Newsgroups are electronic bulletin boards where people can post messages. Each newgroup is meant to cover different topics, and thus, each typically has a name representing its topic.
One program that you can use to read messages in newsgroups (and to post your own messages) is called Tin. It works even from a plain text terminal.
You can start up Tin by typing at the prompt:
The first time you run Tin, it may come up with a Main Menu that lists no newsgroups:
This will be because you haven't yet subscribed to any newsgroups.
Despite the empty list of newsgroups, there are actually thousands of
newsgroups. To see these newsgroups, we can yank them in. We
do so by pressing "
In fact, we'd have to scroll down a lot to see all the newsgroups.
Notice that groups that you are not subscribed to (in other words, to
which you are unsubscribed) have a
u on their
Now, suppose we want to find a newsgroup about the TV show Dr.
Who. We can use the search command. To activate the
search command, we type "
/" (the forward slash):
On the bottom of the screen, Tin then expects us to type in a word or phrase that we think is in the name of a newsgroup and press <Return>. Here, we guess that the group will contain the word "drwho" and type that in.
Searching found a newgroup called alt.binaries.drwho (you may get a different group as your first match):
We can use the search command again to find more newsgroups
with "drwho" in their names. We just press "
and hit <Return> (since "drwho" is now the default string to search for).
Let's stop when Tin finds a newsgroup called alt.drwho.creative:
Note that it is the current group because it is highlighted. Since we don't know much about this group, we decide to go into it and take a look at the articles there. Since the group is highlighted, we simply need to press <Return> to go into the newsgroup.
We are now in the newsgroup and see a list of threads (you will see a different list):
A thread is simply a set of articles; more specifically, it is an article that someone posted and all the articles that respond to that post (they all have the same subject line).
Next to each thread (after the
+) is the number of articles
in the thread (like 2 for the first thread).
To view the articles in a thread, we just need to move to it using the arrow keys:
so that it is highlighted.
Then, we can view its articles by pressing <Return>:
Press <Space> to scroll through each article. We press
q" to leave the thread when done reading its articles.
Notice that after leaving a thread, we are back in the list of threads for the group alt.drwho.creative:
It may list a smaller number next to the current thread because we read some of its articles.
Now, to leave the group, we again press "
q" and arrive
back at the list of newsgroups.
Since we think the newsgroup alt.drwho.creative is
interesting, we decide to subscribe to it. To do so, we
simply press "
s" while the group's name is highlighted:
which subscribes us to that group. Notice it is no longer
marked as unsubscribed (there is no longer a
If we want to only see the newsgroups to which we are
subscribed, we can yank out the unsubscribed newsgroups
by pressing "
We now see only group(s) to which we are subscribed.
Finally, to quit Tin, we press "
q" to return to the
UNIX prompt. It will ask us if we really want to quit.