George Davidovich freebsd at
Mon Mar 9 07:14:28 PDT 2009

On Mon, Mar 09, 2009 at 12:44:38PM +0100, cpghost wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 09, 2009 at 11:39:43AM +0100, Wojciech Puchar wrote:
> > > news/pan seems to work OK, if you want a GUI. But be aware that
> > > nowadays, you'll probably have to pay a monthly fee for usenet.
> > > ISPs don't seem to routinely offer it as part of the deal anymore
> > > like they used to.
> > 
> > at least in Poland there are free. and for my clients i have
> > nntpcache'd news from Gda?sk University.
> Actually, in most parts of the world, news are still freely available
> with many ISPs (you may have to ask them explicitly), except for
> alt.binaries.* which are quite bandwidth intensive.
> Your typical small ISP would rather save the bandwidth it takes to
> transfer all articles, esp. if only a fraction of them are accessed by
> their customers. It simply doesn't make sense for them to host
> binaries, unlike dedicated news providers which have enough customers
> to justify the expenses.

That's essentially correct, but it's worth noting that an ISP can
provide a news feed to their customers through one of the major news
providers.  It wasn't unusual not so long ago for dialup ISPs to offer a
full alt.binaries hierachy this way.

As for client suggestions, that typically depends on whether the person
is interested in text, binaries, or both.  Most clients are capable of
doing both, of course.  That's not to say that all do both equally well.
Right tool for the job and all that.

For text, I'd recommend slrn.  Gary is already using mutt, so I'd
suggest he go that route, or alternatively, try mutt's nntp patch and
use mutt instead.  Works perfectly well and it's what I use.  If reading
news is going to be a regular thing, then setting up a local server of
some sort (to pull down feeds from one or more providers) may be a
useful addition, though slrn does does provide a companion program to do
something similar.

Binary groups, on the other hand, are generally best handled by a GUI
client.  If you know what you're doing, command-line programs like nget,
nzbperl, etc. may be preferrable or useful additions.

The thing to keep in mind is that irrespective of what client one is
using, it's the quality of the feed that matters most.  At least for
non-casual use.  For a top notch feed, expect to pay out a few extra
bucks per month.  That typically gives you a host of other benefits that
would include a complete hierarchy, high retention levels, unrestricted
download speeds, web access, multiple connections, multiple servers,
NNTPS, HTTPs, Clarinet, and a direct line to customer support.

If you think you are or can get most of those for free (from your ISP,
for example), you haven't looked carefully enough.  Still, I think a
subscription to a pay provider is worth every cent, even for text


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list