Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

RSS Software

Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Internet Apps
By

RSS feeds allow content Web sites to stream up-to-date headlines to subscribers.

Subscribing to an RSS feed is usually a pretty simple process, and typically free. You just need to pull up one of your favorite sites, right-click the little RSS logo and Copy Link Location (or left-click on the logo and then copy the URL), then paste it into an RSS feed reader or aggregator.

Although RSS readers are definitely becoming less relevant due to Web apps/services and browser plug-ins performing their core function, news junkies probably need a fully-featured app. Also, there is no doubt already a lot of extra stress on the browser from all your other Web apps and plug-ins. Why let your RSS feeds become just another victim of a browser crash? I used the RSS feeds from Tom's Hardware, MaximumPC, Digg, and Slashdot to test the RSS feed-reading abilities of our readers. I also used the TWiT RSS to test podcatching abilities (audio-only).

Akregator (v. 1.4.2)

Akregator is the most robust app listed here. The interface is separated by three panes. The long pane on the left side is a listing of your feeds in the file tree-style. The upper-right pane lists the headlines of the feed selected in the left pane. The lower-right pane is where the story is displayed when the corresponding headline is selected from the list in the pane above. If you want to see a full story in it's original form, simply click Complete Story. A new tab will open in the right panes displaying the article from it's original source.

Akgregator also saves your open tabs when it's closed down, so you can pick up right where you left off the next time that you open the app. Akregator only needs the domain URL for each feed; it automatically finds the feed's proper URL and populates the proper name. For example, type 'tomshardware.com' and Akregator will automatically set up the Tom's news feed. This app is pretty fast, despite having the most features out of the apps listed here, as well as being a KDE app run in GNOME. Even is you're not using KDE, Akregator is still the best standalone RSS reader for Linux.



yarssr (Yet Another RSS Reader) (v. 0.2.2)

yarssr is fantastic, for what it's able to do. This app is an aggregator, not a reader. It does not open the full articles so you can read them; it opens a browser for that. Rather, it simply updates the headlines for each feed.

Though not technically an applet, yarssr resides entirely in the system tray and uses almost no system resources. Its icon is normally a white newspaper, which turns red when refreshing feeds and green when new unread headlines are available. You can set the interval to refresh the feeds, how many headings to display, and what browser should open the links. That's it. If you don't want a bulky app for updating your RSS, yarssr is the answer.



Liferea (v. 1.4.26)

Liferea is similar to Akregator's interface. Feeds are listed on the left pane, the upper right pane lists headlines for the feed selected in the left pane. The lower-right pane displays articles for the selected headline in the upper-right pane.

Also similar to Akregator is Liferea's ability to automatically find RSS feeds for a Web site. You simply input the address to the domain in order to get its RSS feeds. The app does not, however, open the source article within Liferea. For that, it opens your browser.

It can also aggregate podcasts, again opening the browser for playback. Liferea is a slow-loading application. In fact, it exhibited the signs of a crashed app.

It also acted this way when adding a new feed. If you are patient, Liferea will eventually come alive. Note that this app was much speedier on the virtualized 32-bit versions of Fedora and Ubuntu than on the 64-bit Ubuntu test system, making Liferea much more attractive for those running 32-bit operating systems.



Blam Feed Reader (v. 1.8.6)

Blam has a simple interface, and the application itself is easy to use. It is set up like Akregator and Liferea, with the left pane displaying feeds, the upper-right pane recanting headlines, and the lower-left pane dedicated to stories.

However, properly reading RSS feeds is hit-or-miss with this app. Blam could not open the RSS feeds from Tom's Hardware at all, and the stories from MaximumPC were scrambled. The TWiT feed came in properly, but there was no way to listen to or download the podcasts (not even a link that would open your browser). Feeds from Digg and Slashdot came in properly, but you have to use the exact URL for the RSS. This app cannot find feeds automatically from domains.

Blam also exhibits one of my pet peeves: it resides in the system tray, yet you cannot quit the application from the system tray icon. Instead, you must restore the app in order to use its menu bar and select Quit. In fact, the system tray icon holds no function, other than being the destination for the app when it is closed/minimized.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 88 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 6:39 AM
    tacoslavemy web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.

    I run Linux on my old notebook and the experience is more than just satisfying. In fact most of the office work I do on that notebook is now done in linux an Win are used only to play. If linux only got some more games...
  • 12 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 7:04 AM
    allow me to say this in a simple minded manner ...

    for the dumb there is OS X
    for the weak there is windows
    for the rest there is LINUX

    If u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.

    p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED :) 
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , September 15, 2009 6:29 AM
    my web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.
  • 15 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 6:39 AM
    tacoslavemy web machine runs on linux and i find the experience to be quite satisfying but i still game on windows.

    I run Linux on my old notebook and the experience is more than just satisfying. In fact most of the office work I do on that notebook is now done in linux an Win are used only to play. If linux only got some more games...
  • 12 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 7:04 AM
    allow me to say this in a simple minded manner ...

    for the dumb there is OS X
    for the weak there is windows
    for the rest there is LINUX

    If u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.

    p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Hellbound , September 15, 2009 7:19 AM
    CharlesXumaallow me to say this in a simple minded manner ... for the dumb there is OS Xfor the weak there is windows for the rest there is LINUXIf u find my statement offensive, then DO something about it dont just sit there winning about it. (LEARN) Remember we were all DUMB ONCE.p.s : GAMERS NOT INCLUDED


    ding fries are done....
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 7:21 AM
    For FTP you can also simply use nautilus, the file manager. Just click file->connect to server (or in the menu bar places->connect to server)
  • 1 Hide
    cybrcatter , September 15, 2009 8:12 AM
    CharlesXuma:
    You truly covered all of you bases in that post.

    I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.
    I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.
  • 1 Hide
    mitch074 , September 15, 2009 8:26 AM
    I'm a Linux user. I'm not a big gamer.

    Still, that Nexuiz thingie gives my RadeonHD 4850 a workout. Chromium B.S.U. might be old but it's nice looking and addictive. And TORCS is not for the faint of heart. And...

    Well, if you go and dig into the results of 'linux games' in Google, you can find nice stuff.
  • 1 Hide
    dragoon190 , September 15, 2009 9:15 AM
    Thought you can run most of the games through wine
  • 0 Hide
    charlesxuma , September 15, 2009 9:42 AM
    u actually can run most of your games through wine, however if ur a hardcore gamer that installs and plays many (as in 20+) new games, wine still needs development for these kinds of users, your better off having windows os on the side, for that task in particular.

    There is an exception, but it will cost you a monthly fee, that hooks wine on to a software that updates installation and compatibility on a regular basis.(for the ones who can't configure wine themselves.)
  • -2 Hide
    crash27 , September 15, 2009 9:46 AM
    The mouse lag drives me nuts.
    got a gmae server up but it took so long I reinstalled windows and hit the install button. Server was up in less than 2 minutes.

    Linux is great if you have hours and hours to get it all working......
    oh and if you don't mind waiting to se where you moved your mouse all the time.
    No wait move it back just a little.....
  • 1 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 9:55 AM
    cybrcatterCharlesXuma:You truly covered all of you bases in that post.I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.


    I'm afraid that for the most companies "efficient use of their capital" means outsourcing (and "downsizing" the number of workers).
    As for companies SWITCHING from Windows to Linux there are many obstacles, like in the process of doing so the working process in the company would be affected or even partially halted; employees often don't like to change the software they are used to work with (although working with most software packets in Linux is not so much different than in Windows - especially office applications); possible hardware compatibility problems; but most of all the biggest problem is Windows licensing: you can hardly buy a computer without Windows already installed - if you switch to Linux you "throw away" the money paid for the license.

    The interesting statistics would be how many of NEW FOUNDED companies are using Linux as they don't all the problems mentioned above and are also strapped of cash.
  • -7 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 9:59 AM
    cybrcatterCharlesXuma:You truly covered all of you bases in that post.I was hoping that with the recession, perhaps companies who were really trying to make more efficient use of their capital would start to look at Linux as a tempting prospect.I wounder if there are any intriguing statistics about this.


    I'm afraid that for the most companies "efficient use of their capital" means outsourcing (and "downsizing" the number of workers).
    As for companies SWITCHING from Windows to Linux there are many obstacles, like in the process of doing so the working process in the company would be affected or even partially halted; employees often don't like to change the software they are used to work with (although working with most software packets in Linux is not so much different than in Windows - especially office applications); possible hardware compatibility problems; but most of all the biggest problem is Windows licensing: you can hardly buy a computer without Windows already installed - if you switch to Linux you "throw away" the money paid for the license.

    The interesting statistics would be how many of NEW FOUNDED companies are using Linux as they don't have all the problems mentioned above and are also strapped of cash.
  • -4 Hide
    ibnsina , September 15, 2009 10:33 AM
    No doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows.

    Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 10:59 AM
    Linux developers need to learn how to design a efficient user interface. The fact that a commercial Unix (OS X) has the most usable interface between the hundreds of linux/unix distros is a testament of their flawed philosophy of "open software is always better"
  • 0 Hide
    C 64 , September 15, 2009 11:22 AM
    Quote:
    ibnsinaNo doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows. Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.


    There already is an cut down version of Linux with a smooth user friendly GUI - it is called OS X (the mass market aspect is questionable though) :) .

    As pretty much everything with Linux the graphical interfaces come in various shapes and sizes (so to say). In Windows you are pretty much locked in AERO GUI but there are several different GUI's.
    Most popular are GNOME and KDE - and at least they don't lack in usability compared to Windows.
  • 1 Hide
    sanctoon , September 15, 2009 1:05 PM
    ibnsinaNo doubt Linux is more stable and reliable than Windows, however where it falls behind is graphics user interface and usability. A simplified and cut down version of Linux should be made for the mass market, with a smooth user-friendly GUI that can match Windows. Even then it would be still unlikely Linux can threat windows, because the dollar rules, major software companies are here to make money.


    My Jaunty GUI is much more efficient than any windows one. Thats the beauty of it all, the customizability. If you ever think, oh it would be nice if my GUI could do that or look like this, chances are, with a bit of google you could do it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 1:08 PM
    Thanks for the list toms!
    If this where an article that covered all programs it wouldn't be up by 100%, but 100x.
    There are nearly 1000 free apps for Linux, and a couple of hundred payed or semi payed apps.

    It also greatly differs from which version of Linux. Most apps talked about here work in a gnome/denian based Linux. There's also Slaxx, or redhat based linux.
    Programs that work in Ubuntu may not always work in Mandriva, or DSL.

    But it's a good list of options in case I would want to switch to a Buntu style Linux.
  • 3 Hide
    syedcdp , September 15, 2009 1:15 PM
    At last, I see an article related Linux after a very long time on TH. Did I miss any articles btw?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 2:11 PM
    pepe_2: I assume you're completely ignorant to Linux, Linux is very, very useable, but the UI isn't dumbed down to MacOSX levels, and I wouldn't want it to be. I take it you're a Mac user, is that 2-button mouse a bit too complicated for you?


    PS: Nice article, I appreciate the attempts to spread awareness. I use Linux as my main OS, and I would never go back to Windows now, most people don't switch just because they don't realize that Linux can do everything they need it to. Kubuntu9.10 is just amazing, I tried the alpha live CD, with the new video driver, it runs fast even on my crappy 5 y/o Intel IGP.
Display more comments