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MicroPlanet Gravity Open Source Usenet Newsreader for Windows

MicroPlanet Gravity ("Gravity")

Open Source Usenet News Reader for Windows
SourceForge Project Name: "mpgravity"

Gravity is a usenet news client for reading news over NNTP on Windows Operating Systems. Gravity has been a popular newsreader since 1996 when it was developed by MicroPlanet. The newer open source versions are optimized for the latest 32 and 64 bit Windows Systems including Windows 7.

Version 3.0 News

September 12, 2010

Version 3.0.4 STABLE is now available on the files download page.

Version 3.0.4 becomes the new stable release.

NOTE: Do NOT uninstall V2.9 before completing the installation of V3.0, otherwise V3.0 cannot pick up your settings and database from V2.9. Once you have finished installing V3.0 you may uninstall V2.9.

New BETA versions will be numbered 3.1.x. Note that Beta versions may have bugs or trial features. You should backup before trying new betas. The old GravityBackup.exe is incompatible with Gravity versions 2.9 onwards. In V2.9 and newer, use Tools - Database - Export and save a gdx file.

Version 3.0.x includes minor bug fixes and it also includes the first draft of a new help file in CHM format, which should be compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Open Help from the Help Menu or with F1. See the release notes for a complete list of fixes and changes.

Version 2.9.x / 3.0.x can be installed for multiple users and is compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7 file systems. You can also have multiple major versions (2.8, 2.9, 3.0) on the same machine.

Read the Gravity Installation Guide (right-click to save). This guide does not apply to Versions 2.8 and earlier.

Please report bugs, requests features, or discuss Gravity in the Gravity phpBB Forums

v2.9 changes: Vista/Win7 file system compatibility - multiple users - multiple versions - new Import/Export all data or single servers - MySpell upgraded to HunSpell - online installer - new backup by import and export commands - users can type corrected word in Spell checker - repair function in Add/Remove programs - search all headers (when saving bodies) - new function in Search to search all headers - Custom headers (like X-Faces) can now be up to 998 bytes long - ROT-13 now works only on highlighted text - new button icon thanks to Al Choy. For the complete list of changes, read the "file beta changes.txt" on the files download page.

Note: Searching all headers works in a BODY rule or score condition. When you search a body you are now searching in the entire article text including the headers. A search headers option was added to the search window. This acts similar to searching bodies.

You can email Tom B. (email address at the end of this page) if you have trouble with the phpBB Forums.

MicroPlanet Gravity phpBB Forums at SourceForge

Announcements, Support, and Discussion forums. You can access the Gravity phpBB Forums from the SourceForge project site, or use this Direct Link to the Gravity Forums. This is the best place to get support and make bug reports or feature requests.


The SourceForge UNIX Project Name is "mpgravity"

Gravity is a full featured Windows Usenet online/offline Usenet news client with an extensive feature list including Rules, Scoring, and Filters.

Versions 2.9 and higher are compatible with modern 32 and 64-bit multi- user Windows Operating Systems (Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7). These versions write databases and settings to the user account folders so that multiple users can use Gravity and have their own settings. We recommend using the newer builds.

If you are new to Gravity, simply Download and run (or just run) the installer. Just in case you do not want a newer beta test version, remember that versions considered stable are even numbered (2.8, 3.0). We recommend using the default install directory. You can read or download (right click and save as) the Install Guide (PDF).

If you have Gravity version 2.7 and higher installed, the new versions should pick up your databases and settings. The later 2.6 version data may import (maybe not).

When you upgrade to a newer Gravity version, it is best to not uninstall your existing version so that the new version will import your settings.

NOTE for very old versions: The database structure changes at Build 2.7.1 and higher. You will NOT be able to use version 2.70 and lower executables with the converted databases.

The old GravityBackup.exe utility does not work with newer SourceForge Builds (2.9 and up). This was replaced with Import and Export functions accessed from the Tools - Database Menu.

Older Versions 2.7.1 through 2.8 run on the Windows XP Operating System. These builds also work with Windows Vista (32 and 64-bit) and Windows 7. Users with Administrator Accounts usually do not have problems installing in "Program Files." However, databases or any file writes are to the User Store. If you are not administrator, install in another location (not in "Program Files") to reduce problems associated with permissions or Vista's User Store Cache and User Account Control (UAC).

Very early versions (2.7), work on Windows 95 and 98 (and usually XP), but no new features or bug fixes will be done on the earlier versions compiled for Windows 95/98/NT/2K.

Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCREs)
All SourceForge Gravity versions use PCREs (as well as plain text) for rules, filters and scoring. The PCREs (version 4.4, August 2003) are NOT case sensitive by default, including inside Character Classes [...]. The user can force case sensitivity by using the (?-i) PCRE Internal Option within the expression. See this FAQ link for more information and examples. If you are upgrading from an old Gravity version, before 2.7, you may need to edit the Regular Expressions in user rules, filters, and scoring. The full PCRE manual page is included in the CHM Help and links for online viewing or download are in the Reference Sidebar.
Gravity implements a scoring system. The User can sort or filter by score or assign colors to score ranges. Score entries can be assigned to a single newsgroup, all groups, or wildcard groups.
The rule system allows the User to act on certain articles based on certain criteria.
Gravity has very powerful and flexible display filters.
Gravity has binary decoding abilities, including decoding yEnc and display filters to show complete binaries, if all parts are present. Many Gravity users use the program for binaries. However, Gravity does not include NZB support, compressed headers, or multiple connections.
Note that with Version 2.9 and higher, the old GravityBackup.exe utility does not work. Backup and restore is done with the Export and Import functions under the Tools - Database menu.
All Toolbar Buttons were restored in 2.7.1 Build 9. Earlier SourceForge Builds had a limited button set.
Gravity Displays X-Faces (enable or disable X-Face display in Global Options). The user can post X-Face using Custom Headers, but note the following:
  • Gravity can not handle custom headers spanning more than a single line, you must put the X-Face text string on one line.
  • In the versions 2.9.8 and higher, the total custom header can total 998 characters. In earlier verions, the total custom header text could not exceed 255 characters, including the "X-Face: " characters (the remainder is truncated).
Spell Checker
Gravity currently uses Hunspell, a small open source spell checker . The language dictionaries are compatible with Open Office dictionaries. This replaced MySpell and was tweaked in newer builds to reduce some of the early annoyances.
Beginning with Version 2.7.1, the development platform changed to Visual C++ 2005 and MFC. Currently, the platform is Visual C++ 2008 and MFC. The new builds run faster and are more stable than the first versions. Database corruption that used to occur with old Gravity versions is rare these days.
Version Numbers
Gravity open source releases begin with Version 2.7. The source code and compiled binaries can be downloaded from the SourceForge Project Site. Stable builds are even numbered (2.8, 3.0). There is really no reason to use the old 2.7 and 2.8 builds, as these have been greatly improved.


You can help us improve Gravity. Please report bugs and feature requests at the Gravity phpBB Forums or in the trackers at the SourceForge Project Site. You can also post to Usenet newsgroups (see below).


With Version 2.9.15 and higher, the old Microplanet Help File was (finally) updated in CHM format to include all changes since Version 2.6 (Super Gravity). The new CHM Help is keyword indexed and is searchable.

Online documentation is in progress.

  • The preferred places to report bugs, request features, or get direct support from the developers are the phpBB forums and usenet newsgroups.
  • Usenet Newsgroups - Most Gravity usenet discussion is in New Builds are announced in alt.usenet.offline-reader,, and alt.comp.freeware. Or search your favorite Usenet archive.
  • SourceForge phpBB Forums: Any discussion is welcome and you can get direct support from the developers. News items and tips are posted. Access the forums from the SourceForge site (Hosted apps), or bookmark this Direct Link to the Gravity Forums. If you get a (free) SourceForge account you can post in all forums. Otherwise, most forums are read-only.
  • The SourceForge Project Site also contains bugs and feature request trackers.
  • Tom's Gravity Pages was the unofficial, Gravity information web site for some years. Tom's site and mirror are not updated. The information is about older Gravity Versions and Super Gravity, but some of it applies to new builds. Keep in mind that the regular expression examples were NOT PCREs in those days. Link to Tom's Index.
  • The old "Gallery" application is not included and not supported. You will see a warning that the program cannot be found. Gallery might work on old builds (before 2.9) if you have it, but it may not work on the newer versions. Gallery can be downloaded from Tom's Gravity Pages Download Directory VHosted on the SDF Public Access UNIX System



Thanks to the former staff at MicroPlanet; Albert Choy, Tony Edwards, and Marwan Shaban. Credit and thanks go to Al Choy for modifying and releasing the source code and his many unselfish efforts over the years. Richard Wood deserves much credit for joining the project, compiling for newer operating systems, and adding many feature requests and improvements.

The X-Face code is from Matthijs Laan and James Ashton. The PCRE library is by Philip Hazel, University of Cambridge.

Open Source Contributors

  • Albert Choy
  • Richard Wood
  • John Skeet
  • Peter Wall
  • Tom Bates

The Gravity source code and binaries are released under the BSD license.


Gravity has been a popular Usenet client since 1996. Originally, Gravity was shareware, written and developed by MicroPlanet Inc. (incorporated Feb 1995). It was sold briefly to Anawave software, then re-acquired by MicroPlanet. Gravity was chosen as PC Magazine's Editor's Choice in October 1996. MicroPlanet eventually gave away Gravity free of charge.

After October 2001, Albert Choy (Al, Gravity's Godfather), co-founder of MicroPlanet, continued improvements and semi official releases know as "Super Gravity". Many of these enhancements are considered standard in the versions currently in use. Web support and downloads were provided by Tom's Gravity Pages, with some volunteers providing some additional download bandwidth. Al later stripped out propriety or licensed code for release as open source software under the BSD License in December 2003.

Richard Wood took over the code work in 2008 and began compiling the application for newer operating systems, fixing bugs, and restoring functionality. With the newer compiler, the new builds are faster and more stable than ever. Database corruption is rare.

Tom B.  1/01/2011 Content tweaks only