I’m one of the few people I know who still read news. Not newspapers, not news websites. Newsgroups.
Why have they fallen by the wayside on the modern internet? Something to do with the September that never ended? Who knows.
But there are a few select (mostly technical) groups which I like to catch up on every day or two.
NNTP seems to be a painfully slow protocol though – either that, or the various ISPs I’ve used are in the habit of throttling it. Neither would surprise me. But I’ve found slrnpull to be a great offline solution. It downloads all the unread articles in your subscribed groups, and stores them on your local machine for later perusal.
There’s even a Debian package for it – so it’s simple to install on my distro of choice. Except the package is broken, and doesn’t tell you how to fix it. Here’s a quick guide.
Enter the name of your news server
Append the names of the newsgroups you read. The comments within the file explain the syntax.
Tell cron to run slrnpull hourly instead of daily
This is the crucial step that seems to be missing from the package install script. A bug has been filed here.
Wait for the cronjob to run, or run it manually
You’re now reading all articles from the spool on your local machine, so there’s no network latency whatsoever.