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Finally I have managed to come to an end of the loooong expedition. The expedition insearch of an RSS reader. A good one. One that fits Chanux’ needs. One like Google reader. Oops… I said that.

OK let’s face it. The best RSS reading experience I ever had was with Google reader (GR). I really like all the control I get over my subscriptions, through Google reader. But I wanted to switch. Yes I have reasons.

** Google Readers bandwidth usage is pretty high.
This maybe a myth. But I believe that I experienced it at the last time I used it. And my Internet connection has a bandwidth limit.

** I want to get rid of cloud madness. I’m afraid of cloud.

** I want my RSS subscription to be with me even when I’m out of internet. (now I have my HP mini with me all the time :D )

Because of those reasons I wanted an alternative & was googling for Good, great, nice, Google reader like RSS readers all the time. I found a lot of RSS readers & actually tried following readers. All I have to say is here in the shortest way I can express.

Mozilla Thunderbird. (Mozillas email/news reader : seejay suggested)

  • I didn’t like the overall experience at all. (Only RSS experience. It’s my primary mail client).
  • It downloads the RSS headings & then fetch the page itself when requested. I don’t like that.

Snownews. (Command Line Interface tool : found when googling)

  • Since this is a CLI tool I really liked it.
  • But had problems importing my GR feeds list (you have to convert xml to snownews format). Too lazy to ‘investigate’.

Snowl. (Firefox extension : found when googling)

  • The interface was not compelling.
  • I didn’t like the user experience.
  • Less control over feed etching (or I didn’t find proper controls ).
  • Annoying bandwidth overhead.

Brief. (Firefox extension : found on mozilla site)

  • Great/cool user Interface.
  • Usability, control over feed fetching is great.
  • Almost GR like navigation with “Headline View”.
  • Author of the software says that he doesn’t have plans to implement synchronization with GR. (Well I still want my RSS be synced with GR).

Akregator. (I knew that : seejay was using)

  • Good interface.
  • It’s KDE software (I <3 KDE) .
  • Easy navigation with widescreen view (for me).
  • Sync with GR is somewhere in the air :D .
  • (my) processor cries in compact view.
  • Couldn’t find syncing anywhere other than developer chit chat.

Conclusion:
Akregator & Brief will saty here with me. But I’ll choose one as my primary RSS reader soon. Most the time it’ll be akregator because hopefully it’ll sync with GR. Yes GR sync definitely makes akregator win over Brief even though Briefs’ User Interface is GREAT.

Note: AFAIK snownews & akreagtor do not have Windows versions. Thunderbird, snowl & Brief are available for win. For a long list of RSS tools check this great post. But Please choose free & open source software.

2 Comments

  1. I have been using GReader for a while and I’m pretty happy with it. More than anything I’m too lazy to export/import my subscription list used in desktop readers whenever I do a new OS installation.

    About the reasons you mentioned.
    * Bandwidth – You might be correct. It’s Ajaxy, so we don’t know what’s running behind. It’s not a concern for me yet.

    * Could madness – I don’t know where you get this idea, perhaps from RMS? ;) Anyway, the truth is we all depend on external providers for various online services starting from e mail, IM to other stuff. So if I’m to worry about cloud madness, I’ll have much more to worry about than my RSS/Atom subscription. My opinion is, if you want to stop depending on external providers or keeping your data 100% inaccessible by other parties,… the only straight forward way is to host your own servers (including storage, connectivity and the whole nine yards). Even shared and VPS hosting services bare you to themselves (in the form of backups and storage usually) up to a certain extent. So I’m not that worried about that aspect about cloud. There is a level of trust involved in almost every online services. When ever I don’t have that trust or have too personal/important things (i.e: my world domination blueprints) I tend to keep that data to myself. :) If you are using Facebook (which I don’t. to date),.. I guess using could apps is nothing you’d have to worry. :D

    * Offline reading – This option is available with the Google Gears addon on Firefox. I can only comment about using this feature on Firefox on Linux because that’s what I use.

    I used Akregator for a short time before switching to GReader permanently. Mainly for convenience, but also because I use GNOME mainly and Akgregator was the only KDE app I used regularly. I never tried Thunderbird as I’m using Evolution. And I don’t thing I’d switch back to a desktop reader anytime soon.

    Thanks for the links and description about the reader options. Especially Brief looks very neat. However it’s a sidebar app. I’m not a big sidebar fan (as I think you are ;) ) I spend most of my time in front of a screen, so I tend to avoid distracting stuff.

  2. @gaveen

    Thanx for the “descriptive” comment.

    My comments about cloud are actually just to fool myself (I’d never be able to leave cloud :( ) . But at least it’s “life, one cloud s/w less”. I’d like to use adobe Air but I don’t. Why? Because it’s “life, one non-free s/w less” :) .

    I use Gmail so happily & that means I’m too much cloud spoilt (e-mail is where we keep most private & sensitive stuff & we are happy Google reading our Gmail. Yes we agreed to).

    Except on email, I will hardly put my private/sensitive stuff on internet, so in FB, so in twitter.

    Brief opens in a separate tab.

    I would love snownews if I can get it to work. CLI is heaven. That explains why I love irssi.

    I haven’t ever felt that Google gears reliably gets things offline. An again it’s “life, one Google s/w less” :) .


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