Terminal-based news readers configuration

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Terminal (text-based) news reader configurations

Generic client configuration

Most terminal / shell / text-based news readers need the following generic configuration to access news.cs.illinois.edu:

  1. Configure them to use news.cs.illinois.edu as their news server. This often set using the NNTPSERVER environment variable in your shell, or in a config file specific to your reader.

To set the NNTPSERVER variable under csh or tcsh:

setenv NNTPSERVER news.cs.illinois.edu

To set the NNTPSERVER variable under bash, sh or zsh:

export NNTPSERVER=news.cs.illinois.edu
  1. Configure the newsreader to use a secure, SSL connection. This might be labeled NNTPS or SSL/TLS or STARTTLS or just "secure connection". Not all readers support secure news. Newsreaders that do not support SSL can still be used with a proxy like stunnel. See our newsgroups stunnel instructions for more info.
  2. Configure the newsreader for user authentication. Sometimes an extra config flag or setting needs to be applied to make this work. Some newsreaders automatically prompt the user for their username or password. Sometimes you can configure it to cache your username, or password, or both so that you're not prompted each time it connects.

Your login is your NetID and your password is your Active Directory password (same as CSIL, EWS, Netfiles).

tin notes

tin does not appear to support SSL connections, but can be used with stunnel.

Set your NNTPSERVER environment variable as noted config above.

tin needs to be run as 'rin' or 'tin -r' to have it remotely read news. When it starts up, it will prompt you for your login and password.

If you do not want to be prompted for a password each time tin connects to the server, you can store your password in a file named .newsauth in your home directory. It uses the format:

news.cs.illinois.edu your_password your_netid 

Make sure to run 'chmod 600 .newsauth' on the file so that no one else can read your password.

pine/alpine notes

From the main menu in Pine (option M), go into setup (option S) and then config (option C). One of the options will be nntp-server. Arrow down to highlight that line, and press C (for change-value). Set it to the following:


When you're done, hit E (for exit) and Y to commit the changes. You'll be back at the main menu.

Newsgroups in pine are available under the Folder List (option L). You'll prompted for your password when you try to open the news option from the folder list. To see a list of newsgroups to add, select the Add (option A) and Control-T to see the whole list.

nn notes

This reader is untested with SSL connections. Our documentation will be updated with secure instructions soon.

Set your NNTPSERVER environment variable as noted config above.

You must run a version newer than 6.5.6 of nn to have authentication support.

Start the news reader, and it will prompt you for your NetID and news password. Then you can read news like normal.

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