nn: Success this time

Last time I tried nn, I got a succession of messages telling me my NNTP server could not be found, and so I took it as a sign that either (a) my configuration was all screwy, which is usually what happens; or (b) that nn was just too far gone to be useful any more.

Luckily, thisnameisfalse gave me a hint, and now I have something to show for my efforts with nn.


Lovely, isn’t it? I always feel so satisfied when a program works like I expect it should. … 😉

Ultimately the trick to getting nn to work was very simple:

kmandla@6m47421: ~$ export NNTPSERVER="news.aioe.org" 
kmandla@6m47421: ~$ nn

And from there, gravity took over. 😉 The irony of course, is that the installation warning for nn mentions setting the environment variable to your news server. So either I wasn’t paying attention, or I didn’t catch the warning. Mea culpa, either way.

The second irony is that after installing it and trying it out, nn falls very short of other usenet readers, in my humble opinion. nn can’t really stand up to slrn or tin, for that matter.

Yes, I suppose it is a contender for the least-configuration-required award. After all, slrn took a lot more work, and only tin can brag of a comparable fire-and-forget setup. trn … well, trn is special, I guess. 🙄

Sadly, I found nn to be a lot less intuitive than either slrn or tin, and I needed to bounce to the help page at almost every action. As with any program, I am sure I could learn the requisite commands if given enough time and experience, but compared to slrn or tin, where I was up and reading within minutes, nn is less obvious.

And of course, there is the lack of color to complain about. 🙄

I will give nn some points for being lightweight; pacman -Qi puts the nn package at a meager 685Kb, which is roughly what Debian measures it at, plus some documentation. That might not sound light, until you realize that tin is roughly three times that, and slrn is a whopping 2.4Mb. If you trust pacman -Qi, that is.

So there are the options: nn, as a light but somewhat cumbersome newsreader, or tin as a colorful and accessible one, or slrn as a gold-standard for usenet perusal. Plus whatever else surfaces in the days to come. … 😉

2 thoughts on “nn: Success this time

  1. thisnameisfalse


    I am more than happy that you could finally use my NNTPSERVER= trick!

    I follow your posts and can say that your blog is one of my favourite readings in the net.

    PS: I was an USENET user (slrn), but in the last three or four years I have not connected anymore. It’s sad, but my information sources today are blogs (RSS is an invaluable tool) and maillists. I can not stand web forums (PHP and so on): I read some of them by RSS feed.


    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Thank you again, that helped a lot. I hadn’t ever really worked with usenet much, and didn’t see a big difference between that and forums. But I can understand your dislike for the forum style. It does invite a different element sometimes.

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