Some newsgroups are primarily devoted to the exchange of graphic
(picture) files or other binary files (such as programs). Newsgroups
which were not established for this purpose usually frown on having
binary files posted!
Although binary files can also include software programs, word processor
files, and/or other file in a binary format, these discussions will
assume a graphic file. Other file formats are handled in a similar
Articles in the binary newsgroups like comp.binaries and
alt.pictures.*** are "encoded". The graphic images or programs which are
in a 'binary format' have been translated into ASCII format, so they can
be posted. To view these images you have to "decode" the postings.
At one time the standard encoding was called "uuencode" and you needed a
software utility (uuencode) to prepare a file for transmission and a program
called "UUdecode"' to extract the binary file. Now there are several different
encoding methods including "base64" and "Binhex" (originally a Macintosh
format). In some instances one program can be used to encode or decode
several file formats.
The VTN Public Download Area [go pda] has links to several
utilities that can be used to decode binary files.
Viewing Graphic Files
To view a graphic file you must first save the message or messages (some
files are separated into several messages). Some newsreaders
save messages in a subdirectory of your personal home directory called
Save the File(s)
After saving the message you must download (*) the
file(s) to your home system.
Decode the File
On your home system, use a utility program to decode the binary file.
Some decoders are smart enough to combine several files to re-create the
Viewing the Image
After the image has been decoded, you will need a viewer to view the image.
Just select the article you're interested in, and press "s" for save.
This will save it to the News/ directory in your home directory.