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Frequently Asked Questions

You can read news (and mail) from within Emacs by using Gnus. The news can be gotten by any nefarious means you can think of---NNTP, local spool or your mbox file. All at the same time, if you want to push your luck.

This manual corresponds to Gnus v5.10.8.

1. Starting Gnus  Finding news can be a pain.
2. Group Buffer  Selecting, subscribing and killing groups.
3. Summary Buffer  Reading, saving and posting articles.
4. Article Buffer  Displaying and handling articles.
5. Composing Messages  Information on sending mail and news.
6. Select Methods  Gnus reads all messages from various select methods.
7. Scoring  Assigning values to articles.
8. Various  General purpose settings.
9. The End  Farewell and goodbye.
10. Appendices  Terminology, Emacs intro, FAQ, History, Internals.
11. Index  Variable, function and concept index.
12. Key Index  
Other related manuals
-- The Detailed Node Listing ---
Starting Gnus
1.1 Finding the News  Choosing a method for getting news.
1.2 The First Time  What does Gnus do the first time you start it?
1.3 The Server is Down  How can I read my mail then?
1.4 Slave Gnusae  You can have more than one Gnus active at a time.
8.16 Fetching a Group  Starting Gnus just to read a group.
1.5 New Groups  What is Gnus supposed to do with new groups?
1.6 Changing Servers  You may want to move from one server to another.
1.7 Startup Files  Those pesky startup files---`.newsrc'.
1.8 Auto Save  Recovering from a crash.
1.9 The Active File  Reading the active file over a slow line Takes Time.
1.10 Startup Variables  Other variables you might change.
New Groups
1.5.1 Checking New Groups  Determining what groups are new.
1.5.2 Subscription Methods  What Gnus should do with new groups.
1.5.3 Filtering New Groups  Making Gnus ignore certain new groups.
Group Buffer
2.1 Group Buffer Format  Information listed and how you can change it.
2.2 Group Maneuvering  Commands for moving in the group buffer.
2.3 Selecting a Group  Actually reading news.
2.4 Subscription Commands  Unsubscribing, killing, subscribing.
2.5 Group Data  Changing the info for a group.
2.6 Group Levels  Levels? What are those, then?
2.7 Group Score  A mechanism for finding out what groups you like.
2.8 Marking Groups  You can mark groups for later processing.
2.9 Foreign Groups  Creating and editing groups.
2.10 Group Parameters  Each group may have different parameters set.
2.11 Listing Groups  Gnus can list various subsets of the groups.
2.12 Sorting Groups  Re-arrange the group order.
2.13 Group Maintenance  Maintaining a tidy `.newsrc' file.
2.14 Browse Foreign Server  You can browse a server. See what it has to offer.
2.15 Exiting Gnus  Stop reading news and get some work done.
2.16 Group Topics  A folding group mode divided into topics.
2.17 Misc Group Stuff  Other stuff that you can to do.
Group Buffer Format
2.1.1 Group Line Specification  Deciding how the group buffer is to look.
2.1.2 Group Mode Line Specification  The group buffer mode line.
2.1.3 Group Highlighting  Having nice colors in the group buffer.
Group Topics
2.16.1 Topic Commands  Interactive E-Z commands.
2.16.2 Topic Variables  How to customize the topics the Lisp Way.
2.16.3 Topic Sorting  Sorting each topic individually.
2.16.4 Topic Topology  A map of the world.
2.16.5 Topic Parameters  Parameters that apply to all groups in a topic.
Misc Group Stuff
2.17.1 Scanning New Messages  Asking Gnus to see whether new messages have arrived.
2.17.2 Group Information  Information and help on groups and Gnus.
2.17.3 Group Timestamp  Making Gnus keep track of when you last read a group.
2.17.4 File Commands  Reading and writing the Gnus files.
2.17.5 Sieve Commands  Managing Sieve scripts.
Summary Buffer
3.1 Summary Buffer Format  Deciding how the summary buffer is to look.
3.2 Summary Maneuvering  Moving around the summary buffer.
3.3 Choosing Articles  Reading articles.
3.4 Scrolling the Article  Scrolling the current article.
3.5 Reply, Followup and Post  Posting articles.
3.6 Delayed Articles  Send articles at a later time.
3.7 Marking Articles  Marking articles as read, expirable, etc.
3.8 Limiting  You can limit the summary buffer.
3.9 Threading  How threads are made.
3.10 Sorting the Summary Buffer  How articles and threads are sorted.
3.11 Asynchronous Article Fetching  Gnus might be able to pre-fetch articles.
3.12 Article Caching  You may store articles in a cache.
3.13 Persistent Articles  Making articles expiry-resistant.
3.14 Article Backlog  Having already read articles hang around.
3.15 Saving Articles  Ways of customizing article saving.
3.16 Decoding Articles  Gnus can treat series of (uu)encoded articles.
3.17 Article Treatment  The article buffer can be mangled at will.
3.18 MIME Commands  Doing MIMEy things with the articles.
3.19 Charsets  Character set issues.
3.20 Article Commands  Doing various things with the article buffer.
3.21 Summary Sorting  Sorting the summary buffer in various ways.
3.22 Finding the Parent  No child support? Get the parent.
3.23 Alternative Approaches  Reading using non-default summaries.
3.24 Tree Display  A more visual display of threads.
3.25 Mail Group Commands  Some commands can only be used in mail groups.
3.26 Various Summary Stuff  What didn't fit anywhere else.
3.27 Exiting the Summary Buffer  Returning to the Group buffer, or reselecting the current group.
3.28 Crosspost Handling  How crossposted articles are dealt with.
3.29 Duplicate Suppression  An alternative when crosspost handling fails.
3.30 Security  Decrypt and Verify.
3.31 Mailing List  Mailing list minor mode.
Summary Buffer Format
3.1.1 Summary Buffer Lines  You can specify how summary lines should look.
3.1.2 To From Newsgroups  How to not display your own name.
3.1.3 Summary Buffer Mode Line  You can say how the mode line should look.
3.1.4 Summary Highlighting  Making the summary buffer all pretty and nice.
Choosing Articles
3.3.1 Choosing Commands  Commands for choosing articles.
3.3.2 Choosing Variables  Variables that influence these commands.
Reply, Followup and Post
3.5.1 Summary Mail Commands  Sending mail.
3.5.2 Summary Post Commands  Sending news.
3.5.3 Summary Message Commands  Other Message-related commands.
3.5.4 Canceling Articles  
Marking Articles
3.7.1 Unread Articles  Marks for unread articles.
3.7.2 Read Articles  Marks for read articles.
3.7.3 Other Marks  Marks that do not affect readedness.
3.7.4 Setting Marks  How to set and remove marks.
3.7.5 Generic Marking Commands  How to customize the marking.
3.7.6 Setting Process Marks  How to mark articles for later processing.
3.9.1 Customizing Threading  Variables you can change to affect the threading.
3.9.2 Thread Commands  Thread based commands in the summary buffer.
Customizing Threading Loose Threads  How Gnus gathers loose threads into bigger threads. Filling In Threads  Making the threads displayed look fuller. More Threading  Even more variables for fiddling with threads. Low-Level Threading  You thought it was over... but you were wrong!
Decoding Articles
3.16.1 Uuencoded Articles  Uudecode articles.
3.16.2 Shell Archives  Unshar articles.
3.16.3 PostScript Files  Split PostScript.
3.16.4 Other Files  Plain save and binhex.
3.16.5 Decoding Variables  Variables for a happy decoding.
3.16.6 Viewing Files  You want to look at the result of the decoding?
Decoding Variables Rule Variables  Variables that say how a file is to be viewed. Other Decode Variables  Other decode variables. Uuencoding and Posting  Variables for customizing uuencoding.
Article Treatment
3.17.1 Article Highlighting  You want to make the article look like fruit salad.
3.17.2 Article Fontisizing  Making emphasized text look nice.
3.17.3 Article Hiding  You also want to make certain info go away.
3.17.4 Article Washing  Lots of way-neat functions to make life better.
3.17.5 Article Header  Doing various header transformations.
3.17.6 Article Buttons  Click on URLs, Message-IDs, addresses and the like.
3.17.7 Article button levels  Controlling appearance of buttons.
3.17.8 Article Date  Grumble, UT!
3.17.9 Article Display  Display various stuff--X-Face, Picons, Smileys
3.17.10 Article Signature  What is a signature?
3.17.11 Article Miscellanea  Various other stuff.
Alternative Approaches
3.23.1 Pick and Read  First mark articles and then read them.
3.23.2 Binary Groups  Auto-decode all articles.
Various Summary Stuff
3.26.1 Summary Group Information  Information oriented commands.
3.26.2 Searching for Articles  Multiple article commands.
3.26.3 Summary Generation Commands  
3.26.4 Really Various Summary Commands  Those pesky non-conformant commands.
Article Buffer
4.1 Hiding Headers  Deciding what headers should be displayed.
4.2 Using MIME  Pushing articles through MIME before reading them.
4.3 Customizing Articles  Tailoring the look of the articles.
4.4 Article Keymap  Keystrokes available in the article buffer.
4.5 Misc Article  Other stuff.
Composing Messages
5.1 Mail  Mailing and replying.
5.2 Posting Server  What server should you post and mail via?
5.3 POP before SMTP  You cannot send a mail unless you read a mail.
5.4 Mail and Post  Mailing and posting at the same time.
5.5 Archived Messages  Where Gnus stores the messages you've sent.
5.6 Posting Styles  An easier way to specify who you are.
5.7 Drafts  Postponing messages and rejected messages.
5.8 Rejected Articles  What happens if the server doesn't like your article?
5.9 Signing and encrypting  How to compose secure messages.
Select Methods
6.1 Server Buffer  Making and editing virtual servers.
6.2 Getting News  Reading USENET news with Gnus.
6.3 Getting Mail  Reading your personal mail with Gnus.
6.4 Browsing the Web  Getting messages from a plethora of Web sources.
6.5 IMAP  Using Gnus as a IMAP client.
6.6 Other Sources  Reading directories, files, SOUP packets.
6.7 Combined Groups  Combining groups into one group.
6.8 Gnus Unplugged  Reading news and mail offline.
Server Buffer
6.1.1 Server Buffer Format  You can customize the look of this buffer.
6.1.2 Server Commands  Commands to manipulate servers.
6.1.3 Example Methods  Examples server specifications.
6.1.4 Creating a Virtual Server  An example session.
6.1.5 Server Variables  Which variables to set.
6.1.6 Servers and Methods  You can use server names as select methods.
6.1.7 Unavailable Servers  Some servers you try to contact may be down.
Getting News
6.2.1 NNTP  Reading news from an NNTP server.
6.2.2 News Spool  Reading news from the local spool.
NNTP Direct Functions  Connecting directly to the server. Indirect Functions  Connecting indirectly to the server. Common Variables  Understood by several connection functions.
Getting Mail
6.3.1 Mail in a Newsreader  Important introductory notes.
6.3.2 Getting Started Reading Mail  A simple cookbook example.
6.3.3 Splitting Mail  How to create mail groups.
6.3.4 Mail Sources  How to tell Gnus where to get mail from.
6.3.5 Mail Back End Variables  Variables for customizing mail handling.
6.3.6 Fancy Mail Splitting  Gnus can do hairy splitting of incoming mail.
6.3.7 Group Mail Splitting  Use group customize to drive mail splitting.
6.3.8 Incorporating Old Mail  What about the old mail you have?
6.3.9 Expiring Mail  Getting rid of unwanted mail.
6.3.10 Washing Mail  Removing cruft from the mail you get.
6.3.11 Duplicates  Dealing with duplicated mail.
6.3.12 Not Reading Mail  Using mail back ends for reading other files.
6.3.13 Choosing a Mail Back End  Gnus can read a variety of mail formats.
Mail Sources Mail Source Specifiers  How to specify what a mail source is. Mail Source Customization  Some variables that influence things. Fetching Mail  Using the mail source specifiers.
Choosing a Mail Back End Unix Mail Box  Using the (quite) standard Un*x mbox. Rmail Babyl  Emacs programs use the Rmail Babyl format. Mail Spool  Store your mail in a private spool? MH Spool  An mhspool-like back end. Maildir  Another one-file-per-message format. Mail Folders  Having one file for each group. Comparing Mail Back Ends  An in-depth looks at pros and cons.
Browsing the Web
6.4.1 Archiving Mail  
6.4.2 Web Searches  Creating groups from articles that match a string.
6.4.3 Slashdot  Reading the Slashdot comments.
6.4.4 Ultimate  The Ultimate Bulletin Board systems.
6.4.5 Web Archive  Reading mailing list archived on web.
6.4.6 RSS  Reading RDF site summary.
6.4.7 Customizing W3  Doing stuff to Emacs/W3 from Gnus.
6.5.1 Splitting in IMAP  Splitting mail with nnimap.
6.5.2 Expiring in IMAP  Expiring mail with nnimap.
6.5.3 Editing IMAP ACLs  Limiting/enabling other users access to a mailbox.
6.5.4 Expunging mailboxes  Equivalent of a "compress mailbox" button.
6.5.5 A note on namespaces  How to (not) use IMAP namespace in Gnus.
6.5.6 Debugging IMAP  What to do when things don't work.
Other Sources
6.6.1 Directory Groups  You can read a directory as if it was a newsgroup.
6.6.2 Anything Groups  Dired? Who needs dired?
6.6.3 Document Groups  Single files can be the basis of a group.
6.6.4 SOUP  Reading SOUP packets "offline".
6.6.5 Mail-To-News Gateways  Posting articles via mail-to-news gateways.
Document Groups Document Server Internals  How to add your own document types.
SOUP SOUP Commands  Commands for creating and sending SOUP packets SOUP Groups  A back end for reading SOUP packets. SOUP Replies  How to enable nnsoup to take over mail and news.
Combined Groups
6.7.1 Virtual Groups  Combining articles from many groups.
6.7.2 Kibozed Groups  Looking through parts of the newsfeed for articles.
Gnus Unplugged
6.8.1 Agent Basics  How it all is supposed to work.
6.8.2 Agent Categories  How to tell the Gnus Agent what to download.
6.8.3 Agent Commands  New commands for all the buffers.
6.8.4 Agent Visuals  Ways that the agent may effect your summary buffer.
6.8.5 Agent as Cache  The Agent is a big cache too.
6.8.6 Agent Expiry  How to make old articles go away.
6.8.7 Agent Regeneration  How to recover from lost connections and other accidents.
6.8.8 Agent and IMAP  How to use the Agent with IMAP.
6.8.9 Outgoing Messages  What happens when you post/mail something?
6.8.10 Agent Variables  Customizing is fun.
6.8.11 Example Setup  An example `~/.gnus.el' file for offline people.
6.8.12 Batching Agents  How to fetch news from a cron job.
6.8.13 Agent Caveats  What you think it'll do and what it does.
Agent Categories Category Syntax  What a category looks like. Category Buffer  A buffer for maintaining categories. Category Variables  Customize'r'Us.
Agent Commands Group Agent Commands  Configure groups and fetch their contents. Summary Agent Commands  Manually select then fetch specific articles. Server Agent Commands  Select the servers that are supported by the agent.
7.1 Summary Score Commands  Adding score entries for the current group.
7.2 Group Score Commands  General score commands.
7.3 Score Variables  Customize your scoring. (My, what terminology).
7.4 Score File Format  What a score file may contain.
7.5 Score File Editing  You can edit score files by hand as well.
7.6 Adaptive Scoring  Big Sister Gnus knows what you read.
7.7 Home Score File  How to say where new score entries are to go.
7.8 Followups To Yourself  Having Gnus notice when people answer you.
7.9 Scoring On Other Headers  Scoring on non-standard headers.
7.10 Scoring Tips  How to score effectively.
7.11 Reverse Scoring  That problem child of old is not problem.
7.12 Global Score Files  Earth-spanning, ear-splitting score files.
7.13 Kill Files  They are still here, but they can be ignored.
7.14 Converting Kill Files  Translating kill files to score files.
7.15 GroupLens  Getting predictions on what you like to read.
7.16 Advanced Scoring  Using logical expressions to build score rules.
7.17 Score Decays  It can be useful to let scores wither away.
7.15.1 Using GroupLens  How to make Gnus use GroupLens.
7.15.2 Rating Articles  Letting GroupLens know how you rate articles.
7.15.3 Displaying Predictions  Displaying predictions given by GroupLens.
7.15.4 GroupLens Variables  Customizing GroupLens.
Advanced Scoring
7.16.1 Advanced Scoring Syntax  A definition.
7.16.2 Advanced Scoring Examples  What they look like.
7.16.3 Advanced Scoring Tips  Getting the most out of it.
8.1 Process/Prefix  A convention used by many treatment commands.
8.2 Interactive  Making Gnus ask you many questions.
8.3 Symbolic Prefixes  How to supply some Gnus functions with options.
8.4 Formatting Variables  You can specify what buffers should look like.
8.5 Window Layout  Configuring the Gnus buffer windows.
8.6 Faces and Fonts  How to change how faces look.
8.7 Compilation  How to speed Gnus up.
8.8 Mode Lines  Displaying information in the mode lines.
8.9 Highlighting and Menus  Making buffers look all nice and cozy.
8.10 Buttons  Get tendinitis in ten easy steps!
8.11 Daemons  Gnus can do things behind your back.
8.12 NoCeM  How to avoid spam and other fatty foods.
8.13 Undo  Some actions can be undone.
8.14 Predicate Specifiers  Specifying predicates.
8.15 Moderation  What to do if you're a moderator.
8.17 Image Enhancements  Modern versions of Emacs/XEmacs can display images.
8.18 Fuzzy Matching  What's the big fuzz?
8.19 Thwarting Email Spam  A how-to on avoiding unsolicited commercial email.
8.20 Interaction with other modes  
8.21 Various Various  Things that are really various.
Formatting Variables
8.4.1 Formatting Basics  A formatting variable is basically a format string.
8.4.2 Mode Line Formatting  Some rules about mode line formatting variables.
8.4.3 Advanced Formatting  Modifying output in various ways.
8.4.4 User-Defined Specs  Having Gnus call your own functions.
8.4.5 Formatting Fonts  Making the formatting look colorful and nice.
8.4.6 Positioning Point  Moving point to a position after an operation.
8.4.7 Tabulation  Tabulating your output.
8.4.8 Wide Characters  Dealing with wide characters.
Image Enhancements
8.17.1 X-Face  Display a funky, teensy black-and-white image.
8.17.2 Face  Display a funkier, teensier colored image.
8.17.3 Smileys  Show all those happy faces the way they were meant to be shown.
8.17.4 Picons  How to display pictures of what you're reading.
8.17.5 Various XEmacs Variables  Other XEmacsy Gnusey variables.
Thwarting Email Spam
8.19.1 The problem of spam  Some background, and some solutions
8.19.2 Anti-Spam Basics  Simple steps to reduce the amount of spam.
8.19.3 SpamAssassin, Vipul's Razor, DCC, etc  How to use external anti-spam tools.
8.19.4 Hashcash  Reduce spam by burning CPU time.
8.19.5 Filtering Spam Using The Spam ELisp Package  
8.19.6 Filtering Spam Using Statistics with spam-stat  
Filtering Spam Using The Spam ELisp Package Spam ELisp Package Sequence of Events Spam ELisp Package Filtering of Incoming Mail Spam ELisp Package Global Variables Spam ELisp Package Configuration Examples Blacklists and Whitelists BBDB Whitelists Gmane Spam Reporting Anti-spam Hashcash Payments Blackholes Regular Expressions Header Matching Bogofilter ifile spam filtering spam-stat spam filtering Using SpamOracle with Gnus Extending the Spam ELisp package  
Filtering Spam Using Statistics with spam-stat Creating a spam-stat dictionary Splitting mail using spam-stat Low-level interface to the spam-stat dictionary  
10.1 XEmacs  Requirements for installing under XEmacs.
10.2 History  How Gnus got where it is today.
10.3 On Writing Manuals  Why this is not a beginner's guide.
10.4 Terminology  We use really difficult, like, words here.
10.5 Customization  Tailoring Gnus to your needs.
10.6 Troubleshooting  What you might try if things do not work.
10.7 Gnus Reference Guide  Rilly, rilly technical stuff.
10.8 Emacs for Heathens  A short introduction to Emacsian terms.
10.9 Frequently Asked Questions  The Gnus FAQ
10.2.1 Gnus Versions  What Gnus versions have been released.
10.2.2 Other Gnus Versions  Other Gnus versions that also have been released.
10.2.3 Why?  What's the point of Gnus?
10.2.4 Compatibility  Just how compatible is Gnus with GNUS?
10.2.5 Conformity  Gnus tries to conform to all standards.
10.2.6 Emacsen  Gnus can be run on a few modern Emacsen.
10.2.7 Gnus Development  How Gnus is developed.
10.2.8 Contributors  Oodles of people.
10.2.9 New Features  Pointers to some of the new stuff in Gnus.
New Features (ding) Gnus  New things in Gnus 5.0/5.1, the first new Gnus. September Gnus  The Thing Formally Known As Gnus 5.2/5.3. Red Gnus  Third time best--Gnus 5.4/5.5. Quassia Gnus  Two times two is four, or Gnus 5.6/5.7. Pterodactyl Gnus  Pentad also starts with P, AKA Gnus 5.8/5.9. Oort Gnus  It's big. It's far out. Gnus 5.10/5.11.
10.5.1 Slow/Expensive NNTP Connection  You run a local Emacs and get the news elsewhere.
10.5.2 Slow Terminal Connection  You run a remote Emacs.
10.5.3 Little Disk Space  You feel that having large setup files is icky.
10.5.4 Slow Machine  You feel like buying a faster machine.
Gnus Reference Guide
10.7.1 Gnus Utility Functions  Common functions and variable to use.
10.7.2 Back End Interface  How Gnus communicates with the servers.
10.7.3 Score File Syntax  A BNF definition of the score file standard.
10.7.4 Headers  How Gnus stores headers internally.
10.7.5 Ranges  A handy format for storing mucho numbers.
10.7.6 Group Info  The group info format.
10.7.7 Extended Interactive  Symbolic prefixes and stuff.
10.7.8 Emacs/XEmacs Code  Gnus can be run under all modern Emacsen.
10.7.9 Various File Formats  Formats of files that Gnus use.
Back End Interface Required Back End Functions  Functions that must be implemented. Optional Back End Functions  Functions that need not be implemented. Error Messaging  How to get messages and report errors. Writing New Back Ends  Extending old back ends. Hooking New Back Ends Into Gnus  What has to be done on the Gnus end. Mail-like Back Ends  Some tips on mail back ends.
Various File Formats Active File Format  Information on articles and groups available. Newsgroups File Format  Group descriptions.
Emacs for Heathens
10.8.1 Keystrokes  Entering text and executing commands.
10.8.2 Emacs Lisp  The built-in Emacs programming language.

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