I know, the post title is ridiculous. However goofy it sounds, it’s accurate (and just to hammer it home) Ninan IS Nifty.
Ninan is a Java application (Java 1.5 is required) for downloading files from Usenet (commonly referred to as news groups). It runs a small web server on your machine that you can connect to from your local computer or another computer on your network using your web browser (I’ve only tested it with Firefox).
Ninan allows you to feed it NZB files via a convenient upload feature (there are several sites out there offering NZBs for download), or you can add downloads to queue by entering the post ID from a particular NZB provider (see the Ninan site for more details). It does NOT allow you to browse/read postings on Usenet, currently all it does is manage downloads.
What makes it so special is that it has smartpar download, only the first PAR is downloaded which saves bandwidth and at the same time still allows you to verify your files. There’s auto PAR verification and repair, and once a RAR compressed download is verified Ninan will extract the file(s) for you. After all of that, it does cleanup too. Once your download is verified complete, the PAR files are removed. After extracting your download, the left over (and space thieving) RARs are removed. You just can’t beat a program that makes checking downloads and extracting them it’s job instead of yours.
If you already have Java installed, getting Ninan up and running is a breeze. There is a walk-through over on the Ninan Wiki that should have you leeching in but a few minutes. If you need to install Java, check your distro’s forums (Ubuntu tells you how on the Wiki, and you can find Fedora help here).
All of the configuration is done via a control panel you can access once you have Ninan running, it couldn’t be easier to configure and use.