Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

Mac Usenet Applications

I’m a multi-protocol kind of guy. What does that mean? Basically, it means that I use more than just a web browser. Typically, I have multiple Internet clients running at any given time—a browser (typically Camino, but sometimes Safari), an RSS reader (NetNewsWire), an IM client (Adium), Cocoalicious (for managing bookmarks), an IRC client (Colloquy), and an e-mail client. In each of these areas, there are high-quality applications available to choose from. For example, if I didn’t like Camino or Safari, I could always switch to Opera or Firefox; if I didn’t like NetNewsWire, I could switch to NewsFire, Shrook, or Vienna. I have options.

I also like to try to follow a small number of Usenet newsgroups. Unfortunately, this is one area where Mac OS X doesn’t have a good set of high-quality applications. And that really stinks.

There’s only one commercial Usenet client of which I am aware, and that’s Unison by Panic. It’s a decent application, but lacks offline support and the ability to connect to multiple servers simultaneously. In addition, the UI is a bit awkward to me, and I could really use some better searching functionality. I’ve been using Unison for a while and I’d love to see a major upgrade to the application…so Panic guys, what do you say?

I thought that Nemo was going to be a real contender, but it crashes on a regular basis, and has a number of bugs that make it pretty much unusable. It’s a tremendous start, though, and I hope that the developer continues to refine the application. Once some of these bugs have been squashed, I will definitely consider purchasing the application, but as it is I’m not going to pay for beta software that is truly beta quality. There are a few unfinished open source efforts, like Xnntp, but those also are incomplete beta-quality products.

So are there any other good, high-quality NNTP/Usenet clients out there that I’m just missing? Or is this all there is?

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