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mdxi (4658)

mdxi
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Journal of mdxi (4658)

Saturday April 09, 2005
03:21 PM

Pondering RSS

[ #24096 ]

After a lengthy period of hard-to-rationalize aversion, I recently began to envision ways in which an RSS reader thingy might actually benefit me and be more convenient than a browser.

Unfortulately, a quick search for linux RSS apps revealed that they all basically are browsers, just with lots of expandible bookmarks or which generate their own, ever-changing home pages. This, to me, is completely missing the point of RSS as a time-based service. What I would like to see in an RSS reader, by default, is a chronologically sorted list of all stories from all sources, perhaps presented like:

STORY                       | SOURCE |  AGE
New Pope Elected            | BBC    |    3m
Something wacky yet erudite | TorgoX |   15m
Repost                      | /.     | 2h43m
New comic                   | OG     | 4d 6h

And as you read stories they sort to the bottom half of the list.

I spent about an hour perusing various project websites, and if any existing reader does this, it doesn't bother to say so on its site. Even the NetNewsWire, which is apparently the Gold Standard of RSS aggregators, doesn't (appear to) do this.

This presentation also does away with the need for the 3-pane interface, though if one were to keep it around, I'd recommend making it a list of user-defined categories instead of a list of bookmarks (NNW does appear to do this, but still presents stories within categories by source instead of by age).

For my personal use, I think I'd best like just 2 categories: News and Not. And I'd rather have a category popup instead of a persistant 3rd pane slurping up valuable horizontal real estate. Also, in the best of all possible worlds, it would be a curses app (or at least a non-UI-specific engine with variable front ends).

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  • I'm using akregator [sourceforge.net] which is a wonderful KDE-based RSS/Atom aggregator. What it does, is let you organize the feeds in the tree, and display how many unread articles there are in every feed. Very convenient, and you don't lose track of unread articles this way.

    I highly recommend using RSS. It's so much more convenient than regularly visiting half-a-million sites just to check what's new.

  • Liferea [sf.net] can sort of do this. Many others probably can too. How you get there is by way of the summary folder view, ie if you check the corresponding preference, upon selecting a folder, the aggregator will present a view of all the feeds' items as if it were a single feed. Then you also enable hiding read items, and that gets you overall very close to what you were looking for.

    I agree it's not perfect. I've yet to find an aggregator that really makes it easy to keep up with a metric ton of feeds, mostly