Earlier today I added gwene as a backend for gnus.

(add-to-list 'gnus-secondary-select-methods '(nntp "news.gwene.org"))

I then added a few feeds that I wanted to read and keep up to date on. One of which was gmane.emacs.devel. This group has over 200,000 articles/messages and every time I want to read an article it seems to download all 200,000. This takes an incredible amount of time.

I read about how gnus can cache articles and that seems very promising. The manual though said that it was bad practice, but I went ahead and tried the code that they suggested (setq gnus-use-cache t). This had no effect though.

Long story short my question is: how can I save an offline copy of a mailing list for fast access and offline use, using gwene or something else.

Thank you.

  • A title more or less like "Speed up headers download for LARGE groups" could be more appropriate for your question, please consider the possibility of editing your question. Ciao
    – gboffi
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:25
  • Well, I would also ideally like to have the articles saved offline, so I thought that that would be an important part of question title
    – Jules
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:32
  • I understand your point
    – gboffi
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


Do you use Spacemacs? It has a quite bad setting for Gnus in connection with big newsgroups.

See this question: Possible to cache newsgroup message headers in Gnus.

Make sure not to set gnus-fetch-old-headers to t, as per the documentation:

"This feature can seriously impact performance it ignores all locally cached header entries. Setting it to t for groups for a server that doesn't expire articles (such as news.gmane.org), leads to very slow summary generation."

The same goes for news.gwene.org.

  • I don't use spacemacs and I have gnus-fetch-old-headers set to some and the value of gnus-keep-backlog was already 20.
    – Jules
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:31
  • Setting gnus-fetch-old-headers to nil instead of some fixed the downloading issue. though I would still like to be able to save the messages
    – Jules
    Apr 6, 2016 at 20:39
  • @JulesTamagnan For offline-reading, you may want to look into the "Agent" capabilities of Gnus. I have never used it, so I usually don't recommend it myself :-)
    – asjo
    Apr 7, 2016 at 8:14

Press C-u the-number-of-articles-to-cache !. gnus-use-cache specify what algorithm Gnus will use when you manually cache the articles. The cached articles are always readable when offline.

Here is the text quoted from https://github.com/redguardtoo/mastering-emacs-in-one-year-guide/blob/master/gnus-guide-en.org:

Go to the “Summary Buffer”.

You need mark the mails by press ! or M-x gnus-summary-tick-article-forward.

The marked mails enter the disk cache. They can be read offline.

You may remove it from the disk cache by M-x gnus-summary-put-mark-as-read.

You also need insert below code into ~/.emacs,

(setq gnus-use-cache t)

Above code set gnus-use-cache to true to use the cache to the full extent by “wasting” tens of megabytes disk space.

The disk cache is located at “~/News/cache/”. You can back it up with Github’s private repository

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