Newsreader (Usenet)

A news reader (also news client or NUA for news user agent) is a computer program for reading and writing messages in newsgroups of Usenet.

The newsreader programs (eg Mozilla Thunderbird) must be installed on the computer usually first. As an alternative to newsreaders, there are also web interfaces such as Google Groups for participation in Usenet. The advantage of such Web interfaces is a lower initial cost when installing and learning of coping, a disadvantage often limited functionality.


In this section the main aspects of newsreaders are explained.

Server communication

News readers can share data usually with one or more news servers. This is to computers in the network that provide foreign products and forward your own articles. The most commonly used protocol is NNTP. When commissioning a news reader, the user enters the corresponding access (server host name, port, user ID and password) to download the list of available groups and selects from those groups in which he wishes to participate.

The user can then download product data in these groups, namely

  • Either full article
  • Or only the head ( header), so information about the actual article text (body or body ).

Data Storage

Depending on the newsreader product data is cached locally or always read from the server. The local storage requires more space on the part of the user, but also leaves the offline mode in order to minimize line costs. Often a work faster in offline mode, and in articles may be offered a full text search.

In addition, the news reader can save what items the user has already read.

User interface

There are both news reader for the text mode as well as those for the graphics mode. Typically features a newsreader the ability to display and navigation in

  • The list of subscribed groups,
  • The Article overview for a group and
  • A single item.

The article overview of a group usually provides a tree view, are visualized in the threads, so logically related articles ( original articles and arbitrarily deeply nested response items).

Writing Articles

Depending on the newsreader writing of new articles in an internal or external text editor is enabled. Then the item will be shipped immediately or at the next on-line connection to the server so that the server known to him and indirectly to all the other readers of the groups passes him directly, in which this article was set.

Binary data

Newsreader for binary groups are also able, often divided into many individual articles and by methods such as yEnc encoded binary files to load. In addition, the reverse process is possible, ie the splitting of binaries, their coding and sending in appropriate groups.


The first newsreader (eg, read news) were line-oriented. VNEWS by Kenneth Almquist was probably the first page-oriented newsreader. Its operation was very similar to that of read news, but also influenced the program notes.

With rn by Larry Wall in 1984 saw a further page -oriented newsreader the light of day. rn has a whole series of subsequent news readers such as trn inspired by Wayne Davison, xrn by Rick Spickelmier or 1994 slrn by John E. Davis.

Kim F. Storm also wrote 1984 nn, one of the few news readers, which were not affected by read news or VNEWS or descended. Also tass Rich Skrentas based more on notes rather than read news; Iain Lea 1991 he served as the basis for tin.

After a series of various developments in newsreaders Ron Newman wrote in 1994 a document that describes the minimum requirements for a newsreader. This document later became the Good Net- Keeping Seal of Approval. Meanwhile, a test form is created from it, by means of which various clients can be tested for their "fitness ".