Jul 20, 2023

Shows X-Faces from slrn in X11 terminal emulator

slrnface shows X-Faces from slrn in an X11 terminal emulator

slrnface is a FreeBSD port that serves as a helper application, allowing slrn a robust newsreader to display xfaces/face bitmaps. If you’re familiar with Unix-based systems, you can liken it to a bit of a ‘plug-in’ that enhances your overall slrn experience. This article is dedicated to guiding users through the installation and usage of slrnface, outlining its key benefits, and highlighting its compatibility with other FreeBSD tools.

For the uninitiated, slrn ‘S-Lang read news’ is an open-source news client that you can use to read and post articles to Usenet, which is a global, decentralized community-built network of computers.


First things first, let’s walk through the installation process. FreeBSD ports system is a package management system which greatly simplifies the installation of software on the FreeBSD operating system.

Installing slrnface can be performed directly via FreeBSD’s ports system with the following commands

cd /usr/ports/news/slrnface/ && make install clean

This command will fetch the source files, compile, and then install the application.

It is always a good idea to maintain the latest patches and ports tree for security and compatibility reasons. To update, use the following commands

portsnap fetch update


Once you’ve successfully installed slrnface, you’ll need to configure slrn to use it.

To do this, you’ll need to add the following lines to your slrn startup file usually found at ~/.slrnrc

 This checks if slrnface is present
set spool_inn_root "/usr/local/bin/slrnface"

Do remember to replace the given path with the correct path to your slrnface binary if it’s different.


How it works when you select a news article in slrn, slrnface will attempt to extract a face from the headers and display it using an X window.


Although certainly not essential, slrnface adds a touch of personality and functionality to your Usenet browsing. The display of faces can make the endless streams of newsgroup postings a little more individual and visually unique.


The beauty of FreeBSD ports lies in their compatibility with each other. For instance, if you’re interested in bolstering IT security within your FreeBSD environment, you can use a port like [nmap]https//, an open-source network scanner that assists users in discovering hosts and services in a computer network. Multiple ports usually work harmoniously, enhancing the powerful base FreeBSD provides.


As you can see, slrnface is much more than just a novelty feature. When combined with slrn, it can elevate your Usenet browsing experience to a new level, making the chore of going through an ocean of newsgroup articles quite entertaining. If you are a frequent slrn user, the addition of slrnface can offer an undisputable charm to your Usenet experience.

The FreeBSD ports collection is a treasure trove of niche and useful applications designed with the user in mind, and ‘slrnface’ is no exception. Whether it’s for security, entertainment, productivity, or individuality, FreeBSD ports like slrnface and nmap for security help users tailor a FreeBSD system according to their comfort and necessity.

Remember to keep your ports collection updated and experiment with different ports. Happy FreeBSDing!

Checkout these related ports:
  • Yydecode - Tool to decode yEnc encoded files
  • Yencode - Free (GPL) encoder and decoder for the yEnc Usenet file format
  • Xrn - Usenet News reader for the X Window System
  • Ubh - Perl script to download and decode binaries posted to Usenet
  • Trn4 - Version 4.0 of the threaded readnews newsreader
  • Trn - Threaded Read News newsreader
  • Tin - Easy-to-use threaded newsreader with NOV/NNTP support
  • Suck - Receives/sends news to/from localhost via NNTP
  • Suck-cnews -
  • Sn - Small news system for small sites serving
  • Slrn - SLang-based newsreader
  • Sabnzbd - Web-interface based binary newsgrabber in python, with nzb support
  • S-news - Simple news server for hosts with one or two users
  • Rntrack - FTN Messages tracker
  • Rawdog - Simple RSS aggregator