What open source RSS feed reader do you use?

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The recently announced end-of-life for Google Reader has brought about many articles in the press listing replacements. Unfortunately, many of the replacements suffer from several deficiencies:

Most of them are hosted solutions. This means that they have the same weakness that Google Reader had: your reading is under the control of another entity. This means if the company goes out of business, or decides to change direction, you could find yourself in the same boat as you did with Google Reader.

Most of them are not being made available under a real open source license, such as the GPL or MIT licenses. 

Some RSS readers available under an open source license:

  • Tiny Tiny RSS: Nice clean interface, and the source code is available at GitHub. Released under a GPL-2 License.
  • rss-gaurd: Multi-platform reader (Linux / Windows / Mac), released under a GPL-3 License.
  • newsbeuter: A console based news reader for Linux / FreeBSD / Mac. Released under an MIT License.
  • FeedOnFeeds: Not as pretty as the others, but quite reliable. Web based. Released under a GPL-2 License.
  • Gregarius: Another web based solution. Released under the GPL.
  • Selfoss: Described as a "multi-purpose RSS reader, live stream, mashup, aggregation web application." Released under a GPL-3 License.
  • NewsBlur: This is the only true open source solution I saw mentioned by the press recently. The source code is available on GitHub under an MIT License.
  • Liferea: A popular Linux based news reader, available under a GPL-2 License.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the open source options out there. Just to mention a few more: Snownews, Akgregator, Blam! and RSSOwl. All of them have various feature sets, some are limited by the platforms they work on, some are more friendly to multimedia use, etc. You have to see what features you want and need.

Why RSS readers are important

Dieter Bohn gives one explanation in his article Why RSS still matters and there is obviously still a need that Digg has recognized. While others have recognized that in some parts of the world Google Reader plays a very important role.

My reasons go beyond needing to find open source solutions, and making certain that the user has control over how they are using the Internet. There are two topics that are rooted in social issues (similar to, but different from the censorship issue), instead of technological issues, which most of the media has failed to recognize. There is also a third, semi-technical concept, that should be discussed.

For more on the growing divide, the Internet as a library, and going beyond delivering news, check out my blog post: Why RSS Readers and the Choice of a Feed Reader Matters.

Originally posted on The CerebralRift blog here and here. Reposted under Creative Commons.

I am a Linux Systems Administrator / Architect, with over ten years experience in IT. I am a panelist of the Kernel Panic OggCast (podcast). I am also an open source and Creative Commons advocate, EFF and FSF supporter.

39 Comments

I'm using <a href="http://userbase.kde.org/Akregator">KDE Akregator</a>, which is part of the Kontact PIM suite.

another +1 for Akregator

Mozilla Thunderbird

There is an irony here, as I discovered... Chrome used to have RSS support built in. But, sometime around the announcement of Google Reader being shut down, the support was disabled in Chrome.

<a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57574810-93/google-scraps-chromes-rss-extension-along-with-reader/">Google scraps Chrome's RSS extension along with Reader</a>

They also just un-deleted it today (<a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57575087-93/google-undeletes-rss-extension-for-chrome-browser/">Google undeletes RSS extension for Chrome browser</a>)

Nice... Interesting that they decided to remove Google Reader already...

Vienna

Vienna :)

Poor sap that I am, I'm using Google Reader—which is why I'm reading this thread with such interest.

Poor sap +1, also using Google Reader, because it is simple and fast and does the job. Will need to look for replacement.

I've used Google Reader for a while, one part being that since it is web-based if I read or mark some as read while on one computer (e.g. at work), when I go to anther computer those marked read are not shown while those I held off on reading are still listed and ready.

So this is a good list to get me started with an alternative. I think the recommendation is to use <a href="http://theoldreader.com">The Old Reader</a> but they are straining under the heavy load of people switching. There are currently 6922 users ahead of me on the import que.

I saw an article that suggested that Google Reader was based on The Old Reader... But when I looked at the site, I didn't see any source to download it -- only the hosted version. I keep really thinking that TT-RSS or NewsBlur, on a self-hosted system is the way to go...

@Drew, thanks for the tip on The Old Reader, did not know about that one. Will certainly look at it.

Mozilla Thunderbird. I can't believe it's not in the poll options.

I'll take the blame on that... :) The poll was based on the options I listed in the article. When I put the article together, I was looking mostly for applications that were stand-alone. There are many applications that include varying degrees of RSS support, or have add-ons (including Thunderbird and Sylpheed / Claws, Chrome, etc.) So, this wasn't really an oversight as much as a limitation on how I selected applications.

Thunderbird does the job,,,it can be slightly annoying at times, but I am already using it for everything else.

I had been using akregator for years, but with the advent of many connected devices and the social features fell for Google Reader. I am trying out NewsBlur, and liking it (tried Feedly on the closed side, but don't like the interface and am worried about the whims of a single corporate owner too). Interested to hear what others are trying out, akregator would be great on the desktop if it could connect to other services easily and share read/unread status.

I've been using Google Reader religiously as well, and have just ported all my feeds to The Old Reader.
However, the lack of tagging feature is quite off-putting. Which of the above provides a good tagging / categorizing feature?

I'm not using an RSS reader right now but I used to love Google Reader. Sorry to hear what happened to it.

I use KrissFeed http://tontof.net/index.php?presque-nouveau-lecteur-rss-kriss-feed-est-vraiment-tout-terrain
A must see web app! The lightest I've seen...

None. I don't bother with RSS.

<a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/fi/firefox/addon/brief/?src=search">Brief</a> for Firefox.

I use the RSS KDE plasmoid to give me the headlines of my subscriptions and click to go directly to the full article in iceweasel.

Same here, RSSNOW is great

Good Times

What I use: "sparse RSS" on android
https://github.com/doits/Sparse-RSS

Thanks for all the mentions of Thunderbird. Trying it out now. One note hope helps someonse else:

http://kb.mozillazine.org/Thunderbird_:_FAQs_:_RSS_Basics#Subscribing_to_an_RSS_feed

Before you can subscribe to any RSS feeds, you first need to create an RSS account. To do so:

Go to the "File" menu and select "New -> Account". Alternatively, you can go to the "Tools" menu and select "Account Settings", and click on the "Add Account" button.
In the dialog box that pops up, select "RSS News & Blogs" and press the "Next" button.
Enter an account name, press the "Next" button, and finally press the "Finish" button. This new account will now appear in the folders pane in the main Thunderbird window

thunderbird

i used hosted tt-rss at www.privateoss.com since last year as an alternative to google reader.. loving it!

That is awesome! Glad to see someone is making tt-rss and tt-todo available online for a reasonable rate! I'm convinced I need to host my own on one of my servers, but I have to do some house cleaning first. ;)

Am a big Google Reader fan and sorry to see it go. Have tried Newsblur and Feedly this week but neither does it for me. They lack GRs simplicity, speed and multi-device friendliness. Still looking. Not overly concerned about a proprietary vendor so long as I can export my feeds in OPML form to avoid lock-in.

I use Rnews privately on my servers and I'd like to see it maintained.

My Yahoo http://my.yahoo.com/

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