Opera as a Usenet client

Opera is more than my favorite browser, it is also a handy Usenet client.

These notes are based on Opera 12.0 and assume you have already configured Opera generally.

CONFIGURATION
Open Mail and Chat accounts, press add, and choose to add a newsgroup account. Enter your account details as appropriate.

Return to Mail and Chat accounts and edit your account as desired. I usually set:

  • Servers: Enable secure connection unless your provider is known to not offer a TLS secure connection. Commonly used ports for TLS are 563 (incoming, NNTP) and 25 (outgoing, SMTP).
  • Incoming: Do not make messages available offline.
  • Incoming: Check for new messages every 10 minutes.
  • Incoming: Include this account when checking manually.
  • Outgoing: Disable “Add contacts from sent messages”.
  • Outgoing: Edit signature as desired.

The name of your new account should now appear in the left pane. Hover over it, and a wrench icon appears. Press it and select Newsgroups. The newsgroup subscription window will appear. The newsgroups available on the server should download and appear. This may take time; some servers have thousands of newsgroups available. Once downloaded, subscribe to the newsgroups you wish. Include a test group such as alt.test, which we will use in a moment.

Once set up, press the Compose icon at the top of the left pane). Now press the Settings icon at the top of the right pane to set composition preferences. I prefer:

  • Follow-up: Disable

Send a test message to the test newsgroup you subscribed to. If all goes well, you may unsubscribe to the group.

Configure your desktop environment, window manager, or operating system to use Opera as the predetermined Usenet client. Then insure that Opera is set to use the system default Usenet client (Settings – Preferences – Advanced – Programs).

TODO: Finish this section. Document how to filter out Google Gro(u)pers and particular individuals. As a last resort, consider leafnode or changing to a more capable Usenet client.

TIPS, TRICKS, AND LIMITATIONS
If your news provider is Eternal September (recommended), you will not see all available newsgroups until authentication has been set up and Opera is forced to get the full list of groups again.

Opera cannot hide quoted text in Usenet posts.

BACKUP CONSIDERATIONS
In Linux, Opera’s Usenet client files are the ~/.opera/mail/news.* files, one file per news server. I exclude them from my backup set for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t need a backup of them. Second, by their nature they are often-changing and so would overrun the available space in my sync-based backup system.

ALTERNATIVES TO OPERA
There are many other Usenet clients available if Opera doesn’t meet your needs. Others I’ve tried are Evolution, Pan (full-featured), and Thunderbird.

REFERENCES
Opera Mail Tutorial
When traveling, I use Opera Portable on a USB stick as my Usenet client
Usenet: opera.mail+news

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About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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