LottaNZB has been uploaded to Debian

March 7th, 2009 - Severin

About two months ago, I wrote about LottaNZB being sponsered by a helpful Debian developer and that it had been added to Debian’s NEW queue. When I checked my inbox a few moments ago, I found a bunch of messages I’ve been waiting for a long time. Version 0.4.0-1 of your package ‘lottanzb’ has just been uploaded to Debian. I’m not sure what the purpose of the NEW queue is but it doesn’t matter anymore. Starting today, Debian users should be able to install it by simply typing “sudo apt-get install lottanzb”, at least if the unstable repository is used. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project and allowed us to get this far!

Some of you might know that the Feature Freeze for Ubuntu 9.04 (which is going to be a great release!) has already taken effect quite some time ago. Unfortunately, this means that LottaNZB won’t be part of Ubuntu 9.04′s repositories. The good news is that LottaNZB will automatically be imported as soon as Jaunty has been released, so Ubuntu Karmic Koala will definitely ship with LottaNZB.

LottaNZB’s development didn’t stand still in the past two months. We’ve implemented quite a few cool things we will probably present you in a future blog post. We don’t know yet when the next major version of LottaNZB is going to be released. If you know something cool that could be added to LottaNZB, don’t hesitate to create a blueprint on our Launchpad.net project page! You can also see there what we’ve planned for future releases.

Have a nice weekend!

LottaNZB reviewed by the Hacker Public Radio

February 28th, 2009 - Severin

The results for my daily Google search for websites that mentioned the term ‘lottanzb’ in the past 24 hours have already brought interesting stuff to my attention in the past. But today, I didn’t believe my eyes: LottaNZB has been briefly reviewed by Dave Yates of the Hacker Public Radio! He talked about what the NZB file format is, how to install LottaNZB and how to download NZB files.

One feature David missed when he started LottaNZB the first time was a search function which replaces visits to NZB search engines like alt.binaries.nl, Newzbin.com etc. LottaNZB currently works similar to Bittorrent clients like Transmission (my favorite one). They just process torrent files and finding them is left up to the user. For LottaNZB however, there’s something on the horizon: The next version of LottaNZB will most probably include an easy to use plug-in (not enabled by default) that lets users subscribe to TV series listed on TVNZB.com. We don’t know if/when LottaNZB will feature a general search function though.

So, many thanks to David for this great Hacker Public Radio episode and making my day! You’ve just got a new podcast subscriber.

LottaNZB 0.4.1 released

January 27th, 2009 - Severin

We are proud to present LottaNZB 0.4.1. This version fixes a couple of small bugs and adds some new translations. You can find the full changelog below. Thanks go out to all our translators. We really appreciate your work!

LottaNZB 0.4.1 can be found here! If you’re using the source package and you are upgrading from 0.3.1, please make sure that you have the new dependency package (Kiwi).


  • For those who initially used the Ubuntu package of LottaNZB 0.3, this release fixes a severe problem with the automatic extraction of downloaded archives. LottaNZB now always uses ‘unrar’ instead of ‘unrar-free’ because unfortunately, the free alternative isn’t capable of extracting a majority of downloads. We recommend you to reenable the automatic extraction in the preferences window.
  • Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian Bokmal and Spanish translation updated.
  • Turkish translation added.
  • Bug fixed that prevented LottaNZB from working properly on machines with Turkish locale. (LP: #318328)
  • Remove unwanted leading and trailing whitespaces from category and download directory names for downloads that were added to the download queue using an older version of LottaNZB (thanks to Mikal Krogstad for reporting this).
  • A bunch of Debian/Ubuntu package improvements, which were necessary to make LottaNZB ready for the Debian and Ubuntu package repositories: e.g. a new MAN page and an application menu entry on Debian.

LottaNZB translators considered awesome

January 23rd, 2009 - Severin

As you can tell by the ‘About’ page, LottaNZB is available in numerous languages thanks to the work of dozens of people who have used their precious time to contribute to this project.

Not all translations were included in LottaNZB 0.4, which was released a couple of weeks ago, and we promised to make another release if there are any updated languages and bug fixes. About 14 hours ago, Sander Tuit sent a message to those people who have contributed to translations that weren’t complete when 0.4 was released. When I checked the translation page on Launchpad.net a few minutes ago, it looked like this:

LottaNZB translators

You guys rock! Thanks again for your great work!

LottaNZB 0.4 will contain updated Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian Bokmal and Spanish translations and the new Turkish translation as well as a fix for those Ubuntu users who had problems with the automatic extraction of downloads starting with LottaNZB 0.3. Stay tuned!

If LottaNZB isn’t available in your language yet, feel free to translate it on launchpad.net.

LottaNZB has landed in Debian

January 18th, 2009 - Severin

First of all, I’d like to say that I’m sorry that it has been so silent in LottaNZB’s development blog during the past months. VuDu, thanks to whom LottaNZB is available in Portuguese, encouraged me to actually keep you updated, even though I’m not used to blogging at all. Wonder if this will change in the coming months.

LottaNZB entry in Debians NEW queue

As you can tell by the title of this blog post, we’ve got some great news! After our disappointing, non-existent efforts of bringing LottaNZB into the Ubuntu Hardy and Intrepid repositories, there’s finally some progress we can tell you about. In order to avoid duplicate work and because it’s not a good idea to only focus on a single derivative of Debian, I decided to address myself to the Debian project. After having registered LottaNZB at mentors.debian.net Jonathan Wiltshire provided me with numerous helpful comments about how to make the LottaNZB package more ready for the Debian repositories and pointed me out to the Debian Python Applications Packaging Team (PAPT). I finally got in touch with the Debian developer Piotr Ożarowski, who was so kind to polish and upload the package. Thanks to him, I learned numerous things about how to create high-quality Debian packages (conditional dependencies, handy dh_* tools in rules, which replace our own postinst script, etc.). I was highly impressed with how carefully the copyright and licensing questions need to be treated. For example, we weren’t sure if the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) we use for LottaNZB’s documentation is allowed in Debian’s repositories (it is, as of 2006). The LottaNZB package is now listed in Debian’s NEW queue. It might take some time until it’s finally possible to successfully run “sudo apt-get install lottanzb” on Debian machines. Since Ubuntu’s DebianImportFreeze has already taken effect, it looks like there’s no other way than making a sync request. If all goes well, LottaNZB should also be available in Ubuntu Jaunty. For those who’d like to always use the latest LottaNZB version, we might consider creating a PPA. We’ll keep you updated about that. It’s kind of a good feeling to know that LottaNZB will soon join ten thousands of other Open Source applications that together form the GNU/Linux ecosystem we love so much. And it’s also encouraging to continue the development. LottaNZB is older than a year now. We’re sorry to have missed to celebrate its birthday.

LottaNZB 0.4 released

December 27th, 2008 - Severin

It’s been half a year since our last release, so it’s time for LottaNZB 0.4! Below, you can find the full changelog, but here are some of the features. Most of the front-end code has been rewritten to make this the most stable version of LottaNZB we have released so far. We have also improved the categorization feature. This means that you can now add custom categories and it is now possible to automatically move your downloads to a corresponding directory. So if previously downloads were saved in Software–Mandriva 2009, the downloads will now be saved in Software/Mandriva 2009. This will help you to clean up your download directory.

Please let us know if you happen to find any bugs or if you have any questions on our Launchpad page. Since LottaNZB 0.4 does not contain all full translations we will probably release 0.4.1, which will include all translations, soon. We would really appreciate it if you would like to help us to translate LottaNZB to your native language. This can be done easily through our Launchpad translation page.

LottaNZB 0.4 can be found here! If you’re using the source package please make sure that you have the new dependency package (Kiwi). Have fun!


  • This is the first version of LottaNZB which is based on the Kiwi framework. Kiwi simplifies the development of graphical applications by providing an extensive set of high-level tools, which now replace our self-baked ones. Kiwi enabled us to significantly reduce the amount of code required to do certain things and paves the way for a faster implementation of new features, since we can concentrate on the things that matter.
  • Beside the graphical parts of the application, also the other parts have undergone a major rewrite. This did not only improve the reliability and maintainability of the code but also fixed a bunch of bugs.
  • The categorization feature has been improved notably. Users that don’t want to categorize their downloads are allowed to disable the feature completely in the preferences dialog. The others are rewarded with the possibility of creating a custom set of categories and – even more exciting – with a function that automatically moves a completed download to a directory named like its category.
  • The algorithm collecting HellaNZB’s log messages has become way more intelligent (LP: #245670).
  • Thanks to this, we laid the groundwork for a mechanism that analyzes all incoming HellaNZB log messages and extracts the interesting information. HellaNZB’s current interface for external application doesn’t provide us with much information. In future version of LottaNZB, you can expect more information to be displayed about the state of your downloads and LottaNZB will also know more about potential problems.
  • The way how LottaNZB manages its configuration has completely changed. Instead of an XML file an INI-style configuration file format is used. Internally, LottaNZB uses a decentralised configuration system with support for nested configuration sections, which makes LottaNZB more modular end extensible. There are plans for a plugin system which will make use of it. Any existing, old-fashioned XML configuration file is automatically converted to the new format.
  • Scrolling should now be possible in both the download list and the message log window and the lists won’t flicker anymore when updated.
  • Reordering the download queue using drag & drop has been made more predictable and hence sleeker to use. Dropping a download won’t unselect it anymore.
  • LottaNZB won’t crash anymore if the Usenet server configuration contains an optional property such as ‘fillserver’, ‘enabled’, ‘skipGroupCmd’ and ‘bindTo’. (LP: #251798, #280302)
  • Support for non-ASCII characters in HellaNZB configuration files, which makes it possible to choose a download directory with a name like “Vidéos”. (LP: #305248)
  • It’s possible to enable or disable the automatic extraction of completed downloads.
  • Users are informed when something goes wrong downloading an NZB file from Newzbin.
  • LottaNZB 0.4 speaks several new languages. Thanks to the work of numerous people, translations to Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian Bokmal, Polish and Portuguese have been added. Upgrading to a new LottaNZB version has become much easier for those who use the source package. The ‘install’ command will look for existing installations and prevent annoying version conflicts.
  • This list is far from complete. There are numerous other minor and major improvements not mentioned here. Give LottaNZB 0.4 a try and see yourself!

First progress report

August 21st, 2008 - Sander

It’s about time that this section on our site is filled as well. Therefore my first progress report! So, what have we been up to since 0.3.1 has been released?

Severin has been experimenting with the Kiwi framework, which will significantly reduce the amount of code we use in LottaNZB, which will (probably) make it a lot easier to add new features in the future. Severin has also been updating the way LottaNZB handles HellaNZB’s log. Since HellaNZB does not provide all information about downloads automatically, he added a way to be able to read HellaNZB’s log file. This way, we can more easily find out what goes wrong (if and when things go wrong).

In the mean time, I’ve been working on a couple of features as well. First of all, when you drag ‘n drop multiple files onto the LottaNZB window in the latest development version, it’s now possible to change the names and categories of these files.

Speaking of categories, there also have been some changes there. Categories can be disabled (you can choose whether you want to categorize your downloads), the standard categories can be changed and you can add your own categories! However, if you enable categories, downloads will now be (optionally) saved in a directory according to their category. Before it was like this: ~/Downloads/Category — NameOfDownload, it now will be: ~/Downloads/Category/NameOfDownload.

And last but not least, the latest development version has support for header downloading. You can select some newsgroups from your Usenet server and download headers from that group. All nzb-files that are detected in the headers will be displayed in a nice list, from which you can add the downloads to your download queue. Easy as that! In the future we’d like to add ‘watchwords’ which will make it possible to automatically download pre-defined things like tv shows as soon as they become available. However, for the time being I think that adding nzb-files directly from newsgroups is a nice feature by itself!

If you want to try these new features and test them a bit (I know there are some bugs to be ironed out before a possible release) follow these instructions:

If you already have LottaNZB installed using your package manager on your system, it’s a good idea to remove it beforehand.

In a terminal, type the following:
bzr branch lp:~avirulence/lottanzb/header-downloader
cd header-downloader

On ubuntu/similar:
sudo python setup.py install
On other linux distributions (as root):
python setup.py install
You might need some extra packages (like yEnc and pysqlite) to make all features work.

Now, to wet your appetite some nice screenshots:

LottaNZB 0.3.1 released

July 8th, 2008 - Sander

Unfortunately, a couple of bugs have arisen with the coming of LottaNZB 0.3. On the bright side: they have all been fixed in LottaNZB 0.3.1! We would really like the thank the two users (ocilent1 and Wilbert) and of course Steph for reporting the bugs we overlooked.

Get LottaNZB 0.3.1 here!


  • Usenet server ports are correctly saved again. (LP: #245787)
  • Fixed support for Usenet servers that don’t require a username and a password. (LP: #205326)

LottaNZB 0.3 released

July 1st, 2008 - Sander

It’s here! We know it has been a while since the last stable release, but finally we can launch LottaNZB 0.3! As you can see below, the changelog is quite large and this indeed means that we have some neat new features, but a lot of bugs got fixed as well! Enjoy! You can download LottaNZB 0.3 here!

Learn how to upgrade to LottaNZB 0.3.x, in case you’ve been using a previous version of the source package.


  • A brand-new usage mode selection window, which replaces the first-run wizard and the front-end mode preferences window. The new underlying code is much better at handling problems such as connection issues and configuration errors. You can now switch between different usage modes on the fly.
  • Newzbin.com support! Downloads can be added to the download queue by simply entering the corresponding Newzbin.com file ID.
  • New message log window. You can monitor both the messages from LottaNZB and HellaNZB, save them to a file or filter them as you’d like to. This is a convenient way to provide error messages if you encounter a bug.
  • A new application icon, which more or less follows the Tango icon style guidelines and thus integrates LottaNZB much better into different desktops. NZB files have their own nifty icon on GNOME desktops.
  • If the Python wrapper for OpenSSL isn’t available, it will prevent the user from activating SSL in the server dialog and display an information dialog instead. (LP: #217773)
  • In the front-end mode, no connection information are needed anymore. All it needs it to select the location of the HellaNZB configuration file and LottaNZB will parse it in order to know how to connect to the HellaNZB daemon and where the download directory is.
  • The LottaNZB threading stuff has been rewritten so that the GUI remains responsive while HellaNZB is being started etc. This might also have fixed some weird crashes in older versions of LottaNZB.
  • When saving the preferences, LottaNZB automatically restarts HellaNZB if it’s required to make the changes take effect.
  • If you’d like to specify a custom HellaNZB executable to be used in stand-alone mode, you can do this in the new usage mode window.
  • LottaNZB ensures that only one instance is alive at any given time.
  • LottaNZB now lets you enqueue NZB files and Newzbin IDs via command line: lottanzb [FILES and/or NEWZBINIDS...]
  • More intelligent input controls: For example, if only numerical or ASCII characters are valid, LottaNZB will take care of it. The ‘Download directory’ button and the Newzbin menu entry are disabled when they’re not meant to be clicked on.
  • Remote frontend connection issue was fixed.
  • Enhanced preferences handling: LottaNZB is very unlikely going to produce invalid HellaNZB configuration files and should be able to interpret existing files better than before. It also perserves already defined music types. (LP: #216547, 213509, #216566)
  • Enhanced distribution mechanisms: Once installed, LottaNZB can be easily uninstalled using “python setup.py uninstall”. And it’s easier for us to generate source tarballs, create Debian and RPM packages etc.
  • LottaNZB is registered as an application to handle NZB files, so that a simple click on a NZB file is required to enqueue it in LottaNZB. This should also work when downloading such a file using a web browser.
  • Debug messages aren’t shown on the console by default. Instead the –debug argument can be used.
  • And finally: numerous other bug fixes.

LottaNZB 0.2 released

March 30th, 2008 - Sander

Great news! LottaNZB version 0.2 has just been released. Below you can find a list of changes. For us it’s great to see that people are helping us out by translating LottaNZB and by offering packages. We’d like to thank you all very much!


  • New backend code, which is much more flexible than the old one, allowing us to add new features with less effort and to provide a more responsive user interface.
  • The information bar both shows the total progress and the progress of the active download.
  • UI improvements all-over the application: For example, buttons are disabled whenever the user is not allowed to click on it and if they have no effect.
  • Python 2.4 support. Thanks to Majestic for reporting this. (Fixes #200949)
  • Changing the maximum download speed instantely takes effect after hitting the save button.
  • Downloads can be reordered using drag ‘n drop.
  • LottaNZB doesn’t crash anymore if HellaNZB is shut down unexpectedly. Instead, a tiny reconnect dialog is shown. (Fixes #198055)
  • Support for newsservers that don’t require authentication.
  • Documentation, documentation! LottaNZB now ships with detailed help information in English, French, Danish, German and Dutch. The documentation can be viewed from within LottaNZB using GNOME’s help application.
  • New toolbar button, which opens the download directory in the file manager.
  • In the first-run assistant, a hint is displayed, which helps the user to choose a usage mode.
  • Danish and Spanish translation added. Kuddos to Kim Tholstorf and Miguel Latorre García for their great contribution!