Pan newsreader and multi-part images in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

There is an updated version of this tutorial for Ubuntu 11.10!

For years, I have been a big fan of the usenet newsgroups. I think it’s one of the best little niches left on the internet, and it has one of the best ranges in content…  On usenet, you can have civilized, academic conversation, or unruly flame-wars between fanatics. You can also find some of the coolest binaries available on the net…hard-to-find music, out of print books in e-text, and pictures ranging from serene wallpapers to…well just about anything.

When Ubuntu’s newest version, Karmic Koala, came out, I was very dismayed to find that the distribution of the Pan newsreader available via the Synaptic package manager was broken.  Basically, any image that was posted as multi-part refused to load in the default window.

With some help from the folks on the pan-users mailing list, I was finally able to compile the code from a source repository being kept up by K.Haley, pan’s volunteer coder.  But I thought it might be nice to provide a step-by-step guide for newer linux users, as the whole process of downloading source from a github repository, the tracking down of the necessary development libraries, and the entire compilation process can be daunting.  Therefore, I came up with the following list of commands to run to get a patched version of Pan running from a normal install of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala).

$ sudo apt-get install pan git git-core gnome-common libgtk2.0-dev libpcre3-dev libgmime-2.4-dev

This command is meant to be typed on a single line.  It will download quite a few libraries and a bunch of necessary programs & components.  It also installs the version of Pan included in Koala’s distribution streams, so that you will have the Ubuntu menu items already in place to run it easily.  When you’re done you should have everything you need to proceed.  Continue with the following:

$ cd ~
$ mkdir src
$ cd src
$ git clone git://
$ cd pan2
$ sh ./ --prefix=$HOME

You shouldn’t have any error messages during the autogen.  If you do, they’re likely due to missing programs or libraries needed to build the application.  Please post your error messages here!  If you didn’t receive any errors, type:

$ make

This will take a while…so go treat yourself to a coffee, soda or your preferred method of caffeine distribution.  (I might recommend a nice chai!) If the compile completes without incident, continue with:

$ make install
$ cd /usr/bin
$ ls pan

For safety’s sake, let’s back up pan so that we can restore the package maintainer’s version later…:

$ sudo mv pan pan.OLD

Now let’s keep on going:

$ sudo mv $HOME/bin/pan .
$ sudo chown root: pan

And you’re done! You should now be able to use the Pan icon located in the “Internet” section of your main Ubuntu menus to run your newly-compiled application.

Have fun!