If you don't want to read this manual, and you have a fairly standard setup, you may be able to use something like the following as your ~/.gnus.el file to get started.
;; Define how Gnus is to fetch news. We do this over NNTP ;; from your ISP's server. (setq gnus-select-method '(nntp "news.your-isp.com")) ;; Define how Gnus is to read your mail. We read mail from ;; your ISP's POP server. (setq mail-sources '((pop :server "pop.your-isp.com"))) ;; Say how Gnus is to store the mail. We use nnml groups. (setq gnus-secondary-select-methods '((nnml ""))) ;; Make Gnus into an offline newsreader. ;; (gnus-agentize) ; The obsolete setting. ;; (setq gnus-agent t) ; Now the default.
That should be it, basically. Put that in your ~/.gnus.el file, edit to suit your needs, start up PPP (or whatever), and type M-x gnus.
If this is the first time you've run Gnus, you will be subscribed automatically to a few default newsgroups. You'll probably want to subscribe to more groups, and to do that, you have to query the NNTP server for a complete list of groups with the A A command. This usually takes quite a while, but you only have to do it once.
After reading and parsing a while, you'll be presented with a list of groups. Subscribe to the ones you want to read with the u command. l to make all the killed groups disappear after you've subscribe to all the groups you want to read. (A k will bring back all the killed groups.)
You can now read the groups at once, or you can download the articles with the J s command. And then read the rest of this manual to find out which of the other gazillion things you want to customize.