gnus-faq.texi   [plain text]

\input texinfo
@c -*-texinfo-*-
@c Copyright (C) 1995 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

@node Frequently Asked Questions
@section Frequently Asked Questions

This is the Gnus Frequently Asked Questions list.
If you have a Web browser, the official hypertext version is at
@file{>}, and has
probably been updated since you got this manual.

* Installation FAQ::      Installation of Gnus.
* Customization FAQ::     Customizing Gnus.
* Reading News FAQ::      News Reading Questions.
* Reading Mail FAQ::      Mail Reading Questions.
@end menu

@node Installation FAQ
@subsection Installation

@itemize @bullet
Q1.1  What is the latest version of Gnus?

The latest (and greatest) version is 5.0.10.  You might also run
across something called @emph{September Gnus}.  September Gnus
is the alpha version of the next major release of Gnus.  It is currently
not stable enough to run unless you are prepared to debug lisp.

Q1.2  Where do I get Gnus?

Any of the following locations:

@itemize @minus





@end itemize

Q1.3  Which version of Emacs do I need?

At least GNU Emacs 19.28, or XEmacs 19.12 is recommended.  GNU Emacs
19.25 has been reported to work under certain circumstances, but it
doesn't @emph{officially} work on it.  19.27 has also been reported to
work.  Gnus has been reported to work under OS/2 as well as Unix.

Q1.4  Where is timezone.el?

Upgrade to XEmacs 19.13.  In earlier versions of XEmacs this file was
placed with Gnus 4.1.3, but that has been corrected.

Q1.5  When I run Gnus on XEmacs 19.13 I get weird error messages.

You're running an old version of Gnus.  Upgrade to at least version

Q1.6  How do I unsubscribe from the Mailing List?

Send an e-mail message to @file{} with the magic word
@emph{unsubscribe} somewhere in it, and you will be removed.

If you are reading the digest version of the list, send an e-mail message
to @*
with @emph{unsubscribe} as the subject and you will be removed.

Q1.7  How do I run Gnus on both Emacs and XEmacs?

The basic answer is to byte-compile under XEmacs, and then you can
run under either Emacsen.  There is, however, a potential version
problem with easymenu.el with Gnu Emacs prior to 19.29.

Per Abrahamsen <> writes :@*
The internal easymenu.el interface changed between 19.28 and 19.29 in
order to make it possible to create byte compiled files that can be
shared between Gnu Emacs and XEmacs.  The change is upward
compatible, but not downward compatible. 
This gives the following compatibility table:

Compiled with:  | Can be used with:
19.28           | 19.28         19.29
19.29           |               19.29           XEmacs
XEmacs          |               19.29           XEmacs
@end example

If you have Gnu Emacs 19.28 or earlier, or XEmacs 19.12 or earlier, get
a recent version of auc-menu.el from
@file{}, and install it
under the name easymenu.el somewhere early in your load path.

Q1.8 What resources are available?

There is the newsgroup Gnu.emacs.gnus. Discussion of Gnus 5.x is now
taking place there. There is also a mailing list, send mail to
@file{} with the magic word @emph{subscribe}
somewhere in it.

@emph{NOTE:} the traffic on this list is heavy so you may not want to be
on it (unless you use Gnus as your mailer reader, that is). The mailing
list is mainly for developers and testers.

Gnus has a home World Wide Web page at@*
Gnus has a write up in the X Windows Applications FAQ at@*
The Gnus manual is also available on the World Wide Web. The canonical
source is in Norway at@*

There are three mirrors in the United States:



@end enumerate

PostScript copies of the Gnus Reference card are available from@*
@file{}.  They are mirrored at@*
@file{} in the
United States. And@*
in Germany.
An online version of the Gnus FAQ is available at@*
@file{}. Off-line formats
are also available:@*
ASCII: @file{}@*
PostScript: @file{}.

Q1.9  Gnus hangs on connecting to NNTP server

I am running XEmacs on SunOS and Gnus prints a message about Connecting
to NNTP server and then just hangs.

Ben Wing <> writes :@*
I wonder if you're hitting the infamous @emph{libresolv} problem.
The basic problem is that under SunOS you can compile either
with DNS or NIS name lookup libraries but not both.  Try
substituting the IP address and see if that works; if so, you
need to download the sources and recompile.

Q1.10  Mailcrypt 3.4 doesn't work

This problem is verified to still exist in Gnus 5.0.9 and MailCrypt 3.4.
The answer comes from Peter Arius

I found out that mailcrypt uses
@code{gnus-eval-in-buffer-window}, which is a macro.
It seems as if you have
compiled mailcrypt with plain old GNUS in load path, and the XEmacs byte
compiler has inserted that macro definition into
The solution is to recompile @file{mc-toplev.el} with Gnus 5 in
load-path, and it works fine.

Steve Baur <> adds :@*
The problem also manifests itself if neither GNUS 4 nor Gnus 5 is in the

Q1.11  What other packages work with Gnus?

@itemize @minus

Mailcrypt is an Emacs interface to PGP.  It works, it installs
without hassle, and integrates very easily.  Mailcrypt can be
obtained from@*

Tiny Mime.

Tiny Mime is an Emacs MUA interface to MIME.  Installation is
a two-step process unlike most other packages, so you should
be prepared to move the byte-compiled code somewhere.  There
are currently two versions of this package available.  It can
be obtained from@*
Be sure to apply the supplied patch.  It works with Gnus through
version 5.0.9.  In order for all dependencies to work correctly
the load sequence is as follows:
  (load "tm-setup")
  (load "gnus")
  (load "mime-compose")
@end lisp

@emph{NOTE:} Loading the package disables citation highlighting by
default.  To get the old behavior back, use the @kbd{M-t} command.

@end itemize

@end itemize

@node Customization FAQ
@subsection Customization

@itemize @bullet
Q2.1  Custom Edit does not work under XEmacs

The custom package has not been ported to XEmacs.

Q2.2  How do I quote messages?

I see lots of messages with quoted material in them.  I am wondering
how to have Gnus do it for me.

This is Gnus, so there are a number of ways of doing this.  You can use
the built-in commands to do this.  There are the @kbd{F} and @kbd{R}
keys from the summary buffer which automatically include the article
being responded to.  These commands are also selectable as @i{Followup
and Yank} and @i{Reply and Yank} in the Post menu.

@kbd{C-c C-y} grabs the previous message and prefixes each line with
@code{ail-indentation-spaces} spaces or @code{mail-yank-prefix} if that is
non-nil, unless you have set your own @code{mail-citation-hook}, which will
be called to to do the job.

You might also consider the Supercite package, which allows for pretty
arbitrarily complex quoting styles.  Some people love it, some people
hate it.

Q2.3 How can I keep my nnvirtual:* groups sorted?

How can I most efficiently arrange matters so as to keep my nnvirtual:*
(etc) groups at the top of my group selection buffer, whilst keeping
everything sorted in alphabetical order.
If you don't subscribe often to new groups then the easiest way is to
first sort the groups and then manually kill and yank the virtuals
wherever you want them.

Q2.4  Any good suggestions on stuff for an all.SCORE file?

Here is a collection of suggestions from the Gnus mailing list.

From ``Dave Disser'' <>@*
I like blasting anything without lowercase letters.  Weeds out most of
the make $$ fast, as well as the lame titles like ``IBM'' and ``HP-UX''
with no further description.
  ("^\\(Re: \\)?[^a-z]*$" -200 nil R)))
@end lisp

From ``Peter Arius'' <>@*
The most vital entries in my (still young) all.SCORE:
  ("" -1000 nil s))
  ("\\<\\(make\\|fast\\|big\\)\\s-*\\(money\\|cash\\|bucks?\\)\\>" -1000 nil r)
  ("$$$$" -1000 nil s)))
@end lisp

From ``Per Abrahamsen'' <>@*
  ("^..[^a-z]+$" -1 nil R)
  ;; $$$ Make Money $$$ (Try work)
  ("$" -1 nil s)
  ;; I'm important! And I have exclamation marks to prove it!
  ("!" -1 nil s)))
@end lisp

From ``heddy boubaker'' <>@*
I  would like to contribute with mine.
 (read-only t)
  ("^\\([Rr][Ee]: +\\)?[^a-z]+$" -1 nil R)
  ;; $$$ Make Money $$$
  ("$$" -10 nil s)
  ;; Empty subjects are worthless!
  ("^ *\\([(<]none[>)]\\|(no subject\\( given\\)?)\\)? *$" -10 nil r)
  ;; Sometimes interesting announces occur!
  ("ANN?OU?NC\\(E\\|ING\\)" +10 nil r)
  ;; Some people think they're on mailing lists
  ("\\(un\\)?sub?scribe" -100 nil r)
  ;; Stop Micro$oft NOW!!
  ("\\(m\\(icro\\)?[s$]\\(oft\\|lot\\)?-?\\)?wind?\\(ows\\|aube\\|oze\\)?[- ]*\\('?95\\|NT\\|3[.]1\\|32\\)" -1001 nil r)
  ;; I've nothing to buy
  ("\\(for\\|4\\)[- ]*sale" -100 nil r)
  ("\\[[^a-z0-9 \t\n][^a-z0-9 \t\n]\\]" +100 nil r)
  ;; To keep track of posters from my site
  ("" +1000 nil s))
  ;; Keep track of answers to my posts
  ("boubaker" +1000 nil s))
  ;; Some people have really nothing to say!!
  (1 -10 nil <=))
 (mark -100)
 (expunge -1000)
@end lisp

From ``Christopher Jones'' <>@*
The sample @file{all.SCORE} files from Per and boubaker could be
augmented with:
	  ;; No junk mail please!
	  ("please ignore" -500 nil s)
	  ("test" -500 nil e))
@end lisp

From ``Brian Edmonds'' <>@*
Augment any of the above with a fast method of scoring down
excessively cross posted articles.
  ;; the more cross posting, the exponentially worse the article
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -1 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -2 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -4 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -8 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -16 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -32 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -64 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -128 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -256 nil r)
  ("^xref: \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+ \\S-+" -512 nil r))
@end lisp

@end enumerate

Q2.5  What do I use to yank-through when replying?

You should probably reply and followup with @kbd{R} and @kbd{F}, instead
of @kbd{r} and @kbd{f}, which solves your problem.  But you could try
something like:

(defconst mail-yank-ignored-headers
  "Delete these headers from old message when it's inserted in a reply.")
@end example

Q2.6  I don't like the default WWW browser

Now when choosing an URL Gnus starts up a W3 buffer, I would like it
to always use Netscape (I don't browse in text-mode ;-).

Activate `Customize...' from the `Help' menu.

Scroll down to the `WWW Browser' field.

Click `mouse-2' on `WWW Browser'.

Select `Netscape' from the pop up menu.

Press `C-c C-c'

@end enumerate

If you are using XEmacs then to specify Netscape do
  (setq gnus-button-url 'gnus-netscape-open-url)
@end lisp

Q2.7 What, if any, relation is between ``ask-server'' and ``(setq
gnus-read-active-file 'some)''?

In order for Gnus to show you the complete list of newsgroups, it will
either have to either store the list locally, or ask the server to
transmit the list. You enable the first with

        (setq gnus-save-killed-list t)
@end lisp

and the second with

        (setq gnus-read-active-file t)
@end lisp

If both are disabled, Gnus will not know what newsgroups exists. There
is no option to get the list by casting a spell.

Q2.8  Moving between groups is slow.

Per Abrahamsen <> writes:@*

Do you call @code{define-key} or something like that in one of the
summary mode hooks?  This would force Emacs to recalculate the keyboard
shortcuts.  Removing the call should speed up @kbd{M-x gnus-summary-mode
RET} by a couple of orders of magnitude.  You can use

(define-key gnus-summary-mode-map KEY COMMAND)
@end lisp

in your @file{.gnus} instead.

@end itemize

@node Reading News FAQ
@subsection Reading News

@itemize @bullet
Q3.1  How do I convert my kill files to score files?

A kill-to-score translator was written by Ethan Bradford
<>.  It is available from@*

Q3.2 My news server has a lot of groups, and killing groups is painfully

Don't do that then.  The best way to get rid of groups that should be
dead is to edit your newsrc directly.  This problem will be addressed
in the near future.

Q3.3  How do I use an NNTP server with authentication?

Put the following into your .gnus:
 (add-hook 'nntp-server-opened-hook 'nntp-send-authinfo)
@end lisp

Q3.4  Not reading the first article.

How do I avoid reading the first article when a group is selected?

Use @kbd{RET} to select the group instead of @kbd{SPC}.

@code{(setq gnus-auto-select first nil)}

Luis Fernandes <>writes:@*
This is what I use...customize as necessary...

;;; Don't auto-select first article if reading sources, or archives or
;;; jobs postings, etc. and just display the summary buffer
(add-hook 'gnus-select-group-hook
	   (lambda ()
	     (cond ((string-match "sources" gnus-newsgroup-name)
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
			   ((string-match "jobs" gnus-newsgroup-name)
				(setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
		   ((string-match "comp\\.archives" gnus-newsgroup-name)
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
		   ((string-match "reviews" gnus-newsgroup-name)
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
		   ((string-match "announce" gnus-newsgroup-name)
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
		   ((string-match "binaries" gnus-newsgroup-name)
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first nil))
		    (setq gnus-auto-select-first t))))))
@end lisp

Per Abrahamsen <> writes:@*
Another possibility is to create an @file{all.binaries.all.SCORE} file
like this:

  (gnus-auto-select-first nil)))
@end lisp

and insert 
	(setq gnus-auto-select-first t)
@end lisp

in your @file{.gnus}.

@end enumerate

Q3.5  Why aren't BBDB known posters marked in the summary buffer?

Brian Edmonds <> writes:@*
Due to changes in Gnus 5.0, @file{bbdb-gnus.el} no longer marks known
posters in the summary buffer.  An updated version, @file{gnus-bbdb.el}
is available at the locations listed below.  This package also supports
autofiling of incoming mail to folders specified in the BBDB.  Extensive
instructions are included as comments in the file.

Send mail to @file{} with the following
line in the body of the message: @emph{get misc gnus-bbdb.el}.

Or get it from the World Wide Web:@*

@end itemize

@node Reading Mail FAQ
@subsection Reading Mail

@itemize @bullet
Q4.1 What does the message ``Buffer has changed on disk'' mean in a mail

Your filter program should not deliver mail directly to your folders,
instead it should put the mail into spool files.  Gnus will then move
the mail safely from the spool files into the folders.  This will
eliminate the problem.  Look it up in the manual, in the section
entitled ``Mail & Procmail''.

Q4.2  How do you make articles un-expirable?

I am using nnml to read news and have used
@code{gnus-auto-expirable-newsgroups} to automagically expire articles
in some groups (Gnus being one of them).  Sometimes there are
interesting articles in these groups that I want to keep.  Is there any
way of explicitly marking an article as un-expirable - that is mark it
as read but not expirable?

Use @kbd{u}, @kbd{!}, @kbd{d} or @kbd{M-u} in the summary buffer. You
just remove the @kbd{E} mark by setting some other mark. It's not
necessary to tick the articles.

Q4.3  How do I delete bogus nnml: groups?

My problem is that I have various mail (nnml) groups generated while
experimenting with Gnus. How do I remove them now? Setting the level to
9 does not help. Also @code{gnus-group-check-bogus-groups} does not
recognize them.

Removing mail groups is tricky at the moment. (It's on the to-do list,
though.) You basically have to kill the groups in Gnus, shut down Gnus,
edit the active file to exclude these groups, and probably remove the
nnml directories that contained these groups as well. Then start Gnus
back up again.

Q4.4  What happened to my new mail groups?

I got new mail, but I have
never seen the groups they should have been placed in.

They are probably there, but as zombies. Press @kbd{A z} to list
zombie groups, and then subscribe to the groups you want with @kbd{u}.
This is all documented quite nicely in the user's manual.

Q4.5  Not scoring mail groups

How do you @emph{totally} turn off scoring in mail groups?

Use an nnbabyl:all.SCORE (or nnmh, or nnml, or whatever) file containing:

((adapt ignore)
 (local (gnus-use-scoring nil))
 (exclude-files "all.SCORE"))
@end example

@end itemize