Commit 9903b391 authored by Eric Abrahamsen's avatar Eric Abrahamsen

* doc/misc/gnus.texi: Add introductory section to Gnus manual

"Don't Panic: Your first 20 minutes with Gnus."
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......@@ -402,6 +402,7 @@ This manual corresponds to Gnus v5.13
@end iftex
* Don't Panic:: Your first 20 minutes with Gnus.
* Starting Up:: Finding news can be a pain.
* Group Buffer:: Selecting, subscribing and killing groups.
* Summary Buffer:: Reading, saving and posting articles.
......@@ -947,6 +948,140 @@ Emacs for Heathens
@end detailmenu
@end menu
@node Don't Panic
@chapter Don't Panic
@cindex don't panic
@cindex introduction to Gnus
Welcome, gentle user, to the Gnus newsreader and email client! Gnus
is unlike most clients, in part because of its endless
configurability, in part because of its historical origins. Gnus is
now a fully-featured email client, but it began life as a Usenet-style
newsreader, and its genes are still newsreader genes. Thus it behaves
a little differently than most mail clients.
The typical assumptions of a newsreader are:
The server offers a potentially enormous number of newsgroups on a
variety of subjects. The user may only be interested in some of those
groups, and more interested in some than others.
Many groups see a high volume of articles, and the user won't want to
read all of them. Mechanisms are needed for foregrounding interesting
articles, and backgrounding uninteresting articles.
Once a group has been scanned and dealt with by the user, it's
unlikely to be of further interest until new articles come in.
@end enumerate
These assumptions lead to certain default Gnus behaviors:
Not all interesting groups are equally interesting, thus groups have
varying degrees of ``subscribedness'', with different behavior
depending on ``how subscribed'' a group is.
There are many commands and tools for scoring and sorting articles,
or otherwise sweeping them under the rug.
Gnus will only show you groups with unread or ticked articles;
groups with no new articles are hidden.
When entering a group, only unread or ticked articles are shown,
all other articles are hidden.
@end enumerate
If this seems draconian, think of it as Automatic Inbox Zero. This is
the way Gnus works by default. It is possible to make it work more
like an email client (always showing read groups and read articles),
but that takes some effort on the part of the user.
The brief introduction below should be enough to get you off the
@heading The Basics of Servers, Groups, and Articles
@cindex servers
@cindex groups
@cindex articles
The fundamental building blocks of Gnus are @dfn{servers},
@dfn{groups}, and @dfn{articles}. Servers can be local or remote.
Each server maintains a list of groups, and those groups contain
articles. Because Gnus presents a unified interface to a wide variety
of servers, the vocabulary doesn't always quite line up (see @ref{FAQ
- Glossary}, for a more complete glossary). Thus a local maildir is
referred to as a ``server'' (@pxref{Finding the News}) the same as a
Usenet or IMAP server is; ``groups'' (@pxref{Group Buffer}) might mean
an NNTP group, IMAP folder, or local mail directory; and an
``article'' (@pxref{Summary Buffer}) might elsewhere be known as a
message or an email. Gnus employs unified terms for all these things.
Servers fall into two general categories: ``news-like'', meaning that
the articles are part of a public archive and can't be manipulated by
the user; and ``mail-like'', meaning that the articles are owned by
the user, who can freely edit them, move them around, and delete
For news-like servers, which typically offer hundreds or thousands of
groups, it's important to be able to subscribe to a subset of those
groups. For mail-like servers, the user is generally automatically
subscribed to all groups (though IMAP, for example, also allows
selective subscription). To change group subscription, enter the
Server buffer (with @kbd{^}) and press @kbd{@key{RET}} on the server
in question. From here, Gnus provides commands to change or toggle
your group subscriptions (@pxref{Browse Foreign Server}).
A Gnus installation is basically just a list of one or more servers,
plus the user's subscribed groups from those servers, plus articles in
those groups.
Servers can be added and configured in two places: in the user's
gnus.el startup file, using the @code{gnus-select-method} and
@code{gnus-secondary-select-methods} options, or within Gnus itself
using interactive commands in the Server buffer. @xref{Finding
the News}, for details.
@heading Fetching Mail
New mail has to come from somewhere. Some servers, such as NNTP or
IMAP, are themselves responsible for fetching newly-arrived articles.
Others, such as maildir or mbox servers, only store articles and don't
fetch them from anywhere.
In the latter case, Gnus provides for @code{mail sources}: places
where new mail is fetched from. A mail source might be a local spool,
or a remote POP server, or some other source of incoming articles.
Mail sources are usually configured globally, but can be specified
per-group (@pxref{Mail Sources} for more information).
@xref{Scanning New Messages}, for details on fetching new mail.
@heading Viewing Mail
By default, Gnus's Group buffer only displays groups with unread
articles. It is always possible to display all the groups temporarily
with @kbd{L}, and to configure Gnus to always display some groups
(@pxref{Listing Groups}).
@xref{Selecting a Group}, for how to enter a group, and @pxref{Summary
Buffer} for what to do once you're there.
@heading Sending Mail
New message composition can be initiated from the Group buffer
(@pxref{Misc Group Stuff}). If you're in a Summary buffer, you can
compose replies and forward emails in addition to starting new
messages, see @ref{Summary Mail Commands}, for details.
For information about what happens once you've started composing a
message, see @ref{Composing Messages}. For information on setting up
@acronym{SMTP} servers in particular, see @ref{Mail Variables, ,Mail
Variables,message,Message manual}.
@node Starting Up
@chapter Starting Gnus
@cindex starting up
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