I needed to access a private newsgroup the other day to get help with a software product. Newgroups are getting rarer every day as more companies move to bulletin board systems instead, but in this case I needed a newsreader, and I didn’t have one installed on my machine. Sure, Outlook Express and Thunderbird have newgroup functionality, but I was looking for something a little more full featured.

Several years ago when newsgroups were more common, I used the FreeAgent reader, but I decided not to use it now for two main reasons. First, it hasn’t been updated in several years, and second, it doesn’t support multiple servers. Since some of the newsgroups I need to access are on a private news server, using FreeAgent would make it difficult to access news on another server.

So I started looking around for a new newsreader. There are several commercial applications out there and they look very good, but considering how infrequently I need to access newsgroups, I was looking for something free. I downloaded a wide variety of possibilities and eventually found Gravity.

Apparently Gravity used to be a commercial product, but it has since moved to open source. I have to say, the product is great. It has everything I was looking for, including options for multiple servers, and more configuration and customization options that I know what to do with. So now I’m a convert to Gravity and I’m very happy with it.

I find it kind of interesting that in selecting my web browser (Firefox), email client (Thunderbird), ftp client (FileZilla), and now newsreader (Gravity), in every choice I ended up picking something from the open source community. And that’s not because I limited myself only to open source alternatives, it’s because those programs turned out to be the very best products that met my needs.