There are a fair handful of Usenet NZB downloaders available for Linux. You can choose from LottaNZB, Klibido, Kwooty, Binreader (also available for Mac and Windows), plus a very basic client called NZB. But if you happen to run Windows or Mac OS X as well as Linux, then you might be looking for a client available on both (or all three) of your platforms. Binreader is cross-platform, although in our use we experienced more than our fair share of downloading errors (corrupt files were the main culprit).
Because of this, the obvious choice for computer users wanting a simple way to download from Usenet via the NZB file format, is a program called SABnzbd+ (or SABnzbdplus, although we’ll simply refer to it from here on out as SABnzbd).
SABnzbd is a program that – much like uTorrent Server – runs entirely in your web browser. It’s actually a Terminal program that runs in the background, that also happens to have an interface you can use, which runs in the web browser. Here’s a step-by-step way to install and configure SABnzbd in Linux (specifically Ubuntu, although the same steps should work in Debian or Linux Mint as well). As a sidenote, once you’ve installed SABnzbd, the configuration instructions will work for Mac and Windows users.
First, open up a Terminal.
Now type sudo apt-get install sabnzbdplus sabnzbdplus-theme-plush which will install SABnzbd and the theme (“Plush”) that you can see in the screenshots.
Once the download and installation is complete, you can launch SABnzbd via your menus or other launcher.
The first time you launch SABnzbd, you’ll be taken through the configuration wizard. The first step is selecting the default language. There are eight different languages available. We’ll select English.
Next, fill in the server details for your Usenet account.
Much like you need an email account in order to access an email server, you need an account with a Usenet provider in order to download anything from Usenet. There are many popular providers, such as Astraweb, GigaNews, NewsDemon and others. Many popular services offer plans at around $10.00 per month, as well as the option to purchase blocks of GB instead. A quick Google search will provide numerous results as well as a few pages devoted to comparing different services.
Next, you can configure whether or not anyone with Web access will be able to remotely access your running SABnzbd installation. By default, this is turned off.
After this, you can enter in account information for NZBMatrix.com or Newzbin.com, two websites that make it easy to produce your own customized NZB files. Both sites are good, but you could also use binsearch.info, which is completely free. Once you’ve finished filling in these forms (or skipping over them as it isn’t required), you’ll be shown the basic SABnzbd interface.
From here you can watch over any downloading files you might have in progress, initiate new ones (by clicking Add NZB near the top), or configuring more settings, which is what we want to do now. As it is, SABnzbd is ready to be used after going through the first-run wizard, but you’ll likely want to set up your download folder as well as a folder SABnzbd will watch for NZB files (any NZB file that shows up will be downloaded automatically). Simply click Config at the top, then choose the Folders option along the left side.
If you have it set up as we do, you likely download files to your Desktop, which SABnzbd will now monitor. When a NZB file you downloaded appears, SABnzbd will start downloading the files you want, and will then place them in your Completed Download Folder (which we also have set to the Desktop, but can be set anywhere you choose).
Now, we mentioned binsearch.info earlier, and now’s the time to see what it’s all about. Head there in your web browser, then perform a search. Usenet has all kinds of shared files (just like torrents or other file sharing sites). Here we performed a search for Ubuntu 11.10, in hopes of downloading an installation ISO.
We then looked a the list, until we found what we wanted.
We checked the box beside the entry, so everything there (all 789 MB, including repair files if necessary), will be downloaded. To create the NZB file, we simply click the Create NZB button located at the top and bottom of each page.
The NZB file is then create and downloaded. In our case, it was downloaded to the Desktop.
As we set up SABnzbd to monitor our Desktop, the file is immediately acted on, and our download started.
SABnzbd will now begin downloading your files, only grabbing the repair files (par2), if necessary. If all the standard files downloaded without error, the par2 files are ignored, which is a nice feature as most Usenet accounts are set up based on how much a person downloads, so any savings is a bonus.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about downloading and configuring SABnzbd. As stated, this guide is written for Linux users, but the configuration part of it will work for Mac and Windows users as well; only the installation process will be slightly different. Windows and Mac users can head over to sabnzbd.org and download the correct installer for their system.