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1. Introduction

One of the problems with Linux today is the lack of variety and choice in newsreader software, where Windows has several newsreader programs with better features and better stability. Under Windows, three of the most popular newsreaders are Xnews, Dialog, and Free Agent.

Xnews, created by Luu Tran, is a freeware newsreader for Windows, available from the website Here is a list of Xnews' features listed on the website:

Unfortunately, Luu Tran has decided neither to make his newsreader open-source nor to release a Linux version. However, there is a way to get Xnews to work under Linux, although it takes a bit of work.

Dialog is a newsreader by 40tude. It is available at According to the website, "it supports multiple servers and identities, has filtering/scoring support, integrated email functionality and binary support including support for multiparts." The newsreader is "shareware for commercial users and freeware for private users." It works excellently under Linux.

Free Agent is the feature-slimmed freeware version of Forte's commercial e-mail and Usenet client Agent. It is available at According to the Features section of the website, the program has basic newsreader functions, message threading, multi-part binaries, translations, internal multi-tasking, and URL detection. It also has partial support for offline data storage, group properties, UI configuration, searching, and sorting. It runs with few problems under Linux after almost no extra configuration, except under Wine versions later than 20030813.

1.1. Prerequisites

This HOWTO assumes that:

  • The InfoZIP utilities are installed on the Linux machine. These are available at InfoZIP's web site. The unzip program is required if the reader wants to install Xnews or Dialog without copying from an existing installation. This is a standard part of most Linux distributions, but may not be automatically installed.

  • The Wine "emulator" is installed properly on the Linux machine. To download Wine, visit The version used at the time of this writing was 20031212. UPDATE (version 2.01): Wine versions later than 20030813 will not work. UPDATE (version 2.2): Wine version 20031212 may be required under more modern Linux setups. There are more problems with this version, and Dialog will not work, but older Wine versions will not "emulate" properly without it and will cause a crash upon trying to access NNTP servers. Try 20030813 first, and then try version 20031212 if you have problems.

  • The reader of this document has access to a Windows machine. Certain files are needed from the Windows operating system. Access to Windows 98SE is preferred. This HOWTO covers Windows 98SE and Windows XP. Windows ME files will also work when running Xnews if a Windows 98SE configuration is used.

  • Xnews stable version 5.04.25 is used (the beta version was not tested at the time of this writing). The website for Xnews is

  • Dialog version 2.0 Beta 28 is used. The website for Dialog is Note that Wine versions greater than 20030813 will not work with Dialog.

  • Free Agent version 1.xx is being used. The website for Free Agent is

1.2. Copyright and License

This document, Windows Newsreaders under Linux HOWTO, is copyrighted (C) 2003 by Daniel Quintiliani. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is available at

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

1.3. Disclaimer

No liability for the contents of this document can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and information at your own risk. There may be errors and inaccuracies that could be damaging to your system, although any damage is highly unlikely. Proceed with caution; the author(s) do not take any responsibility.

All copyrights are held by their by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark. Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

1.4. TODO for this document

This document may eventually contain:

  • This document may be expanded to cover other Windows newsreaders such as MicroPlanet Gravity.

This document will not cover the following newsreaders: XanaNews (I cannot get this to work) and newsreaders included in web browsers (Outlook Express, Netscape/Mozilla Mail and News, etc)