knews(1) Karl's threaded newsreader for X


knews [ options ]


Knews is a threaded newsreader with an X Window interface that uses NNTP to get news. This manual is intended to explain things that are not apparent from the interface, so if you just want to get started, you probably don't need to read this.


In addition to the standard X Toolkit options knews accepts the following options, which set various X resources. For an explanation of what the resources do, see the sections on resources and the config file.

You don't have to type out the entire name of the option, as long as it is unique.

-nntpServer hostname

Sets the resource 'Knews.nntpServer' to 'hostname'. This will cause knews to connect to this server on startup.


Sets the resource 'Knews.bell' to True/False.


Sets the resource 'Knews.separateWindows' to True/False.


Sets the resource 'Knews.readActiveFile' to True/False.


Sets the resource 'Knews.retrieveDescriptions' to True/False.


Sets the resource 'Knews.fillNewsrcFile' to True/False.


Sets the resource 'Knews.keepThreadInfo' to True/False.


This will make knews install its own colormap.

-visual class
-depth bits
These will set the resources 'Knews.visualClass' and 'Knews.visualDepth'.


Will set the resource 'Knews.icaseRegexps' to True/False.


This will turn on/off inline images and color allocation.

-ncols number

Sets the resource Knews.nCols to 'number', which is the max number of colors knews will allocate for inline images.


Prints out the version and compile time to stderr and quits.


The articles in a thread are displayed as nodes in a tree. A border inside a node indicates that the article is unread, a border outside a node indicates that the article is 'tagged', and a dashed branch in the tree indicates a change of subject. By default, you can scroll around in the tree with the middle mouse button. An empty box in the tree indicates a 'fake' article, i.e. one that has expired on the server, has not yet arrived or was posted in a different newsgroup.


Articles in the thread tree can be tagged with the third mouse button. Clicking on a subject with the third mouse button causes the unread articles in that thread to be tagged in preorder (depth first). Once you have tagged the articles, you can mark then read/unread, save or pipe them in order, and so on.


Knews supports a simple form of clicking on URLs. It works by selecting a piece of text in the article text window and clicking on it with the middle mouse button. If there is no selection, knews will make a crude guess as to what the URL might be. The resource Knews.urlCommand must be set for this to work, see the section on X resources for details.


The all groups list and the kill list can be reordered by drag'n'drop. The default translation is the second mouse button.


You may abort the interaction with the NNTP server at any time. This causes the connection to be closed, and a new one to be opened. Note that this puts a certain load on the server.


Knews is capable of threading groups in the background while you are e.g. reading another group. To do this you click on one or more groups in the group list with the right mouse button. Knews then opens a second connection to the server and uses it to thread the selected groups. The status of the thread ahead is shown in the group list as a character:

-       The group is scheduled for thread ahead.
*       The group is being threaded.
+       The group has been threaded.


The regular expressions used by knews are POSIX.2 extended regular expressions, similar to those used by egrep(1), by default case insensitive. Note that these are not anchored by default, so that e.g. the expression 'alt' will match any string containing the three character sequence 'alt'. See Henry Spencer's excellent man-page for details, regex(7).


Article heads and bodies may be searched for regular expressions. Searching applies to read or unread articles as specified with the 'only unread' toggle, and starts with the 'next' article. The newsgroup list may also be searched.

Note: the 'Stop' button stops the search as soon as the current article has been retrieved from the server. This is different from 'Abort' which requires closing and reopening the connection to the server.

It is also possible to use XPAT searching, if the nntp server supports it. To do this, you fill in the 'Header' field on the search popup with the header you're interested in (e.g. 'Content-Type') and the wildcard field with a wildcard expression. Pressing 'Submit' then sends this to the server, and after a while it responds with a list of matching articles. You can then move between those articles with the 'Next' and 'First' buttons on the search popup.


In most places where knews uses file names, such as the save/pipe popup, the save/pipe action procedures, and the newsrcFile options etc, ~ is expanded to $HOME, and the following %'s are expanded:

%%      %
%n      The name of the current group.
%N      The name of the current group, capitalized.
%g      The name of the current group, slashed.
%G      The name of the current group, capitalized and slashed.
%s      The name of the nntp server.
%p      The number of the port the server listens to.
%a      The number of the currently selected article.

Slashed means that the dots are replaced with slashes. Note that if you save an entire thread to a file continaing %a, the number will not change with the article.


The kill file may be used to 'kill' (mark read) or 'hot' (mark interesting) articles, subjects and threads based on different criteria.

Each line in the kill file specifies an entry according to the following syntax:

(F)(S)(A)[Col] || Group regexp || Field expression


This is a character specifying to which header this entry applies. Legal values are:

'M'     The 'Message-ID:' header, by far the most efficient.
'S'     The 'Subject:' header.
'F'     The 'From:' header.
'X'     The 'Xref:' header.

Note that 'X' only works if the 'Xref:' header is included in the overview files from the server. Also note that the 'Re: ' prefix is not considered part of the subject.

Entries applying to a message-id automatically expire when the relevant article has expired.


This is a character specifying the scope of the entry, i.e. what articles are killed/'hotted' when this entry applies to an article. Legal values are:

'A'     This article.
'S'     All articles with the same subject.
'T'     The entire thread.
't'     The subthread starting with this article.


This is a character specifying the action of the entry. Legal values are:

'K'     Kill, which means mark read.
'H'     Hot, which means mark interesting.


In 'hot' entries, this is the color used to mark the relevant articles with.


This two character sequence is used as a separator.

Group regexp

Only newsgroups matching this regular expression will be affected by this entry. This field is empty in the per-group kill files.

Field expression

If the header field is 'S', 'F' or 'X', this is a regular expression, and the entry applies to all matching articles. If the header field is 'M', this is a message id; this id is probably the fastest type of kill entry, since it can be checked with a single hash lookup.

To see what articles were killed: when you have read all unread articles, or marked them read, use the 'mark unread, killed' feature on the misc menu.

When a kill rule is applied, hot articles are not killed. Since the entries in the kill file are processed in order, it is possible to put kills at the beginning, so that the articles are killed before they have a chance to become hot.

There is one global kill file (~/.knews/.kill-%s by default) and one kill file per group (~/.knews/%s/%g/KILL by default). The rules in the global kill file are applied before the per-group kill file.


Knews has internal support for content-types text/plain, message/rfc822, message/partial, multipart/mixed and multipart/digest. For other types, knews will look for a mailcap entry for that type (see mailcap(5)). If one is found, a clickable line will be inserted in the article text window that is used to start the viewer. If there is no viewer, then if the type is a subtype of text, knews will display it, if it is a subtype of multipart, knews will treat it as multipart/mixed, and otherwise knews will give the user opportunity to 'Save or Pipe'.

Mailcap files are found via the environment variable MAILCAPS, which is a colon separated list of path names. If this variable is not set, a default list of


will be used. Note that all files found will be merged to produce the mailcap database.

As a hack around miss/over designed mailcap files, knews will ignore entries for text/plain and multipart/mixed.


The following resources determine how knews will display an article of type text/plain with a particular charset:


The header, body and quote fonts are used for displaying headers, ordinary text and quoted text in the article window. Knews also has some support for encoded 16-bit charsets, this is specified with the encoding resource. Legal values for this are:

utf-7       The encoding specified for unicode in rfc 1642.
16-bit      Straight 16-bit network byte order.
hz-gb-2312  The encoding for chinese described in rfc 1842.
ksc-5601    Also called iso-2022-kr, described in rfc 1557.
big5        Another encoding for chinese.

Note that due to the authors non-existent understanding of asian languages these encodings have not been extensively tested. Lots of guess work here.

For every newsgroup it is possible to specify a default charset (see the section on THE CONFIG FILE). The fonts for this charset will be used to display articles without proper MIME-headers. Also, the listFont and treeFont (which may not be encoded) will be used in the thread list and article tree, respectively.

When specifying an encoded charset as defaultCharset, it may be desirable to still assume that headers are ascii. This may be accomplished by setting the 'headEncHack' resource listed above, and setting the headerFont to an ascii (superset) font.


Unless the config option assemblePartials is False (see the section on THE CONFIG FILE), when knews encounters an article of type message/partial, it will be rememberered. When all the parts have been seen, a notice will be popped up offering to assemble the parts.

There is also an entry on the misc menu that allows a number of articles to be tagged and processed to look for message/partial articles.


When you post an article containing 8 bit characters that doesn't have a Content-Type header, knews will add such a header with charset equal to the value of the defaultCharset config option. Also, when quoting articles with Content-Type: text/plain and charset equal to the defaultCharset, knews will decode the article before quoting. In both these contexts, the charset iso-8859-1 will be used if defaultCharset is not set.


Knews supports a rather obscure mechanism for communicating with an arbitrary program instead of an nntp server. Using knewsd(1), this can be used for reading news (in)directly from the spool dir, or even mail folders if they are in the correct format. This is how it works: If the nntp server is given as #str, where str is an arbitrary string not containing white space or the characters '/', '.' or '*', knews finds the value of the resource Knews.#str and tries to execute that program. The program has its standard input and output connected to knews. If you use this resource setting:

Knews.#spool: knewsd -spool /var/spool/news \
        -active /usr/local/news/active

with the appropriate paths for your system, you can read the spool directory by specifying the nntp server as '#spool' in e.g. the connect dialogue. This could easily be used to read mh(1) style mail folders too.


There are a number of X resources that affect the behaviour and appearance of knews. Most widgets in the widget hierarchy has resources named background , foreground , shadowWidth , and so on. For more information see the application defaults file included in the distribution. To get a feeling for resources, try editres(1).

Knews contains a small xpm-file to pixmap converter, so it is possible to use settings like e.g.

Knews*backgroundPixmap: ~/pixmaps/texture.xpm


If this resource is set, knews automatically connects to this nntp server on startup. This overrides the NNTPSERVER environment variable. If the server listens to a non-standard port, you may specify this e.g as If you don't want knews to autoconnect, don't set this or $NNTPSERVER.


This resource specifies the editor used to edit posts. Possible values include:

Knews.editCommand:  xemacs +%i %s
Knews.editCommand:  emacs +%i %s
Knews.editCommand:  xterm -e vi +%i %s

%s stands for the name of a temporary file, and %i for the line where editing should begin. The default value of this resource is a compile time option.


This command is used for clicking on URLs. %s is expanded to the URL, and the result is passed to the shell. As a simple security measure, URLs will not be allowed to contain quotes, parentheses, whitespace or ampersands.


If this resource is set, the misc menu will have a print option which invokes this command.

These are two shell command templates that will be used for mailcap viewers that have the needsterminal or the copiousoutput flag set, respectively. In these, %C will be expanded to the relevant mailcap command. An example should explain it:

Knews.needsTerminal:    exec xterm -e /bin/sh -c '%C'
Knews.copiousOuptut:    exec xterm -e /bin/sh '(%C) | less'


This should point to a file whose contents maps filename extensions to mime types. The syntax of this file is examplified by the following list of compiled in types:

image/jpeg              jpg jpeg
image/gif               gif
application/postscript  ps

This is used to guess the Content-Type of attachments.


Setting this resource to False will turn off the bell.


If this is set to True, knews will keep newsgroups alphabetically sorted when new groups are subscribed.


Setting this resource to True will make knews use a different top level window for the article text widget.


When knews starts a pipe or similar, it captures the standard error output and displays it in a notice popup. This resource is the time in milliseconds this popup should stay up. The default is 10000. Setting this to 0 means stay up indefinitely, and negative means no popups.


If this is True, knews will show the state of the article caches in a small popup. See the config options cacheAheadSize and cacheTrailSize for details.


If you have a mail address which isn't of the form '[email protected]', you can set this to the part of the address that goes before the '@', e.g.

Knews.mailName:      FirstName.LastName

Note that your userid will still be used for the 'Sender' header if necessary.


If this is set to True (the default), knews will use an icon.


Setting this to True will make knews ask for confirmation before disconnecting or quitting.


If this is set to True, knews will ask for confirmation before catching up a group.


If this is set to 'True', knews will ask for confirmation before leaving a group. If set to 'tagged', knews will ask confirmation when exiting a group if there are tagged articles.

Knews.visualClass       class
Knews.visualDepth       bits
If these are set knews will use a visual of the specified class
and depth. Typical values for depth are 8 or 24. Legal values for class are 'StaticGray)', 'GrayScale', 'StaticColor', 'PseudoColor', 'TrueColor' and 'DirectColor'. The depth will be ignored if no class is specified.


If this is set to True, knews will create its own colormap.


This boolean resource turns on/off inline images and color allocation. Knews can show jpeg, gif and png images (if compiled with support for this).


This is the maximum number of colors knews will allocate for inline images. The default is 137 (17 greys and a 5x5x5 color cube minus the 5 greys in that cube).


If this is set to True, knews try to allocate the same colors as other programs have already allocated, thus increasing the chances for color sharing. The number of colors is controlled by the resource Knews.nCols.

The following resources can be used to change various color, font and geometry settings:

These resources specify the number of lines and columns the grouplist widget will start up with. The default is 14 for lines and 84 for columns.

These resources specify the number of lines and columns the article text widget start up with. The default is 32 for lines and 84 for columns.


The width of the nodes in the article tree in characters. The default is 16.


The color used for rubberbanding in one or two widgets. The default is red.

The colors used for headers, ordinary text and quoted text respectiely in the article window.

The color and line style used for the border of unread articles in the article tree. The defaults are Red and False.

The color and line style used for the border of tagged articles in the article tree. The defaults are foreground and False.


The font used in the lists.


The color used for hot entries in the kill file when the specified color is invalid or cannot be allocated.

Some miscellaneous resources:


Setting this to False will make regular expressions case sensitive. They are case insensitive by default.

These set the default values for the corresponding configuration options. Their main purpose is to allow command line arguments. Read the section on the config file for details.

These set the default values for the configuration options newsrcFile and oldNewsrcFile, the default values are ~/.newsrc-%s and ~/.oldnewsrc-%s. A value not containing %s will not be accepted; if you want the traditional ~/.newsrc for a particular server, see the resource Knews.configNntpServer below.


This sets the default value of the config option killFile. The default value is ~/.knews/.kill-%s.


This is the template for the per-group kill file. The default is ~/.knews/%s/%g/KILL, so that e.g. the newsgroup will have ~/.knews/%s/news/software/readers/KILL as kill file, where %s is the name of the server, as usual.


The configuration file used by knews. The default value is ~/.knews/config-%s, a value not containing %s will not be accepted.

Setting configNntpServer will make knews Do The Right Thing when the user first connects to this server, which means setting the newsrc file for this server to ~/.newsrc when creating the config file.

If the configPostingAgent is set this will be used for the postingAgent config option for the configNntpServer.


If this is set to True, knews will generate a Path header for articles. The header will be 'Path: d!u' where d and u are such that the From header generated by knews would be 'From: [email protected]'.


The value of this resource will be used when creating a new newsrc file. If it starts with a '/', it is taken as a pathname of a file whose contents will be inserted into the new newsrc file, otherwise the literal value of this resource will be inserted into the newsrc file. The default value is



When knews checks for new groups, it uses the atime (time of last access) of the config file. Some filesystems (e.g. AFS) have no concept of atime, but fakes it with mtime (time of last modification) instead. Setting this resource to True will make knews forcibly update the mtime of the config file.


When knews connects to an NNTP server it reads a configuration file that will affect its behavior. This file is by default called ~/.knews/config-%s where %s expands to the name of the server, but this may be changed with the Knews.configFile resource.

The syntax of the config file is the same as for X resource files. When knews can't find the configure file, a new one will be created containing some default settings and a few examples settings that should be sufficient to clue you in as to how it works.

It is possible to used #include statements in the config file to include other files. Relative pathnames are considered relative to the current working directory, which for knews is always $HOME. ~ pathnames are not handled in #includes (if you want that you have to hack Xlib).

The following global (i.e. per server) options exist.

These specify the newsrc file and oldnewsrc file for this server. ~ pathnames and the same % expansions as for saving are handled. If oldnewsrc is set to an empty string, no backup of the newsrc file will be created.

The default values for these are the values of the resources Knews.newsrcTemplate and Knews.oldNewsrcTemplate, whose default values are ~/.newsrc-%s and ~/.oldnewsrc-%s, respectively.

For a way of automatically using the standard file ~/.newsrc for a specific server, see the resource Knews.configNntpServer above.


The kill file. The default value is the value of the resource Knews.killFileTemplate, whose default value is ~/.kill-%s.


This directory is used for storing cached articles and thread data for groups. The default is ~/.knews/cache-%s.


Setting this to False will stop knews from reading the active file when connecting, using the groups in the newsrc file instead. This will speed up connection on slow lines if you don't have too many subscribed groups. The default is the value of the resource Knews.readActiveFile, whose default is True.


A boolean option indicating whether to retrieve newsgroup descriptions from the server. The default is the value of the resource Knews.retrieveDescriptions, whose default is True. Setting this to False may slightly speed up connection time.


If this is set, the given file will be used to cache group descriptions: when retrieveDescriptions is True, knews saves the descriptions to this file and when retrieveDescriptions is False, knews reads descriptions from this file instead of from the server.


Setting this to True will make knews write all groups it knows about to the newsrc file, which may be a good idea if the option readActiveFile is set to False. The default is the value of the resource Knews.fillNewsrcFile, whose default is False, which means only put information in the newsrc file.


When this is True (the default) and readActiveFile is False, knews will try the "LIST ACTIVE wildmat" nntp extension. If this fails knews will complain and fall back to the old "GROUP" stuff.


This is a boolean option indicating whether to check for new groups when connecting to this server. The default is True. The atime (time of last access) of the config file will be used for the check.


This is a white-space separated list of groups to be automatically scheduled for thread ahead when connecting. The special values 'all' and 'All' may be used to designate all subscribed groups with unread articles and all subscribed groups, respectively.


Setting this to True will allow 'thread ahead' data to be saved between sessions: knews will not remove the files with this data when quitting, and when connecting knews will check for these files for all subscribed groups. If this is set, the options threadAheadGroups and keepThreadInfo will be ignored.


This indicates the time in minutes between automatic rescans. The default is 60 minutes, 0 means no automatic rescans. Regardless of this, rescans will only be performed at special points, to prevent a 'rescan-idle-rescan' loop.


The width of the group name in the group list, default is 42.


Setting this to True will make knews ask at which article the threading of a group should start. A hack.


If this is specified, knews will use this for posting, instead of posting via NNTP. If your server requires some kind of authentication that only inews understands, you could set this to 'inews -h'. Note that inews appends the signature, so you don't want knews to add one too.

Also see the resource Knews.configPostingAgent above.

These are used to implement the NNTP AUTHINFO USER/PASS protocol if required by the server. These exist mostly for backward compatibility; authentication is usually only required when posting, and then it is better to use inews for postingAgent, since presumably inews knows all about the required authentication.

Here is an example of some settings that will improve things over a slow network connection:

readActiveFile:          False
retrieveDescriptions:    False
descriptionsFile:        ~/.knews/cache-%s/descriptions
fillNewsrcFile:          True

but note that you will probably want to read the active file and group descriptions at least the first time you connect to a server.

The following resources may be set on a per group basis; they should be prefixed with the name of the group they apply to.


This tells knews whether to keep thread information in memory after the group is exited. This will make reentering the group fast. Legal values are: True, Subscribed and False. 'Subscribed' means only do it if the group is subscribed, and exists to allow settings such as:

*keepThreadInfo:    Subscribed

to keep thread info for all subscribed groups. The default value for this option is 'Subscribed' if the resource Knews.keepThreadInfo is set to True and 'False' otherwise.

These two set the sizes of the two article caches, the defaults are 0. The 'ahead cache' is used to prefetch articles from the server in the background using a second connection. The 'trail cache' is used to keep articles that you have already read, so that going back, saving or uudecoding will be faster. The maximum values for these are 32.


This indicates how the threads should be sorted. A thread consists of several subjects. These are sorted within the thread according to the order they occur. Then the threads are sorted according to the setting of this option. The legal values and their meanings are:

subject       Alphabetically by the first subject in the thread.
size          Number of unread articles in the thread.
full-size     Number of articles in the thread.
hot           Number of hot articles in the thread.
date          The date of the first unread article.
average-date  The average date of unread articles in the thread.
author        Alphabetically by the first From: line in the thread.
none          No sorting.

All these values may be prefixed with a minus sign to indicate a reversal of the order, or a plus sign which is a no-op. The default value is none.


Setting this to False will stop expirations from the kill file. The default is True, which means that Message-id kills will expire when you enter a group where the kill entry would have been applicable, but the article with that message-id was not found.


This string is used to attribute quotations when you post a followup. The default is

In article %m,\n     %f writes:

where \n is a newline. The following %'s are expanded:

%%    %
%d    The date of the quoted article in the form 01 Jan.
%f    The From: line of the article replied to.
%i    The initials of the previous poster.
%I    The initials of the previous poster, capitalized.
%m    The message-id of the article replied to.
%n    The current newsgroup.
%r    The real name of the previous poster.
%s    The subject of the quoted article.
%t    The time of the quoted article in the form 18:24:02.
%w    The week day of the quoted article.
%y    The year of the quoted article.

Thus '%w, %d %y %t GMT' will give the date in standard rfc822 format.


This is the full name used in the 'From:' header in the articles you post. The default is $NAME, if set, otherwise the gecos field from the password file, suitably truncated.


A colon and white-space separated list specifying which headers to show in the article window, and in what order. The default is


If the name of the header starts with a captial letter (From: as opposed to from:), knews will decode rfc1522 encoded words encountered in this header. (Those are the weird things that look like =?iso-8859-1?q?stuff_here?=.) Encoded 16-bit charsets are not decoded in headers yet.


This boolean tells whether message/partial articles will be remembered and offered for assembly.


Lines in an article matching this regular expression will be considered quoted lines, and may be marked with a different color and font. The default is

^[ \t]*[:>|]

which matches lines beginning with an arbitrary amount of white space (the \t denotes a tab, note that \t won't actually work) followed by a >, : or | character.

You will probably want to have this expression anchored...


The fonts for this charset will be used to display articles that lack MIME-headers. If this is not set, us-ascii will be assumed.

Also, rfc1522 encodings of this charset in the From and Subject header will be decoded when displayed in the article tree and the thread list. In this case, iso-8859-1 is the default.


A boolean option indicating whether to show the number of lines in articles in the thread tree. The default is the value of the resource Knews.showNumberLines, whose default is False.


The contents of this file will be used to sign the articles you post (before editing). The default is ~/.signature.


The width of the subject in the thread list, default is 56.

These strings are used for quoting when posting a followup article; the first one are used to quote lines that were not quoted in the original article, and the second one is used for lines that were already quoted. What lines are considered quoted is determined by the quoteRegexp. The defaults are "> " and ">" respectively. In these strings, %i is expanded to the initials of the previous author and %I to the initials, capitalized.


This string will be instered into articles that are also mailed to the previous author. The default is "[posted and mailed]".


If this is set, it will be used as the content of a 'Distribution' header. The default value is the value of the environment variable DEFNEWSDIS if set, otherwise empty.


A boolean specifying whether to show all headers in the article window. It also means turn off all MIME transformations. The default is False.


A string used to construct the 'Reply-To:' header in the articles you post. The default is the value of the environment variable REPLYTO if set, otherwise empty.


A string used to construct the 'Organization:' header in the articles you post. The default is $NEWSORG if set, otherwise $ORGANIZATION if set, otherwise nothing.


If this boolean is True, as it is by default, articles that are crossposted will be marked read in all groups when you read them, mark them read, kill them or catch them up.

Note that this only applies to subscribed groups, and will only work if the server's overview file contains the Xref: headers.


This string is inserted into the head of all articles you post (before editing). The default is empty. This could be used to put in Mime headers, like this:

*extraHeaders:   Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1


This is a combination of extraHeaders and attribution: it is inserted in the headers of replies and followups and the same %'s as in attribution are expanded. An example:

*followupHeaders:       X-Comment-To: %r


Uudecoded files will end up in this directory. Or rather, the forked off uudecoding process will be given this as its current working directory. The default is ~/News.


This program will be used to uudecode files: it will be given the bodies of the relevant articles on standard input. The default is NULL, which means that knews will do its best to filter out garbage and then pipe the rest to 'uudecode'.

Here is an example of how to set different signatures for different newsgroups:

swnet*signatureFile:     ~/.signature-svensk
de*signatureFile:        ~/.signature-deutsch
*linux*signatureFile:    ~/.signature-linux

The first sets the file ~/.signature-svensk for all groups in the swnet hierarchy, the second one sets the file ~/.signature-deutsch for the de hierarchy, and the last one sets the file ~/.signature-linux for any group containing linux as a component (not merely a substring). The file ~/.signature will be used for all other groups.


Knews defines a number of actions that can be tied to keys and buttons via translations. For the default translations, see the application defaults file.


Does the right thing.

kill-append(field, scope [, color])
kill-prepend(field, scope [, color])
These action procedures append and prepend respectively entries to the kill file for the current group according to the currently selected article.

Valid values for the 'field' parameter are "From", "Subject" and "Message-Id", and valid values for 'scope' are "Thread", "Subthread" and "Subject". If the color parameter is present, the entry added is a hot-entry with that color, otherwise it is a kill-entry.

It is probably a good idea to use these with field = "message-id", since message-id kills are very efficient and expire with the corresponding article.


This will popup a kill file editor for the supplied group. If no group is given, the editor for the global kill file is popped up.

mime-hack(content-type, content-transfer-encoding)

This action procedure reloads the current article, pretending it had the specified Content-Type and Content-Transfer-Encoding headers. For example mime-hack(image/jpeg, uue) reloads the current article pretending it has Content-Type image/jpeg and is uuencoded, thus makeing knews display it as an inline image.

The default key-bindings have the following:

ctrl-J      mime-hack(image/jpeg, uue)
ctrl-G      mime-hack(image/gif, uue)
ctrl-P      mime-hack(image/png, uue)

These move around in the thread tree. If the arg is 'read', they will also read in the relevant article, if arg is 'fake', they will also try to read 'fake' articles.

These move up and down in the lists. If arg is given, it is the number of steps, or if it contains a '.', the fraction of the window to move.

These two actions moves between modes.

These are combination actions. E.g. tree-or-list-up(arg) does tree-up or list-up(1), depending on which is relevant.


This rereads the current article. If arg is given, the article is displayed with full header and no MIME transformations.


This moves between the subject list and the thread tree. If arg is 'toggle', it toggles, if arg is 'yes' it goes to the tree, and if arg is 'no', it goes to the subject list.

These correspond to the options on the post menu. If arg is given as 'yes' or 'no', it indicates whether to include quoted text.

These perform the corresponding functions on the misc menu.

pipe(command, parts [, scope])
save(filename, parts [, scope])
Pipe and save actions. The argument 'parts' is a combination of the characters 'f', 's', 'h', 'b', 'e', corresponding to the 'bogus from', 'bogus subject', 'head', 'body' and 'empty line' options on the save popup window. The 'scope' parameter is optional, and is one of 'window', 'article', 'subject', 'thread', 'subthread' and 'tagged', corresponding to those options on the save popup.

These tag the unread articles in a thread or subject. If 'all' is specified, they tag all articles in the thread or subject.

These untag the tagged articles in a thread or subject.


This action tags all unread hot articles, same as on the misc menu.

Guess what.


Changes the size of the upper portion of the main window by the specified number of pixels.


Causes a group to be scheduled for 'thread ahead'.


Popups the 'find group' popup, same as the 'find group' option on the misc menu.


The X interface of knews is built with its own widget set plus the Layout Widget. You are welcome to use it if you like. Unfortunately there is no documentation.


This software is Copyright 1995, 1996 by Karl-Johan Johnsson.


The threading algorithm was inspired from trn. Thanks to Wayne Davison.

Knews uses Keith Packard's Layout Widget.

The distribution includes Henry Spencer's regex package for environments that do not have the POSIX.2 regular expression functions.

Thanks to Mattias Jonsson for ardent testing.

From the gif89a spec:
"The Graphics Interchange Format(c) is the Copyright property of
 CompuServe Incorporated. GIF(sm) is a Service Mark property of
 CompuServe Incorporated."

Any problems are of course entirely due to me.


If the server doesn't support XOVER, threading will be very slow.

The uudecode function may not recognize or correctly handle all cases.

The dithering algorithm used for grayscale images and color gifs (essentially 'closest match') is very poor.

AUTHINFO SIMPLE doesn't work for the second connection.

When the last article in a group has been cancelled, the number of unread articles may be incorrect.


Send bug reports to [email protected]