elsewhere?
This question was answered by:
Victor Volkman <sy...@HAL9K.com>, CUG Acquisitions. Ed.:
"The C Users Group wishes to further the distribution of alt.sources
types of material to a wider audience. Since 1984, we had been
distributing diskettes and CD-ROMs of C source code at very low costs.
Today, we use the Internet to distribute all sources for free at:
Archives cover all major platforms including: Atari, Amiga, Mac,
PC (DOS and Windows), Sun, and most Unix machines. Material contributed
to the CUG may also be published in the C Users Journal monthly. Please
send mail to sy...@HAL9K.com if you would like your alt.sources code to
be considered for the CUG. Also check: http://www.HAL9K.com/cug "
[Please note that I have no links to the CUG whatsoever - OCL]
Doesn't this introductory posting violate the guidelines outlined above?
Yes. This posting is not a source-code posting, and therefore
shouldn't really appear in alt.sources. However, the problem of
non-source postings and source postings without auxiliary headers
appearing in this newsgroup is severe enough that I hope to reduce it
by posting this message. Other source newsgroups have similar
introductory postings, posted by their moderators.
No, I am not the "moderator" of alt.sources. I repeat, there is none.
I have taken over the posting of this message since the early 1990s
and it is being posted automagically by the FAQ server at MIT.
There are probably people who think the guidelines I've mentioned above
are wrong. If you think there's something wrong with this posting,
please tell me about it, either by sending me an E-mail.
Although there may be specific things in this posting that people
disagree with, I think that I am, in general, outlining the consensus
of the alt.sources community. However, if a sufficient number of
people (let's say five or more) send me E-mail and tell me that they
think I'm completely off base and shouldn't be posting this message at
all, I'll put it to some sort of vote and see what the consensus is
Comments about, suggestions about or corrections to this posting are
welcomed. If you would like to ask me to change this posting in some
way, the method I appreciate most is for you to actually make the
desired modifications to a copy of the posting, and then to send me
the modified posting, or a context diff between my posted version and
your modified version (if you do the latter, make sure to include in
your mail the "Version:" line from my posted version). Submitting
changes in this way makes dealing with them easier for me and helps to
avoid misunderstandings about what you are suggesting.
- Nick Boalch, one of the *.answers moderators