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Browsing Guix (or any) lists with Gmane

From: Maxim Cournoyer
Subject: Browsing Guix (or any) lists with Gmane
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2017 12:45:44 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

Hello Guix!

For Guix and Gnus (or to become) users out there, I thought I'd share
this brief post where I explained the process of setting up Gnus and Gmane.

Here are some benefits:
1. No need to locally store emails; just view them over NNTP.
2. Easily subscribe to some lists in Gnus without having to go through
the mailman registration.
3. Much nicer/convenient UI than the web archives pages; you can post
follow-ups directly.
4. Rich collection of some 30000+ mailing list archives.

The main drawback I've found so far is that server-side search facility
doesn't seem to be available yet in the new Gmane. Still, it's not too
long to load the full list of messages ever post to a list and use Emacs
or Gnus native features to search/sort.

Here's the full original post: 
From: Maxim Cournoyer <address@hidden>
Subject: Gmane with Gnus first timer
Newsgroups: gmane.emacs.gnus.user
To: address@hidden
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:12:38 -0400 (4 days, 59 minutes, 13 seconds ago)

Hello Gnusers!

I've started experimenting with Gmane[1], and it seems very useful at
easily navigating archived mailing lists!

I thought I'd share some of the details for NNTP neophytes like me; I
had the good fortune to be helped on the IRC #gnus channel by
sixbitslacker, who shared important bits of their config as well as
the Gmane's X.509 certificate necessary for proper TLS authentication.

* Gnus configuration

The first thing I did was adding a select method to my Gnus
configuration. I already had a `gnus-select-method' defined with my
email server, so I used `gnus-secondary-select-methods' for Gmane:

;; To be put in your ~/.gnus.el or similar.
(setq gnus-secondary-select-methods
 '((nntp "gmane"
         (nntp-address ""))))

* Gmane TLS certificate

I then started Gnus. I was greeted with a warning that said:

Certificate information
Issued by:  
Issued to:            Gmane
Public key:           RSA, signature: RSA-SHA1
Protocol:             TLS1.2, key: RSA, cipher: AES-256-GCM, mac: AEAD
Security level:       Low
Valid:                From 2015-01-13 to 2018-01-12

The TLS connection to is insecure for the
following reasons:

certificate signer was not found (self-signed)
certificate was signed with an insecure algorithm
the certificate was signed by an unknown and therefore unstrusted authority
certificate could not be verified

While we can't do anything about the weak SHA1 signature, we can at
least fix the other warnings by trusting the self-signed certificate
that Gmane is using.

To do so, we must first retrieve the X.509 certificate that Gmane
uses. The OpenSSL package provides a mean to do so (credits to

openssl s_client -starttls smtp -connect

Amongst the output you should find the server certificate, which is:


Save this file somewhere, say, to "~/.gnutls/gmane.pem". Now we must
configure Emacs to trust this certificate. One easy way is to add this
line to your ~/.emacs file:

(add-to-list 'gnutls-trustfile "~/.gnutls/gmane.pem")

Another other options to make it globally trusted would be to place the
file under /etc/

Eval this line (C-M-x or C-x C-e on that s-exp) and restart Gnus. The
only remaining warning should be the one about the weak SHA1 signature:

When I did, Emacs still complained that the server was deemed insecure
because the "certificate signer was not found (self-signed)". I am not
sure why it persists warning me about a self-signed certificate after
I've explicitly given it my trust, nor do I know why the weak SHA1 issue
is not raised anymore... But anyway, I consider our due diligence done,
so at this point you may choose "Always" when presented the security

* Browsing lists with Gmane

You should now be in the plain old *Group* buffer, with nothing new in
it. To actually navigate the mailing lists archived by Gmane, you may
press the '^' key to show a list of the known servers. It should contain
an entry for the newly added news server, such as:

{nntp:gmane} (opened)

Finally, by clicking (on typing RET) on that gmane entry, you should now
have access to a huge collection of archived mailing lists (31682 at the
time of writing), which can be comfortably browsed in a Gnusy way. You
can also subscribe using 'u', to show some of these in your *Group*

* Posting to a Gmane

Instead of sending an email with 'm', you can now send an article (the
equivalent in the world of news) with the 'a' key. This long text is my
first attempt at doing so; if you received it, it's because it worked!

Happy hacking,



After you're all set with Gmane you can view and reply to the original
post at gmane.emacs.gnus.user.

I hope this can be useful to someone!


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