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The 'tin' Newsreader

This introduction is for 'tin', a unix newsreader program. It is likely that such programs are significantly less used than they were when the guide was written, but it is still hosted here in case anyone wants it.

Posting problems

For those of you who don't know, Tin is a rather funky little news reader for Unix that is fast and efficient, and we think it's better than Pine's news reader. However, the version installed on the ITS Unix network has a little problem in the text editor part of the program, where you edit your posts.

By default, Tin uses a text editor called pico to do this. More advanced users will know that this can be changed, and many use emacs - in which case, you'll never notice this problem. However, if you find that you get an error message when trying to post, edit your message and look at the header information at the top of the screen. What should happen is that the line marked "References:" should all be on one line. If it isn't, just use the Backspace key to make sure it all fits on one line. It doesn't matter if it scrolls off the screen. Alternatively, if there are loads of overlapping lines, just delete them all.

Setting your name and organisation

Tin doesn't make it easy for you to change the way your name and organisation are displayed, but it is possible. You will need to edit your .login file and add the following:

setenv NAME "your name"
setenv ORGANIZATION "your organisation"

where what is contained in the quote marks is what you want your name and organisation to be. Please note the American spelling of "organisation", by the way. There should be a 'z' there!

Generating random signatures

Tin also has the facility to choose a random signature when you're posting messages. Now you might be asking, "Why would I want to do this?". Well, it is one of the less useful features of tin, but you can amuse people by having a different quote from someone in each signature! So, how do you do it, then?

The first thing is to create a directory, say randomsigs, and place your random signatures (as many as you want) in there. Then go to the .tin directory and edit the tinrc file. Look for the line which starts with "default_sigfile=", and change it to the directory where your random signatures are stored. So in our example, the lines would read:

# Signature path (random sigs)/file to be used when posting/replying to messages

Tin will now choose a random signature in this directory when you're posting messages!

You can also make each signature start with a fixed part, which is then followed by the random part. To do this, just create a file in your home directory called .sigfixed, which contains the fixed part of your signature (NOTE: This file does not go into the directory where the random signatures are stored!). The random part of the signature will then be put after the fixed part when you're posting messages.

Last edit: Wed 13th Aug, 01:39 p.m.


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