Finding a good RSS feed reader isn’t that easy as there are so many to choose from and some are less useful than others. Here’s a comparison of the popular and less popular newsfeed readers available in most distributions repositories.

The alternatives at a glance

The most mature desktop RSS readers are QuiteRSS built on Qt, Akregator built in the KDE libraries and Liferea built in GTK+. Then there’s FeedReader and RSS Guard.

Additionally there’s webserver-based RSS readers like Tiny Tiny RS, selfoss and Nextcloud News. Alduin is built on the node.js/electron platform is kind-of a desktop program. AmphetaDesk also exists but it hasn’t been updated since 2002.

One alternative which really stands out in it’s functionality is Tickr. It is not a traditional RSS reader, rather Tickr shows an overlay with a single line of news headlines scrolling across your desktop. It is very useful if you are into live-streaming that kind of thing; it’s not very useful as a newsreader.

Installing QuiteRSS with dnf -y install quiterss on Fedora 30 installs a program which outputs this informative text when executed:
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

apt-get install quiterss pulls 122 MB of mostly QT5 dependencies and installs a full working version on Ubuntu-Disco-Dingo. ldd indicates that QuiteRSS is built against the older Qt4 on Fedora for some reason and Qt5 on Ubuntu.

QuiteRSS checks all the boxes:

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to add feeds
  • Displays feeds in HTML format with images
  • Relatively light-weight
  • You can choose if you want to auto-load images or not with the click of a button.
  • Supports organizing your feeds in categories and subcategories.

Our verdict: 10/10. Unless, of course, you are using Fedora in which case your out-of-the-box experience will be 0/10 – unless you bite the bullet and compile QuiteRSS yourself.

Second-best: Liferea

Liferea’ is a fast and strait-forward RSS feed reader based on GTK+. It’s been around for decades.

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