XPAT on news.mozilla.org

[The Thunderbird 2 version of this can be found here.]

Every once in a while, someone on news.mozilla.org will enquire about receiving an error message “A News (NNTP) error occurred: xpat not supported“, when trying to search newsgroups on news.mozilla.org; so I thought I’d post my ‘stock’ answer. 🙂

News.mozilla.org is hosted by Giganews, who’s servers do not support XPAT commands.
To quote one of the Giganews support personnel:

“The XPAT command attempts to search through our entire spool of over 700 million articles, to match on a specific keyword, that is often found only in a handful of newsgroups. The command puts enough of a load on our servers, that several people using this at one time can affect the performance that all of our customers receive.”

Disabling XPAT support is not an uncommon thing. When using the “Search Messages” function in Mozilla Thunderbird [Edit–>Find–>Search Messages], the XPAT command is used to search that news server. The workaround for this is to make Thunderbird search messages locally. There are a couple of ways to do that:

1. Use the search bar [View–>Toolbars–>Search Bar].

2. Before opening the search window, you can switch to offline mode [File–>Offline–>Work Offline]. There’s also an offline toggle icon in the bottom left of the Thunderbird window.

Additionally, all mozilla.* newsgroups are archived on Google Groups, which is searchable using Google Groups.

From Blogger to WordPress

I’ve just moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress. I couldn’t take it anymore. WordPress is better because:

  • the content management system actually resides on the same server as the blog site. When Blogger.com was down, it seemed so stupid to me, that I couldn’t publish content to my own website, which was running fine, because I had to post via a third party. Now, if I edit anything, I don’t have to “republish.”
  • catagories. If someone reads my blog for Firefox tips, they may not want to read about Thunderbird tips, or my musical interests (or my gripes about content management systems 🙂 )
  • adding a comment is one meeeellion times more user friendly.
  • I have greater control over my web feed. In WordPress the URLs of my previous blog posts are slightly different. Most feed aggregators would treat them as new posts (flooding Planet Mozilla with my previous posts); so I can limit the number of posts in my feed, not to include posts made on Blogger.
  • tied into the above, I can import posts/comments from other blog management systems.
  • like Mozilla’s extension capabilities, there are WordPress plugins available to extend the functionality of WordPress. Case in point, I’ve always liked Livejournal‘s feature that allows you to mention what music you are listening to, while posting. There’s a wordpress plugin, that allows me to do that in WordPress.
  • I can add themes from third party websites. I haven’t decided which one I’m going to stick with yet (and I’ll probably tweak it); but it’s nice to be able to find third party themes. (like a Firefox theme)

Maybe I’ve just graduated from blog kindergarten; that’s all.