I've never had much interest in Usenet-type newsgroups, but when I found that perl.org had some great beginners' Perl lists (perl.beginners, perl.beginners.cgi, and perl.macosx1), I wanted to find a good newsreader. I tried Thoth, MT-Newswatcher and the beta of Unison, but all the GUI-ness seemed a bit over the top for reading text-based news (I'm not interested in downloading binaries over Usenet). I also wanted something cheap or free, as I'm saving my money to get a licence for Omniweb 5 when it comes out of beta.

Then I found tin — a command line newsreader. There don't seem to be any binaries, so I compiled from source (you need the Developer Tools on one of the Jaguar/Panther install CDs for that). Amazingly, all went well, and I'm really impressed by tin. It's really easy to set up multiple NNTP servers and groups to read, and navigation using the keyboard is quick and easy. There's even a nice coloured mode, where different parts of quoted messages, headers and so on get coloured to make the display clearer. Marking, saving and filtering articles is also very straightforward.

My only problem at the moment is posting. I'd like to invoke Mailsmith when I hit the command for posting or replying to an article, and send all the data to Mailsmith, but I don't have any idea to go about this. I'm not even sure if the built-in method works yet. I don't want to look like a dork by posting a lot of 'test' messages to the newsgroups! I've just subscribed to the tin-users maillist, so I'll post a message there to see if anyone has worked out a way to do it, but if anyone reading this has cracked it, can you tell me the secret?

1 The latter isn't for beginners, but is useful for those of us on MacOS X.

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