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.

10 thoughts on “Eight Definite Open Source RSS Feed Readers (Plus a few more)

  1. I like NewsBlur and have a premium account for it. The Android client for it is… eh, has a few bugs and doesn’t seem to quite have the love the rest of the application has for it.

    One of my biggest complaints about NewsBlur is the skin. I don’t care for the appearance, but since most websites don’t let you drastically alter it, I can’t do much with that.

    When NewsBlur crumbled under the first couple days after the announcement, I messed with feed2imap. It seems to be fairly good for what I need it to do, though it will take a bit to really mess around with it. It is ugly for the config file, but… I’m actually okay with that. The advantage is that it writes directly to IMAP folders without going through emails and filters. It also works with Gmail, which I do use.

    1. Hey Dylan,

      Long time. 🙂 NewsBlur looked like a really good option. I will probably try to set up my own instance of it at some point. (I was hoping to over the weekend, but just didn’t get around to it.)

      I did try to set up TT-RSS over the weekend, but didn’t have time to finish getting apache / nginx configured. I normally don’t run web based apps locally, so I haven’t really bothered. But, I guess it’s time to think about a dedicated, public facing system to implement a few things.

  2. Not open source, but I used it since it was there: the built in reader from opera. I like it, its fast even on very slow devices and the browswer is already there. Rssguard could replace it, as I see now.

    1. Yeah, there is a lot to like about Opera. it’s definitely a nice piece of software, and a lot of the built in features are very good. But, as you said, it isn’t an open source application. I understand why it isn’t, the business model behind Opera doesn’t favor an Open Source strategy… So that’s why I didn’t mention it in this article.

    1. Gotta say, Newsbeuter is definitely one of those pieces of software that is in it’s own category. Now if there versions of it for mobile platforms it would be even further up the list.

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