Liferea: an RSS reader for GNOME

December 19th, 2007 edited by paulgear

Article submitted by Paul Gear. Please help DPOTD by submitting good articles about software you like!

I recently discovered Liferea, an RSS reader/aggregator that uses Mozilla’s xulrunner as its web browsing engine. Its interface resembles that of a mail client such as Mozilla Thunderbird (a.k.a. icedove), and it works in much the same way, marking items as read when you click on them. Here’s a screen shot of Liferea in action:


Useful features include:

  • Items in feeds may be flagged for later reference, and viewed in a separate “Flagged” folder
  • Custom folder hierarchies for organising feeds
  • “Heads-up display” on-screen notifications
  • Selectable web browser (either internal, or any of the GNOME options)

Installation is typically straightforward using the standard package management tools on Debian or Ubuntu. A GNOME menu item is automatically created, and I was immediately productive after finding the basic menu items. Each feed has a number of options available, and Liferea will intelligently choose an appropriate refresh interval for each feed, or use your default if you prefer that instead.

One feature that would be useful to add to Liferea (this review is based on version 1.0.27 from Debian etch) is emailing of links, but this is easily worked around by opening in an external browser, and using the email link option from there.

Despite discovering it largely by accident (I saw it in the user agent portion of my blog’s Apache log), Liferea has become a mainstay desktop application for me. If you don’t find Liferea appropriate for your needs, you might want to check Wikipedia’s list of feed aggregators for one more appropriate to your needs.

Liferea has been in Debian since at least sarge and Ubuntu since at least dapper (it was in the universe repository prior to feisty).

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

10 Responses

  1. Tony Yarusso Says:

    Another feature that I find handy is that it can do HTTP authentication for private feeds, like protected LiveJournal and Xanga sites.

  2. Chris Says:

    Liferea was my first RSS reader. The interface is clean and it’s simple to use. I ended up switching to Google Reader for the convenience of being able to access my history and read items from any computer.

  3. paulgear Says:

    Google’s privacy policy is good enough reason for me to stick with Liferea for now! ;-)

  4. Evildead Says:

    > I ended up switching to Google Reader

    Almost same thing for me, I prefer to use netvibes now.

  5. George Says:

    It’s the only newsreader I use. My only problem with it is that if you right-click on an entry in the list view and choose “Launch in Browser” it’ll open inside Liferea itself, but if you right-click on the feed title in the preview pane and choose “Launch in Browser” it’ll launch in the default selected browser. Funny behaviour.

    That and it lags a bit when accessing feeds with lots of entries.

    I love it though and Search Folders are pretty cool.

  6. Vadim P. Says:

    It’s my first and only rss reader of this sort too. Works great, except sometimes it forgets and re-marks read things as unread.

  7. Paul Says:

    I’ve been using Liferea for a couple of weeks and it is - for the most part - a very nice application.

    Like Vadim, I do sometimes see the same stories popping up in my Unread folder. But this is quite a minor issue and I do like the Search All feeds option

  8. Yuki Says:

    I’ve played with Liferea, but Google Reader is my preference.

    It’s an okay app, but when I import my RSS feeds (50+) and ask it to update them all, it gets a little funky.

  9. Sx66gns Says:

    I love Liferea , this may sound like a load of crap , that something so simple could sway me so much. But way back when I first started playing with linux distros I had been searching for an RSS reader in windows without luck , I just didn’t like any of them for one thing or another , then a buddy said I had to try this and I loved it and still do , it’s always running on my work and home machines and highly personalized , thanks for the advanced tips! keep up the good work.

  10. paulgear Says:

    I’ve seen the duplicate unread items issue with both liferea and Thunderbird, and i suspect that it’s actually an issue with the feed creator in the ones i’ve seen, not an aggregator issue.