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6.9 Gnus Unplugged

In olden times (ca. February '88), people used to run their newsreaders on big machines with permanent connections to the net. News transport was dealt with by news servers, and all the newsreaders had to do was to read news. Believe it or not.

Nowadays most people read news and mail at home, and use some sort of modem to connect to the net. To avoid running up huge phone bills, it would be nice to have a way to slurp down all the news and mail, hang up the phone, read for several hours, and then upload any responses you have to make. And then you repeat the procedure.

Of course, you can use news servers for doing this as well. I've used inn together with slurp, pop and sendmail for some years, but doing that's a bore. Moving the news server functionality up to the newsreader makes sense if you're the only person reading news on a machine.

Setting up Gnus as an "offline" newsreader is quite simple. In fact, you don't have to configure anything as the agent is now enabled by default (see section gnus-agent).

Of course, to use it as such, you have to learn a few new commands.

6.9.1 Agent Basics  How it all is supposed to work.
6.9.2 Agent Categories  How to tell the Gnus Agent what to download.
6.9.3 Agent Commands  New commands for all the buffers.
6.9.4 Agent Visuals  Ways that the agent may effect your summary buffer.
6.9.5 Agent as Cache  The Agent is a big cache too.
6.9.6 Agent Expiry  How to make old articles go away.
6.9.7 Agent Regeneration  How to recover from lost connections and other accidents.
6.9.8 Agent and flags  How the Agent maintains flags.
6.9.9 Agent and IMAP  How to use the Agent with IMAP.
6.9.10 Outgoing Messages  What happens when you post/mail something?
6.9.11 Agent Variables  Customizing is fun.
6.9.12 Example Setup  An example `~/.gnus.el' file for offline people.
6.9.13 Batching Agents  How to fetch news from a cron job.
6.9.14 Agent Caveats  What you think it'll do and what it does.

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