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11.5 Customization

All variables are properly documented elsewhere in this manual. This section is designed to give general pointers on how to customize Gnus for some quite common situations.

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11.5.1 Slow/Expensive Connection

If you run Emacs on a machine locally, and get your news from a machine over some very thin strings, you want to cut down on the amount of data Gnus has to get from the server.


Set this to nil, which will inhibit Gnus from requesting the entire active file from the server. This file is often very large. You also have to set gnus-check-new-newsgroups and gnus-check-bogus-newsgroups to nil to make sure that Gnus doesn’t suddenly decide to fetch the active file anyway.


Usually this one must always be nil (which is the default). If, for example, you wish to not use NOV (see section Terminology) with the nntp back end (see section Crosspost Handling), set nntp-nov-is-evil to a non-nil value instead of setting this. But you normally do not need to set nntp-nov-is-evil since Gnus by itself will detect whether the NNTP server supports NOV. Anyway, grabbing article headers from the NNTP server will not be very fast if you tell Gnus not to use NOV.

As the variables for the other back ends, there are nndiary-nov-is-evil, nndir-nov-is-evil, nnfolder-nov-is-evil, nnimap-nov-is-evil, nnml-nov-is-evil, and nnspool-nov-is-evil. Note that a non-nil value for gnus-nov-is-evil overrides all those variables.

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11.5.2 Slow Terminal Connection

Let’s say you use your home computer for dialing up the system that runs Emacs and Gnus. If your modem is slow, you want to reduce (as much as possible) the amount of data sent over the wires.


Set this to nil to inhibit Gnus from re-centering the summary buffer all the time. If it is vertical, do only vertical re-centering. If it is neither nil nor vertical, do both horizontal and vertical recentering.


Cut down on the headers included in the articles to the minimum. You can, in fact, make do without them altogether—most of the useful data is in the summary buffer, anyway. Set this variable to ‘^NEVVVVER’ or ‘From:’, or whatever you feel you need.

Use the following to enable all the available hiding features:

(setq gnus-treat-hide-headers 'head
      gnus-treat-hide-signature t
      gnus-treat-hide-citation t)

By setting this to nil, you can make all the windows smaller. While this doesn’t really cut down much generally, it means that you have to see smaller portions of articles before deciding that you didn’t want to read them anyway.


If this is non-nil, all threads in the summary buffer will be hidden initially.


If this is nil, Gnus will not put information in the buffer mode lines, which might save some time.

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11.5.3 Little Disk Space

The startup files can get rather large, so you may want to cut their sizes a bit if you are running out of space.


If this is nil, Gnus will never save ‘.newsrc’—it will only save ‘.newsrc.eld’. This means that you will not be able to use any other newsreaders than Gnus. This variable is t by default.


If this is nil, Gnus will never read ‘.newsrc’—it will only read ‘.newsrc.eld’. This means that you will not be able to use any other newsreaders than Gnus. This variable is t by default.


If this is nil, Gnus will not save the list of dead groups. You should also set gnus-check-new-newsgroups to ask-server and gnus-check-bogus-newsgroups to nil if you set this variable to nil. This variable is t by default.

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11.5.4 Slow Machine

If you have a slow machine, or are just really impatient, there are a few things you can do to make Gnus run faster.

Set gnus-check-new-newsgroups and gnus-check-bogus-newsgroups to nil to make startup faster.

Set gnus-show-threads, gnus-use-cross-reference and gnus-nov-is-evil to nil to make entering and exiting the summary buffer faster. Also see section Slow/Expensive Connection.

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