I'm very fond of the Usenet client Newsbin which I have been using for many years. It's not a free software and I made the purchase because at that time it was definitely the best client available. I'm sometimes getting asked if there are free alternatives to Newsbin and I always have to say that I have not tested any of them. But John Tash send me an email a while ago asking about my opinion about the news client Alt.Binz and I finally found some time to check it out.
Alt.Binz is a free Usenet client that supports several of the most important features a news client should have. These features are multiple connections and SSL and NZB Support. Let me explain why I think that those three are essential. Multiple connections is a no brainer, Giganews (the best Usenet Provider) provides access to ten connections to their servers and a client should support that to maximize the speed from the server.
SSL is important for security. You don't want your ISP or someone else snooping on your traffic finding out what you are downloading, right ? And NZBs are a a standard that makes it a lot easier to download from the Usenet. NZB files contain information about multiple files and their location on the Usenet. Instead of clicking on hundreds of files to download them you can simply load one NZB.
Alt.Binz looks like a great client. I had no troubles adding the Giganews server information to the client and support for the Giganews Accelerator was given as well.
The major difference is the approach. Newsbin provides direct access to Usenet groups while Alt.Binz does not, at least not in the way I have been using it for years. Alt.Binz has some Usenet search engines directly integrated into the program interface that provide access to NZBs. That's a great feature and I hope the guys at Newsbin will implement it soon.
Supported are respected sites like Newzleech, Binsearch and several others. A full server wide search is supported as well. Now with Newsbin I usually visit the website of those search engines and download the NZB from those websites. This step is no longer required in Alt.Binz.
Alt.Binz is a great free Usenet client which I will definitely keep an eye on even though I have paid for Newsbin. The interface is intuitive and fast and it does provide access to several features that are definitely missing in Newsbin. Oh, and yes it seems to work under Wine in Linux.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.