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1. General questions about slrn

1.1 What is slrn?

slrn (``S-Lang read news'') is a Usenet newsreader that runs in text mode on various Unix and Unix-like operating systems (including Linux), Windows, OS/2, BeOS, MacOS X and VMS.

It supports scoring rules to highlight, sort or kill articles to make reading news more efficient. Furthermore it is highly customizable, allows free key-bindings and can be extended using the S-Lang macro language. Offline reading is possible using either slrnpull (shipped with slrn) or a local newsserver like Leafnode or INN.

1.2 Where can I download slrn?

If you run Linux, your distribution probably contains a slrn package that might not offer the latest version, but is more or less ``ready to go''.

If you wish to obtain a more current version of slrn for Linux or another supported OS, details can be found at <>

Additional resources are available at <>.

Note: Upgrading is especially recommended if you are currently using a or pl2 version, in which significant bugs exist.

1.3 Where is slrn's documentation?

The source distribution contains a lot of documentation; on Unix-like systems, it is likely to be installed somewhere in /usr/share/doc or /usr/doc. It contains manpages (type man slrn at the command prompt), the slrn Reference Manual (manual.txt) and several other useful resources like a sample slrnrc (configuration) file.

If you are new to slrn, please make sure to read the file FIRST_STEPS. It should get you started.

If you cannot find this documentation on your system, you can find it online via <>.

1.4 Are there any mailing lists and/or newsgroups about slrn?

If you have general questions about slrn that are not covered by its documentation, please make use of the appropriate newsgroups or mailing list rather than writing to the maintainer directly:

The appropriate newsgroup for questions about slrn is There is also a German speaking equivalent (

slrn-user is a mailing list for discussion of the use, development and extension of slrn. You can subscribe to it through the web interface at <>.

To keep track of slrn's development, simply subscribe to slrn-announce. It is a low-traffic moderated list that informs you about new releases, important bugfixes or major changes to the website. The subscription address is <>. All announcements are also mailed to slrn-user, so there is no need to read both lists.

1.5 slrn appears quite stable. Why don't you call it version 1.0?

The main reason for the sub-1.0 version number is the poor handling of different character sets. Users of a modern newsreader expect it to support Unicode as well as legacy character sets. So, you'll see slrn 1.0 as soon as slrn is ported to the new slang-2 library and running reasonably stable.

1.6 How well are slang-2 and Unicode supported right now?

Since version, slrn compiles against slang-2.
Since version, slrn uses iconv for internal charset handling and supports UTF-8, with some bugs left.

Both versions were never officially released, although some Linux distributions shipped them.

In version 0.9.9 a lot of bugs in the UTF-8 handling have been fixed.

A current drawback of slang-2 is that its regexp engine lacks UTF-8 support. When you run slrn in UTF-8 mode, you should have your score file in UTF-8 as well. You may still encounter surprising results; in particular, regexp matching has no error handling for invalid UTF-8.

1.7 I upgraded from version to 0.9.9. What do I have to change in my slrnrc?

Since there were fundamental changes in the internal character set handling, the configuration of this has also changed. The configuration variables charset, editor_uses_mime_charset, fold_headers, mime_charset and use_mime, and the configuration command compatible_charsets are no longer valid. To set character sets for display, editor and posting, use the new charset command instead.

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