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The TECH Pages - The newsreader page
Usenet users, are you fed up with the limitations of the newsreader in your Web browser? If you'd like to have more features and facilities available, then you really need to use a stand-alone newsreader program. This page presents four of the most popular freeware newsreader programs available.
This page is aimed mainly at Windows users, but is beginning to support other platforms and operating systems. More support for non-Intel systems is planned. A link to the source code for WinVN is now included, as previously promised.
All of these readers have features in common, which are listed here:
Forte Free Agent
Forte's Free Agent is the most popular newsreader on the 'net, offering on/off-line newsreading and all the bells and whistles one could possibly expect for free. Please read the licence information carefully, as Free Agent is only free to non-commercial users. Free Agent is only available for Windows.
Kenneth Ng's News Xpress
Kenneth Ng's News Xpress is a compact newsreader which can be downloaded easily. It is free to all comers and may be freely distributed. Note that the 16-bit version is a beta - it's unlikely that it will ever be developed further. The 32-bit version has many extra features. News Xpress is only available for Windows.
WinVN is an on-line newsreader, but offers the some very comprehensive decoding and file-handling options. It is freeware and I finally have a link to the source code, as promised long ago. Note that WinVN has not reached V1.0 yet, but this is due soon.
NewsWatcher is probably the most fully-featured UseNet reader available for the Apple Macintosh. It provides anonymous FTP support, is freeware and can be downloaded in BinHex format.
DejaNews Research Service - Query Form
Tips for newcomers
If you've been using your Web browser for reading news then you should be able to find the settings you're going to need to set up your news reader software in your browser's settings - for example Navigator 3 users should look in the Options menu and go to Mail and News preferences...
When you first log on to your news server you will need to download the list of available newsgroups; have a cup of coffee and don't worry - you'll only need to update occasionaly - this list gets stored on your hard disk. Don't let this warning put you off - it's EASY! I just don't want to lead any newcomers down blind alleys. If you get stuck on the initialisation stage (i.e. what the hell is the name of my NNTP server?), a phone call to your Internet Service Provider should sort you out.