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Usenet reader

PostPosted: 2007-01-13 05:39
by Lavene
I follow a couple of very high volume news groups and currently use Icedove as my news reader. But being such massive amounts of messages only about 5% is really interesting. So I wonder if someone could recommend a more effective reader? Preferably one that can be effectively operated via the keyboard because with Icedove I find my self constantly move between the keyboard and the mouse.

It's perfectly OK if it's a command line/ curses app...


PostPosted: 2007-01-13 07:37
by stream303
I can heartily recommend the slrn newsreader for use at the cli or in a terminal.

Warning: once you start using slrn, it is hard to stop! :)

I forgot to mention that if you prefer to nab your articles and work with them offline, get slrn-pull as well.

Be sure to see:
for more info.

If you like mutt for mail, slrn makes a great news stablemate since they both use the mbox format.

PostPosted: 2007-01-13 13:19
by rbochan
I'll second the slrn recommendation. It's superb and well proven.
I would have also recommended Pan, if it weren't for the later versions. IMO, they're just awful compared to previous versions. I put version on hold right after the .10x version made it into Unstable. I'll keep it on hold until it breaks completely, then I'll start hunting for something else. If you haven't used Pan before, you wouldn't be missing anything and it might make a good choice.

PostPosted: 2007-01-14 11:34
by Lavene
Thanks! I have installed slrn... now I'm trying to figure out how to configure it :)
Looks cool though.


PostPosted: 2007-01-14 20:25
by stream303
Easy - just copy the supplied slrn.rc file to your home directory as a hidden file .slrnrc and change the defaults. Create a directory or two to hold things. Done! :)

I gotta' run, but later I'll post some of my cheat-sheet notes later to make life with slrn a little easier to get up and running...

PostPosted: 2007-01-14 22:53
by craigevil
Personally I like Gnus.

Gnus is a flexible message reader running under Emacs. It supports
reading and composing both news and mail. In addition, it is able to
use a number of web-based sources as inputs for its groups. The main
Gnus goal is to provide the user with an efficient and extensible
interface towards dealing with large numbers of messages, no matter
the form they may have or wherever they may come from. Gnus is a
fully MIME-compliant and supports reading and composing messages
using any charset that Emacs supports.

Gnus biggest strength is the fact that it is extremely
customisable. It is somewhat intimidating at first glance, but most
of the complexity can be ignored until you're ready to take advantage
of it. If you receive a reasonable volume of e-mail (i.e. you're on
various mailing lists), or you would like to read high-volume mailing
lists but cannot keep up with them, or read high volume newsgroups or
are just bored, then Gnus may be what you want.

PostPosted: 2007-01-15 08:21
by stream303
Ok, here are some of my cheat notes when I used slrn. Change "myisp" to your isp. I noticed that Debian also has a very cool dpkg-reconfigure slrn option! Nice.

I haven't set it up on Debian yet, but the following notes may help when I ran it on a bsd with the default shell (not bash). I didn't set up scorefiles or any of the other advanced features - just enough to get me to lurk comfortably.
1. copy /usr/share/doc/slrn/examples/slrn.rc.gz to my home directory.
a) gzip -d slrn.rc.gz then b) cp slrn.rc .slrnrc
2. chmod 644 .slrnrc
3. edit .profile and add:
4. edit .slrnrc in section 1 (make sure it will use the directories you want in steps 5 and 6 etc)
5. mkdir ~/News
6. mkdir ~/News/postponed
7. logout and then log back in to rehash the variables

Note that I didn't edit any usernames or passwords into the .slrnrc file, but will let myisp prompt me.

To initially start:

I edited .shrc and aliased slrn so that it would start in color, NOT read
the score file, and NOT look for any new newsgroups:

alias slrn='slrn -C -k -n'

slrn -f ~/.jnewsrc-myisp --create (get the entire newsgroup list initially)

subscribe to some newsgroups
*** Note: you can force a backup write of the .newsrc file with SHIFT-X ***

To NOT see the UNsubscribed newsgroups,
hit ESC-1-L Also useful is ESC-2-L

Once working, useful commands:
L (upper case -- List all groups)
g (refresh article list)

Obviously this is an embarrasingly rough guide. :)

PostPosted: 2007-01-15 13:10
by Lou
I use Pine, it has a .deb in the U of Washington site, i've kept the options i like in a file at my web mail, and it's a pretty fast configuration after the first time you do it.

Pine does the mail bit, and the news too, and it has an option in which you can erase the posts you don't like or erase them all after leaving the newsgroup by answering 'Y'. It's light and extremely fast.

I can post my .pinerc if anyone is interested.

PostPosted: 2007-01-15 21:58
by stream303
Lou wrote:I can post my .pinerc if anyone is interested.

I think that would be great. Part of the reason I went slrn was that I could never get pine to authenticate when my isp increased their security - I just couldn't figure it out.

For those of us who like our apps lean-mean, and cli, posting your .pinerc would be a great help.

So post it here - in a howto, or another thread?

btw, thanks for your great fluxbox howto - you really wrapped it up nicely and it has saved me from some unnecessary bloat. :)

PostPosted: 2007-01-16 13:47
by Lou
1. Install fetchmail
2. Configure fetchmail by opening .fetchmailrc

$ nano .fetchmailrc

and adding this:

poll proto pop3 user login_name password your_passwd

user login_name with pass your_passwd is login_name here

All you have to do is replace with the name of the mail server of your ISP, your_passwd with your password, and login_name with your login name.


poll proto pop3 user joeblow password xxxxx

user joeblow with pass xxxxx is joeblow here

An important thing to note. For Pine and this procedure to work correctly, your login name must correspond with the login name you use on your ISP. That is your local login name must match the one you use on your server, and your e-mail address.

Next, ensure that .fetchmailrc has the correct permissions (user read/write only).

$ chmod 600 .fetchmailrc

Fetchmail can be started in two ways, in standard mode (where it'll fetch messages from the server and
terminate), or in daemon mode (where it will stay active, and check/download mail every X seconds).

To use daemon mode, type fetchmail -a -d(Seconds between Polls). -a ensures it downloads all mail.

To use the standard mode, just type fetchmail -a. (this is my favorite):

$ fetchmail -a

3. Install Pine, go to the U of Washington site

and download the .deb, then from terminal:

# dpkg -i pine <press the TAB key to auto-complete name>

If it gives you any dependencies problem:

# apt-get -f install (that should take care of it)

you can keybind it in your wm, ( aterm -e pine)

open pine as user from the console or thru keybindings. Do some reading on the Pine site.

$ jpico .pinerc

will give you an empty file, these are my options, you can change them by opening Pine and doing S (Setup) and then C (Configure) to configure your Pine.

## .pinerc

personal-name=Joe Blow



customized-hdrs=From: Joe Blow <>
editor=jpico -rmargin 72 -tab 3 -french -spaces
url-viewers="/usr/bin/mozilla-firefox _URL_"
set locale="en_US"


Launch Pine, when it opens, type 'i' see your list of mail, type 'n' Enter.

For newsgroups, type 'l' choose your ng, etc, play with it.

PostPosted: 2007-01-16 23:12
by stream303
Thanks Lou! That's some great info which will help me a lot. I can see that my earlier setup missed a lot of good settings...