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Best Recommended Unix, Linux, Ubuntu RSS Feed Reader

Posted: 2010-01-20
From: Mathaba
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Few people using Ubuntu are aware of a powerful news reader that can easily be activated from the Applications Add menu

(Mathaba) By going to the Ubuntu Applications menu top right, and selecting Add/Remove, then searching "all available applications" for RSS, we easily installed and tested 3 different RSS reader applications. Update: in later versions you may find these programs in the Ubuntu Software Center, or in System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.


First up is YARSSR: "Yet Another RSS Reader" is an RSS aggregator and reader that displays its results in the GNOME or KDE system tray (notification area). To view the contents of the feed just click the menu-item and it will launch in your favorite browser.

It does not have much additional functionality, for example it does not display items in its own GUI, but it is a simple application that works, and provides a drop down when clicking on its icon in the system tray, from where news items can be selected and read directly on the relevant news website.

I find it very useful for things I really need to keep an eye on, and its color changes if there is anything new.

Canonical does not provide updates for Yarssr. Some updates may be provided by the Ubuntu community.


Liferea (Linux Fead Reader) works on Linux and Unix, and is definitely our favourite. Rated 4 stars, it provides great functionality, including optional pop-up notification of new items. News items with headline, image and summary can be browsed easily in its clean GUI (see image at the top of this article), and it provides various options and great functionality.

After installing via the Applications menu (then Add/Remove or Ubuntu Software Center) and searching for Liferea under "all available applications", you can launch the program the first time from Applications > Internet > Liferea. Then you will want to make a few changes to the Preferences:

After launching the program, use its Tools menu and select Preferences. On the GUI tab, unless you are following a huge number of feeds, you may want to check (tick) the box "Show a popup window with new headlines". If your system tray is not too cluttered, you may want to tick the box "Show a status icon in the notification area". If so, you should probably tick the "show number of new items in the tray icon" otherwise it is a bit hard to tell when there are new items.

It'd be nice if in future upgrades the icon was made a little bigger, as the color change when there are new items is not so very clear, and if there was a way to optionally drop down a listing of new items as in Yarssr without opening the entire GUI.

Importantly, Canonical does provide critical updates for Liferea Feed Reader until October 2010.

We recommend that you remove any of the pre-installed feeds that do not interest you, and that you add Mathaba's main highlights feed so that you are notified of important news that matters. Add a new subscription, the feed source is: http://rss.mathaba.net/MathabaNews


We also tried the Blam feed reader, rated 2 stars by the Ubuntu community, but did not get good results with it. Canonical does not provide updates either. However, this may be a work in progress and the Blam developers site could be checked for any future developments.


We recommend our readers using Linux or Unix systems, to use the Liferea RSS reader for feeds you want to monitor and group, and Yarssr for more important alerts, so you can distinguish, since a feedreader is almost always having new items in it.

Please add our main highlight feed as mentioned above, in order to get a daily selection of our output. Other additional feeds can be selected from more than 50 subject areas covered by Mathaba News at the following URL:
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