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tin (newsreader)

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Developer(s)Urs Janßen
Initial releaseAugust 23, 1991; 32 years ago (1991-08-23)[1]
Stable release
2.6.3[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 24 December 2023
Operating systemUnix, Linux, macOS, OpenVMS
TypeNewsreader (Usenet)

tin is an open-source, text-based, threaded newsreader, used to read and post messages on Usenet, the worldwide distributed discussion system.


Tin was initially used on text-only computer terminals connected via a slow serial interface to a multi-user time sharing central server, where graphics were generally not supported and when the computer mouse did not yet exist. At the time, tin was considered to be somewhat of a high-resource[citation needed] program in this environment (similar to Pine) due to its use of terminal cursor control and page-oriented text scrolling to make navigating Usenet easier. While it did not have graphics support it does provide a visually organized browser-oriented drill-down list of groups, subjects, and then articles, as opposed to simply scrolling endless pages and menus upward from the bottom of the screen.

Tin is available for a variety of Unix-like operating systems. It is based on the TASS newsreader, whose source code had been posted in 1991 on Usenet by Rich Skrenta.[4] The work on tin was begun shortly afterward by Iain Lea,[5] who provided information for the IETF RFC 2980.[6][7] Since 1996, tin has been maintained by Urs Janßen.

The program is generally compared with trn or nn.[8][9][10] The latter is also based on TASS.[11] Some note that tin has the most flexible threading support.[10]

Tin runs on any UNIX or POSIX platform. This is because tin was an early adopter of autoconf, in 1996. Older versions of tin also ran on OpenVMS;[12] the newer versions which have UTF-8 support do not.

The original tin used termcap. Along with the portability improvements gained by using autoconf, its developers improved the adaptability by making it work with terminfo or curses—again improving portability. Other changes, such as localization using gettext, as well as IPv6 support have kept the application current.

Unlike trn or nn, it is easy to follow the progress of changes since 1995 in tin because its changelog is detailed and dated.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History".
  2. ^ "[tin-announce] [ANNOUNCE] tin 2.6.3 released". 24 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Compilation and installation notes for tin".
  4. ^ Rick Skrenta (April 18, 1991). "Tass 3.2 newsreader". Newsgroupalt.sources.
  5. ^ Iain Lea (August 24, 1991). "ANNOUNCEMENT: tin v1.00 - YAN (Yet Another Newsreader)". Newsgroupnews.software.readers.
  6. ^ Barber, Stan (June 1996). "Common NNTP Extensions (draft 4)". Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2023-11-28.
  7. ^ Barber, Stan (October 2000). "RFC 2980 Common NNTP Extensions".
  8. ^ Savetz, Kevin (1996). "Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online – 5.10. What program should I use to read news?". Sams Publishing.
  9. ^ Parker, Tim (1996). "Linux System Administrator's Survival Guide". Same. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  10. ^ a b Kirch, Olaf; Terry Dawson (2000). Linux Network Administrators Guide –. O'Reilly. Chapter 24. Newsreader Configuration.
  11. ^ Nancy McGough (5 May 1995). "Getting Started with News and the NN News Reader". Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  12. ^ Dickey, Thomas E (April 2021). "TIN – News reader". VMS redux.

External links[edit]