slrn runs through a textual user interface and is highly customizable. It uses the S-Lang library written by the same author, John E. Davis. The slrn name derives from the use of S-Lang and its function to read news.
slrn was maintained by Thomas Schultz from 2000 to 2007, but development is now again in the hands of the original author John E. Davis. Current development focuses on better support for different character sets and tighter integration of the S-Lang language processor. On December 21, 2012, 18 years after the first release, version 1.0.0 of slrn was released.