Eight Definite Open Source RSS Feed Readers (Plus a few more)


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 license.

So, what readers are available?  I personally haven’t had time to evaluate all of these options, but here is a list of some that are available under an open source license.

  • Tiny Tiny RSS: Nice clean interface, and the source is available at GitHub.  Released under a GPL-2 License.
  • RSS Gaurd – multiplatform reader (Linux / Windows / Mac), released under a GPL-3 License.
  • News Beuter: 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 today.  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 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.

Personally, I have been using FeedOnFeeds for quite some time.  It’s not supported, and is showing it’s age, but it gets the job done for me.  I’m normally somewhere I can get to my installation on a hosted server.  However, I think I am going to try to get an installation of NewsBlur going, it appears to be a possibly better solution, but that choice is going to be a matter of preference.  (I’m also considering messing around with tiny Tiny RSS again…)

Just remember: using hosted services that aren’t available under an open source style license means you have no choices.  If that service goes away, you are stuck scrambling for something new.    Better to choose something that you will have control over.

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Eight Definite Open Source RSS Feed Readers (Plus a few more) by SndChaser is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

March 14th, 2013 by