Developer(s)Gnus team
Initial release1987; 37 years ago (1987)[1]
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeE-mail client and news client

Gnus (/ɡəˈnz, ˈɡnz/), or Gnus Network User Services, is a message reader which is part of GNU Emacs. It supports reading and composing both e-mail and news and can also act as an RSS reader, web processor, and directory browser for both local and remote filesystems.

Gnus blurs the distinction between news and e-mail, treating them both as "articles" that come from different sources. News articles are kept separate by group, and e-mail can be split into arbitrary groups, similar to folders in other mail readers. In addition, Gnus is able to use a number of web-based sources as inputs for its groups.


Some Gnus features:

As part of Emacs, Gnus' features can be extended indefinitely through Emacs lisp.

To quote the Gnus Manual:

"You know that Gnus gives you all the opportunity you'd ever want for shooting yourself in the foot. Some people call it flexibility. Gnus is also customizable to a great extent, which means that the user has a say on how Gnus behaves. Other newsreaders might unconditionally shoot you in your foot, but with Gnus, you have a choice!" [1]

Note that the composition of HTML email messages (as users of more WYSIWYG editors may be used to) is not included by default; the lack of this "ability" is counted as a feature by Gnus' traditional user base.


Gnus is a rewrite of GNUS by Masanobu Umeda, which ceased to be developed in 1992. In autumn 1994, Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen started the rewrite under the name (ding) which is a recursive acronym for ding is not Gnus, intending to produce a version for which the interface and configuration would work almost exactly the same, but the internals would be completely revamped and improved. The new version proved to be popular and has undergone constant expansion and enhancement. Ingebrigtsen is also programmer of eww.


In general, users receive Gnus bundled with their copy of GNU Emacs and only need to worry about version numbers if they want to upgrade to newer versions themselves instead of receiving updates through Emacs or their operating system's packaging system.

The following versions have been released:

The odd minor version numbers, like 5.3 and 5.5 are for the Gnus versions bundled with GNU Emacs. The even version numbers are the unbundled releases. So for example, Gnus 5.5 is similar to Gnus 5.4, but bundled with Emacs 20.1.

Development is done using "named versions", whose first letters run backwards in the alphabet; "No Gnus" v0.19 was released in early 2012, and development transitioned to "Ma Gnus". No named version ever reaches 1.0, instead when it is considered stable enough for general release, it sheds its name and gets packaged with as simply "Gnus <version number>". Entering the "V" command in the Groups buffer of a running copy of Gnus will usually cause it to divulge a version number, but there is no easy way for an end user to know if, for example, "No Gnus 0.9" is older or newer than "Gnus 5.10.8".

After being developed separately for 22 years, the developer of Gnus announced that further development would take place inside Gnu Emacs' git tree. A side effect of this change is that support for XEmacs and older versions of Gnu Emacs will be dropped.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "GNUS: a NNTP based news reader for GNU Emacs (1 of 2)". Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  2. ^ Ingebrigtsen, Lars Magne (2015). "The Gnus Newsreader". Free Software Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  3. ^ a b "Gnus (Emacs Newsreader) FAQ". Internet FAQ Archives.
  4. ^ "Gnus manual, Ma Gnus".
  5. ^ "the master Gnus git repository, changelog". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  6. ^ Ma Gnus 0.7 Release Announcement Archived December 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "It's about ethics in Gnus development". January 2016. Gnus (and a couple of other Emacs packages) are dropping XEmacs support.