Install Leafnode on OS X

Install Leafnode on OS XI never found an up-to-date and conclusive article on how to install Leafnode on OS X. So, I decided to publish one that is based on Configuring LeafNode on OSX by David Thole written in May 2010. He’s everywhere (GitHub, Twitter, YouTube, Stackoverflow, etc.) but his own site is often down and, therefore, the link above points to his article on

As stated by David the it’s not really difficult to install Leafnode on OS X, but getting it configured is where the problem is.

Install Leafnode on OS X

Installing Leafnode on OS X is dead simple if you use MacPorts. For the rest of the article I assume this is the case with you. Open the terminal and type

sudo port install leafnode

Afterwards check the installation by running

port contents leafnode

If you’re interested in what the port script actually executed you need to check the port file.

Once Leafnode is installed, you have a few commands (i.e. applications) that you can use at this point. Among others there are:

  • fetchnews
    This will be used to get the listing of groups, which once read, will start pulling the actual documents themselves.
  • leafnode
    This can be run a few different ways, but with the MacPorts option it’s really not a bad idea to run this through launchctl (assuming you’re on a later version of OS X).

Configure Leafnode

Once you’re done installing Leafnode on OS X the configuration file that you’ll need to edit is in /opt/local/etc/leafnode/config. Most of the stuff in the config.example will help in configuring Leafnode. Besides, the comments in the file are really good. You might also find answers in the old but good FAQ.

To manually test the installation & configuration you may run:

sudo -u _news /opt/local/sbin/fetchnews -vvvv

OS X launchdeamon

The plists for launchctl are located in /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.leafnode
One way to load this right away is:

sudo launchctl load /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.leafnode/org.macports.leafnode.plist

I also created a symlink to the above location in /Library/LaunchDaemons

cd /Library/LaunchDaemons
sudo ln -s /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.leafnode/org.macports.leafnode.plist

Furthermore I also loaded the fetchnews plist to ensure that messages are pulled in from upstream servers every 30min (default).

sudo launchctl load /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.leafnode/org.macports.fetchnews.plist
cd /Library/LaunchDaemons
sudo ln -s /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.leafnode/org.macports.fetchnews.plist

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