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I am looking for good newsreader (NNTP) program, which 1) is preferrably free, 2) allows me to see older posts, not just latest, 3) can download posts for offline reading, 4) has good indexing/searching capabilities, 5) downloads new posts in interesting threads automatically, but doesn't download posts from ignored threads.

I started with Thunderbird, as that's what I use for email, but I don't know how to get to older posts in Thunderbird.

I don't need handling of binary data, archives, etc. Just regular newsreader.

Which newsreader software do you prefer?

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closed as not constructive by Tom Wijsman, Sathya Apr 16 '12 at 4:54

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Would the decision be made easier with a poll (wiki)? –  random Jul 25 '09 at 14:04
1  
Decision would be easier with some options first. –  Peter Štibraný Jul 25 '09 at 14:05

8 Answers 8

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Thunderbird is fine as a newsreader. Just go to the group and click on File->Download next 500 messages

(It is a bit cumbersome if you want to download ALL newsgroup posts, but you can probably find an extension at Thunderbird Addons)

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Thanks! File -> Download next ... is exactly what I was missing! –  Peter Štibraný Jul 25 '09 at 21:27

Without a doubt,

Pan

Description from the site:

What is Pan?

Pan is a Usenet newsreader that's good at both text and binaries. It supports offline reading, scoring and killfiles, yEnc, NZB, and multiserver. It's also the only Unix newsreader to get a perfect score on the Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval evaluations. It runs on Unix and Unix-like operating systems, Mac OS X, and Windows.

I've used installs on both Linux and Windows. Here's a newsreader that threads discussions painlessly; can detect multipart posts and display them as a single entry, instead of 8 segments; allows you to actually reconfigure the font in each window pane for optimal (read: fast) viewing; and in general, gets things done, easily.

I've tried Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Outlook, Agent (briefly), Mozilla(aka Netscape) Mail and News, Google Groups, nn (from a command line), and probably a few others that I've forgotten. I kept coming back to Pan because each of them was missing some useful (and constantly used) feature that I wanted. In the end...it was just easier to stop hunt, and get on with life with something that works.

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Have you tried Google Groups? It provides a pretty decent interface to Usenet groups, including extensive archives. It doesn't meet all your criteria (offline mode, specifically), but might still be worth a try.

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Can I use it to read newsgroups from custom server? I want to access private, password-protected newsgroups. –  Peter Štibraný Jul 25 '09 at 21:27
    
@Peter Štibraný: No, it only provides access to Usenet groups and Google's own set of groups. :( –  arathorn Jul 25 '09 at 22:02

I use XanaNews, developed by Colin Wilson. Updated binaries are available here.

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+1 for XanaNews. Good suggestion. –  Pauk Jul 25 '09 at 21:20
    
Great newsreader. I was sorry to see Colin abandon the project, but fortunately someone else picked up where he left off. –  raven Jul 27 '09 at 14:55

Emacs Gnus is fantastic, once it is set up. Despite all the hard work of the developers to make it easy, it still requires a fair bit of fiddling to set it up. Once it's up and running, it has no equal.

Gnus comes with Emacs. The included info docs are enough to get it running. The newsgroup gnu.emacs.gnus exists and is active.

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I used Gnus long time ago. I remember that I laughed a lot when reading its documentation. But I don't think I want to go this way again. Thanks for suggestion anyway. –  Peter Štibraný Jul 25 '09 at 16:37

I've used various version of Agent, since 1996 (I still have email in my current database from back then), and use it daily now. Several upgrades have happened since then though. It's not entirely free, but you can try it out for 30 days at least.

You don't say what OS you are using, but I've also used previous versions of it on a Linux desktop under WINE (it's ben extensively rewritten since those days however)

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I use 40tude Dialog, despite the fact that is is no longer actively developed...

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It was actually developed as a 'Forte Agent' clone. –  Alister Bulman Jul 25 '09 at 17:08

Opera

Newsgroup reader in Opera is the same as the RSS feeds and email look, use and feel.

  • Free
  • Able to set time interval on auto download threads
  • Option to download for offline reading
  • Allows for threads to be ignored (possibly skipped)
  • Search is fairly done, same as searching Opera mail messages

No idea if it allows for calling back to older posts, this may be set by who you access the newsgroups through.

Other Opera users should update this wikied answer if they can expound or clarify points

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