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1. Introduction

slrn (``S-Lang read news'') is a newsreader, i.e. a program that accesses a newsserver to read messages from the Internet News service (also known as ``Usenet''). It runs in console mode on various Unix-like systems (including Linux), 32-bit Windows, OS/2, BeOS and VMS. Beside the usual features of a newsreader, slrn supports scoring rules to highlight, sort or kill articles based on information from their header. It is highly customizable, allows free key-bindings and can easily be extended using the sophisticated S-Lang macro language. Offline reading is possible by using either slrnpull (shipped with slrn) or a local newsserver (like leafnode or INN).

1.1 Downloading slrn

Directions for downloading the latest version of slrn are available from the slrn web site at <>.

If you are running Linux, slrn is probably included in your distribution. However, please note that some distributors modify the sources; in this case, slrn might not always behave as it is described here.

1.2 Getting help

First of all, please read the documentation found in this file and in the slrn FAQs at <>.

Questions not covered by the docs are on-topic in If you speak German, you also might want to subscribe to

slrn-user is a mailing list for discussion of the use, development and extension of slrn. You can subscribe to it through the web interface at <>.

To keep track of slrn's development, simply subscribe to slrn-announce. It is a moderated list that informs you about new releases, important bugfixes or major changes to the website. The subscription address is <>. All announcements are also mailed to slrn-user, so there is no need to read both lists.

1.3 About this manual

This manual is the official reference for using and customizing the slrn newsreader. If you find that slrn behaves differently than described here, it means you found a bug (either in this manual or in slrn itself) and should report it.

The manual is written in SGML using the ``linuxdoc'' DTD and has been ``rendered'' using the linuxdoc-tools package. The manual and other official documentation have their own web page at <> where you can find these files in several different formats, as well as instructions on how to get the latest development version (which might be useful if you need documentation for a developer version of slrn).

If you want to contribute to the manual (e.g. write additional chapters), please contact us, either privately or via the slrn-user mailing list at <>. We also appreciate feedback about errors, bad language or suggestions concerning this manual.


This manual was started by Matthias Friedrich and Thomas Schultz in 1999 since there was no up-to-date end-user documentation available. As of version, it has been part of the official documentation. Since they first started it, the manual has undergone the following revisions:

2008-07-04: Revision 2.7

Updated the manual for changes in version 0.9.9.

2004-10-04: Revision 2.6

Added a brief introduction to the S-Lang prompt within slrn and updated the manual for version

2003-08-25: Revision 2.5

Updated the manual for version

2002-04-31: Revision 2.4

Added a section that describes the preprocessing facility and changed the manual's structure.

2002-03-13: Revision 2.3

Updated the manual for version

2001-11-05: Revision 2.2

Updated the manual for version

2001-08-20: Revision 2.1

Updated the manual for slrn; added a section about the functions of the readline interface.

2001-06-06: Revision 2

Added a section that describes all interactive functions and updated the manual for slrn

2001-03-28: Revision 1.1

Manual updated to reflect the changes in slrn

2000-09-27: Revision 1

First public release, explaining all slrnrc commands, configuration and environment variables and command line switches.

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