Accessing News

News can be retrieved from the Internet in different ways. Using Usenet and RSS for access is covered below.

Newsgroups are online notice boards where people post comments and discuss subjects of mutual interest. They are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to discussion forums on the World Wide Web. Anyone can participate in the discussion and post thoughts. At the rate at which newsgroups are growing, it is safe to say that there are groups covering most subjects imaginable; from computers to social issues, pet advice, literature and science, job postings and housing to rent etc. It is a fast and easy way to communicate, share views and advertise to people all over the world. Newsreaders are the applications used to access newsgroups.

USEr NETwork (Usenet) is the main source of newsgroups and newsfeeds. It is an Internet discussion system where people read and post e-mail-like messages called posts to one or more of a number of newsgroups.

To join a newsgroup, you create a subscribed list and your newsreader stores the information. You will receive alerts when people have posted new listings and when you check to read the latest update, there will be a posting and bunch of messages from several people. You will see something that looks similar to your e-mail inbox. You can decide whether to reply to the newsgroup, the author or to both. Some people prefer not to constantly receive email messages and log in from time to time to see the latest updates. The news server posts do expire after a certain length of time, as determined by the person running the server.

There are two types of newsreaders, online and offline. The online newsreader downloads just the message headers, and you see what looks like a mailbox. The messages themselves however, are not on your machine. As you access a particular message, the newsreader retrieves it from the server. When you are done reading a message, it is not stored on your machine, unless you save it specifically. Offline newsreaders, on the other hand, connect to the server, download all new messages for the newsgroups to which you are subscribed, upload any posts you wrote since the last time you connected to the server, and then disconnect. You can then read the messages as you wish, composing replies and new posts to be uploaded next time you choose to connect.

Many news related Web sites do offer news feeds that allow you to see when Web sites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as it is published, without having to visit the Websites you have taken the feed from. Feeds, also known as Really Simple Syndication (RSS), are just Web pages.

In this section we will cover two types of Newsreaders, Linux Feed Reader (Liferea) for news feeds and Thunderbird for Usenet news.

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