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2. Xnews

2.1. Setting up Xnews

2.1.1. Configuring Wine for Xnews

Wine is capable of "emulating" many different versions of Windows. Wine is not perfect, however; it runs slower than a normal Windows installation and it is not a stable product. Certain problems occur when running Xnews; these are discussed in the "Problems and Issues" section of the document.

Before Xnews can run under Linux, certain files from a Windows installation need to be copied to the Xnews root directory. Depending on which version of Windows you have access to, there will be different files to copy and different instructions for configuring Wine. This document currently covers a Windows 98SE/Windows ME and a Windows XP configuration. A Windows 98SE/Windows ME configuration is preferred, since there are some more problems with a Windows XP configuration. Below are the instructions describing how to configure Wine for Xnews.

2.1.1.1. Windows 98SE / Windows ME

If you have access to a Windows 98SE or Windows ME machine, you must set up the Wine configuration file (found at $HOME/.wine/config) according to these instructions.

First, find the section "[Version]" in the .wine/config file, and make sure that "win98" is the version Wine will imitate:


     [Version]
     ; Windows version to imitate (win95,win98,winme,nt351,nt40,win2k,winxp,win20,win30,win31)
     "Windows" = "win98"

Second, update the "DllOverrides" section which will tell Wine to use certain files from Windows rather than Wine.


     [DllOverrides]
     ; some dlls you may want to change
     "shell"        = "native, builtin"
     "shell32"      = "native, builtin"

Third, add an entry to the "AppDefaults" section which will also tell Wine to use certain files from Windows rather than Wine.


    ;; sample AppDefaults entries

    [AppDefaults\\Xnews.exe\\DllOverrides]
    "commctrl.dll" = "native"
    "comctl32.dll" = "native"
    "riched32.dll" = "native"
    "shell.dll" = "native"
    "shell32.dll" = "native"
    "comdlg32.dll" = "native"

2.1.1.2. Windows XP

If you have access to a Windows XP machine, you must set up the Wine configuration file (found at $HOME/.wine/config) according to these instructions.

First, find the section "[Version]" in the .wine/config file, and make sure that "win98" is the version Wine will imitate:


     [Version]
     ; Windows version to imitate (win95,win98,winme,nt351,nt40,win2k,winxp,win20,win30,win31)
     "Windows" = "win98"

Second, add an entry to the "AppDefaults" section which will tell Wine to use certain files from Windows rather than Wine.


    ;; sample AppDefaults entries

    [AppDefaults\\Xnews.exe\\DllOverrides]
    "comctl32.dll" = "native"
    "riched32.dll" = "native"
    "riched20.dll" = "native"

2.1.2. Copying and/or Extracting Required Files

Several DLL files must first be copied to the root Xnews directory from an existing Windows installation.

If Xnews lies on a Windows partition on the same machine, you must copy the DLL files to the Xnews root directory. Xnews will be run from this directory on the Windows partition.

If Xnews is being run on a Linux-only machine, you must download Xnews to your fake C drive (usually $HOME/c) and extract it into a directory there. Open up a terminal window, navigate to your fake C drive, and type the following commands:


     mkdir Xnews
     mv xnews.zip Xnews
     cd Xnews
     unzip xnews.zip

Alternatively, you may copy an existing Xnews folder to your fake C drive. The root Xnews directory must include the DLL files mentioned in the following subsections.

2.1.2.1. Windows 98SE

If you have access to a Windows 98SE machine, copy the files commctrl.dll, comctl32.dll, riched32.dll, comdlg32.dll, shell.dll, and shell32.dll (usually in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM) to the root Xnews directory.

2.1.2.2. Windows XP

If you have access to a Windows XP machine, copy the files comctl32.dll, riched20.dll, and riched32.dll (usually in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32) to the root Xnews directory.

2.2. Running Xnews

Using a terminal window, navigate to the root Xnews directory and type:


     wine Xnews.exe

Use Xnews normally, noting the exceptions in the next section, entitled "Problems and Issues" Note that these are problems with Wine's "emulation," not Xnews.

2.3. Problems and Issues

2.3.1. Fixed-width fonts and alt.ascii-art

ASCII art requires fixed-width fonts to view. Clicking the fixed font button above the message headers will simply lock the message so that the vertical scrollbar will not work.

The easiest way to deal with this is to go into "Special -> Setup Xnews -> Fonts and Colors" and select a fixed font for all types of text. The default "Fixed" will not work; use "Misc Fixed", size 12.

2.3.2. Erasing sections of text

Selecting sections of text with the mouse and pressing Backspace or Delete will delete the text from the screen, but for some reason it might still look like it's there when the message is sent or posted.

To solve this problem, press the "Rewrap" button below the message headers.

2.3.3. Window sizing problems

There are several problems relating to the sizing of the windows. When the CatchUp button is clicked, the main groups list window shrinks and must be maximized. These are mostly minor annoyances, except...

2.3.3.1. Closing Xnews

Depending on the window manager (Sawfish has problems with this), it may be impossible to close the Xnews window, and there is no "Exit" option in the main menu. To get around this, make sure that the window is sized so that the terminal used to launch Xnews is accessible, and close that terminal. Do not press Ctrl-C, etc as this will cause problems. Be sure to click the Save button to save the newsrc first.

2.3.4. Binary newsgroups

The posting of binaries to newsgroups does not currently work. An attempted post will lock at 1% completion and give an error message when the post is aborted, posting only the text portion of the message. However, the combining and decoding of binaries works with no problems at all.

2.3.5. Text on some tabs are indented

If Windows XP is "emulated," certain tabs will have text indented, leaving some of it out of visibility. The solution is to use Windows 98SE files instead of XP files. It isn't that important. UPDATED: Version 2.0 of this document includes new instructions which solve this problem when Windows XP files are used.

2.3.6. No sample text in font selection dialog

If Windows XP is "emulated," the font selection dialog will not show sample text. According to a Wine mailing list message, there are certain un-"emulated" functions in Windows XP "emulation." Version 1.1 of this document was updated with new files to copy and configure when using Windows 98SE "emulation" in order to solve this problem. Until the Wine developers implement these Windows XP functions, use a Windows 98SE configuration to get around this issue. If a Windows 98SE computer is not available, just apply changes and look at the main window.

2.3.7. Web links can not be executed

Web links can not be executed from within the Xnews message window. This is pretty obvious as there is no integrated Web browser in Wine. However, Wine's clipboard works with no problem. Select the link and copy and paste into an open web browser window.

2.3.7.1. Web link doesn't always copy

When you try and copy a Web link to the clipboard, it may not copy. This occurs when the link as a whole is copied rather than selected text. The solution to this is to make sure that as you are selecting the text, the rest of the link is not automatically selected. If this continues, select the blank space before the link and copy with the preceding blank space.

2.3.8. Sound does not work

Event sounds in Xnews do not currently work. Updated instructions for this may be included in future versions of this document.

UPDATED (version 2.11): Event sounds work properly. If you run KDE, you first need to turn off the aRts soundserver by going into Settings -> Control Center -> Sounds & Multimedia -> Sound System and unchecking "Start aRts soundserver on KDE Startup" (instructions were tested on version 3.1.3; may be different for other versions). Note that this will disable event sounds for KDE applications which depend on the aRts soundserver. Xnews sounds work properly under the Gnome sound server.

2.3.9. "Compose" message body does not automatically wrap

In some cases, the message body of a Compose window does not automatically wrap. Simply clicking "Rewrap Text" as this happens will fix the problem.

2.3.10. XFaces are not visible

When a Wine version greater than 20030813 is being used, the XFace is not visible when a message is being composed or read, and the box where the XFace would be is colored black. Ignore this, since the correct XFace is being posted anyway. Try to use Wine version 20030813 if you can.