News reading with Pine
This document covers intermediate/advanced features of Pine. To get the
most out of this document you should be comfortable with using Pine to
send and receive E-Mail.If you are not familiar with the use of Pine please
review the information on email/Pine.
Table of Contents
One of the features of Pine is the ability to read and post to
Pine creates a 'folder' for each newsgroup and
presents each posting in the same manner as a email message. For the most
part reading and replying to news is the same as reading and replying to
Pine uses the same commands for manipulating news folders as for mail
folders. This means, for example, that when you are done with a message,
you would use "D" to mark it as Deleted (or Dismissed, if you prefer.)
This "mail-like" behavior differs from that of most newsreaders, wherein
a message is automatically dismissed after you have looked at it
The developers strongly believe that Pine should offer as much
consistency as possible between mail and news, so the convention
--wherein a message does not magically disappear without explicit action
by the user-- is used for news as well.
In some instances Pine brings features not generally available in other
newsreaders such as the ability to postpone a message (and send it later)
in other instances, Pine may seem to have it's own special
Before you can use Pine to read news the program (Pine) must be configured
with the location of the news 'server'.
If your site only supports the Pine newsreader, this configuration will
already be done and you can proceed directly to
Reading News with Pine
If your system primarily supports another newsreader (such as Tin) you
will likely have to change the (Pine) configuration to let Pine know where
the news server is located...
- use the 'm'ain menu command and select 's'setup and
'c'onfig to find the user configurable options.
- the news server is specified in the line
nntp-server = <No Value Set>
Change the value of this item to:
You should enable the "enable-aggregate-command-set" feature in
Setu -->Config to allow you can use the Select command. This is useful
for operations such as "tag and deleting" messages or performing other
Reading News with Pine
The news folders (a group of which are called a 'collection') can be
accessed either via the FOLDER LIST screen, or via the 'g' GOTO
As noted above, Pine uses similar commands for manipulating news folders
as for mail folders. Pine keeps track of which messages you have
dismissed (marked as Deleted) just as in a regular mail folder. You can
use the 'D'elete command along with the 'x' eXclude
command to remove deleted messages from the Folder Index. Whenever you
open a newsgroup folder, messages marked Deleted are already excluded
from the Index by default.
Note: Because the Deleted flag is preserved between sessions, the
'&' unexclude command will restore deleted messages to the Folder
Using Pine to Post to a Newsgroup
As noted above, Pine uses the same commands for manipulating news
folders as for mail folders. This similarity (with Pine
email) carries over into the preparation of newsgroup postings.
When you use the Pine 'c'ompose command, Pine will assume that this is a
new posting provided you have been viewing a newsgroup (If you have been
reading mail Pine assumes that you want to send email).
Pine also assumes that you want to post to the current newsgroup and will
ask you to confirm this.
Pine menu options are listed at the bottom of the screen and
'context-sensitive' help is available. (See also: (*))
Posting to Multiple Newsgroups
You can include other newsgroups by either entering a 'comma' and typing
in the name of the next newsgroup
...or by pressing ^T (Ctrl-t) to get a list of all the available
Pine offers you a list of available newsgroups ...rather than a list of
newsgroups to which you are subscribed (...or the option to select one list
or the other). Happily you can use the 'w' (Where-is) option to search for
the name of a newsgroup.
Using Pine to Reply to News
When you Reply to a newsgroup message Pine offers you three options:
After selecting one of these options, the normal Pine commands are used
to compose and process the message.
- posting a follow-up to the newsgroup (or newsgroups if the posting
you are replying to was cross-posted to multiple newsgroups)
- replying to the author of this message, or
- replying to both the author and the newsgroup(s)
You can add or remove newsgroups from the target list. The 'delete line'
command can be used to remove an address if it is on a single line. If
you are adding a new newsgroup be sure that there is a comma between each
address in the list.
Unlike some newsreaders, Pine offers
you the opportunity to postpone a message and send it later.
A frequent operation in news-reading is "catching up"... that is,
getting rid of all the messages in the news group so that you can "start
fresh". At the moment, the easiest way to do this in Pine is via the
The process is to use the command set:
Selec -->Al -->Actio -->Delete
...represented by the keystrokes ; a a d . Note that the
"enable-aggregate-command-set" feature must be selected in
Setu -->Config before you can use the Select command.
Managing Binary (News) Files with Pine
Pine really shines when it comes to sending a binary file to a newsgroup.
This is because Pine uses the 'attachment' method and allows you to
browse a list of files in your home directory. In addition, Pine
automatically converts the binary file into an encoded format so that it
can be transmitted via Usenet news.
Pine Quirks and Bugs
With it's "roots" in email, Pine's approach to Usenet news has a few
quirks for someone who is familiar with some of the other newsreaders
that were developed specifically for Usenet news.
Pine Quirk - Adding a Newsgroup
To add a newsgroup in Pine you must change to the list of news folders
currently available. Depending on the way you enter these folders, Pine
will present you with two different sets of menu options, one of which
DOES NOT include the 'a'dd newsgroup option. This can be confusing
to new users.
To Add a Newsgroup
Select 'm'ain menu and 'L' (Folder List). One of the
available options presented is 'A'dd a folder. This applies to both mail
and news folders which are accessible via this route.
If however, you use the 'g'oto command and then '^t' (ToFolders) the menu
options DO NOT INCLUDE the ADD Folder option.
Pine Quirk - Moving from one newsgroup to another...
If you press the 'left-arrow' key while viewing a list of postings you
will be transported directly to the (Pine) Main Menu. This might become
irritating if what you wish is to view another newsgroup, you should use
the 'L' command (List Folders) to jump directly to the list of subscribed