The error message is "Warning: Opening nntp server on news...failed: >>> (error news/nntp Name or service not known); Server nntp+news previously determined to be down; not retrying;"

The strange thing is, that I have two computers with very similar OS (arch linux), sharing the same emacs config, and on one machine it works perfectly, and on the other I get the error above. The really strange thing is, that on the first (good) machine there is no error when I start gnus form emacs -Q while on the second (bad) machine, gnus is complaining (the same error message) even if it is was started from an emacs with no config loaded (i.e. emacs -Q).

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong??? How I should even start fixing it. I tried already emacs -Q. Reinstalling emacs also -- didn't work.

I was asking around #emacs on freenode, but since I switched to ERC recently, and was trying to fix this error, I always disconnected from IRC before seeing any answers :( (stupid me).

EDIT: a bit of additional information: when I run gnus with the config activated, it does query .authinfo.pgp and asks for my GPG password... the address of the configured mail server appears among the messages, but eventually I end up with the same error message. :(

1 Answer 1


So the answer was trivial! If you don't set gnus-select-method, gnus looks for the default news server with the hostname "news". The machine where gnus was working properly was on a university network where the hostname "news" did resolve, while on my home network "news" failed to resolve... which caused the error message!

Since I plan on using gnus for mail only I have gnus-select-method set to '(nnnil) (and my mail server set in mail-sources and gnus-secondary-select-methods) and everything works perfectly.

Adam Sjøgren helped me figure it out on gnu.emacs.gnus https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/gnu.emacs.gnus/8KkUAW4NAgs

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