Open source alternatives to Google Reader

Find an open source RSS reader today

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Google Reader is shutting down on Monday. This is disappointing to more than a few RSS junkies—and we get it. We're right there with you.

In our recent poll, many folks from our community told us they're seeking alternatives to Google's beloved tool. So that you don't miss a single unread item, and for those of you who have been searching for an open source RSS reader, we've put together a short list of Google Reader replacements.

Desktop clients

You can install these RSS readers on your personal computer and hand them the list of feeds you exported from Google Reader. Then they'll download unread news items just like email and check periodically to make sure you're reading the latest. Easy.

Most open source desktop RSS readers feature the three-pane configuration that has become so familiar over the years.

  • Liferea. Ideal for Linux users preferring the GNOME desktop environment. For something similar, see Blam!
  • Akregator. Better for Linux users who are fans of KDE, and (apparently) a favorite in our community.
  • Vienna. A mainstay in the Mac RSS reader lineup. Like fan favorite NetNewsWire—but open source.
  • RSS Guard. A lean, clean, cross-platform reader that's been revived for the post-GReader age. Windows users might also like RSS Owl (there's just something about that cute little guy).
  • Newsbeuter. A text-only reader that runs from a console in Linux, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X. This one's for the diehards.
  • Thunderbird. Don't forget that this trusty ol' email client can double as an RSS reader, too. Heck, it's probably already installed on your machine.

Web-based, self-hosted

Some RSS users don't like using desktop clients to peruse their feeds. Desktop clients don't often synchronize feeds across multiple computers and other devices (at least, not without some secret assistance from Google Reader—but we all know how that'll end up next week). So you might want to set up a server to host your own RSS reader. Then your reading list is accessible over the Net and up-to-date no matter where you are. No sweat. Try these. Just download the open source code and follow the installation instructions.

  • Tiny Tiny RSS. A lightweight server-side application that visually mimics Google Reader. This one even has an Android client.
  • Feed on Feeds. Another web-based option licensed under the GPL. Some assembly required.
  • Selfoss. An install-yourself option featuring a slick user interface that embraces responsive Web design.
  • Snownews. For the no-frills power user that's spent some time in a terminal. Like Newsbeuter (above), but runs server-side.

Web-based, other-hosted

Other users like storing their reading lists online, but they don't want to be responsible for maintaining the servers that house their data. Understandable. The following online news reading services work just like Google Reader: you make an account, you subscribe to feeds, and you leave site maintenance to someone else. The only difference: these puppies are built on open source software.

  • NewsBlur. A recent redesign has this service looking much prettier. Choose from free or paid accounts.
  • CommaFeed. Self-described "bloat-free" reader. The code for this one is also on Github, so you can download and maintain your own instance.

You've probably heard of a few more. Start listing—real quick like.

About the author

Bryan Behrenshausen
Bryan Behrenshausen - Bryan edits and manages the Open Organization section of, which features stories about the ways open values and principles are changing how we think about organizational culture and design. He's worked on since 2011. Find him online as semioticrobotic.