Linux has a few solid RSS readers, but there is one app that stands out from the pack: the feature-filled, customisable RSSOwl.
- Syncs with Google Reader
- Tab-based viewing so you can open a number of news feeds at once
- An embedded browser that lets you open up the full version of any article from the feed view
- Grouping mode that can group a list of entries by a specific author, category, feed, or date
- A two-pane "Newspaper View" that lets you scroll through full articles instead of just headlines (similar to Google Reader's default view)
- Saved searches, so you can create your own custom feed from multiple news sources using powerful filters
- Bookmark articles you like with the News Bins feature
- Assign labels for organisation
- Share your feeds and articles with Delicious, Facebook, Twitter, Read It Later, Email, Reddit, Evernote and more
- Get notifications of incoming news, complete with excerpts of new articles (if desired)
- Customise the UI by adding and removing items from the toolbar
- Lots, lots more
RSSOwl is easily the most powerful feed reader on Linux. Not only does it sync with Google reader, but you can just do so much with a given feed or article: open them in tabs, view them in RSSOwl's embedded browser (or the external browser of your choice), sort them by any category you wish and even create your own "feeds" with saved search filters.
It has many different view modes you can use, depending on your preferences and can share articles to one of any number of services. It's the deep configuration options that make it so great — you can choose which ones show up in the menu so it isn't cluttered. The toolbar is also completely customisable, which tweak-crazy Linux users will love.
RSSOwl is written in Java, which makes it cross platform, but also makes it seem a little out of place (not to mention resource-hungry) on any given platform. It's far from the prettiest news reader you'll find on Linux and far from the fastest — but the sheer number of features usually makes it worth dealing with Java. It's also kind of a pain to install, since you have to get it through the GetDeb repositories (which, at least for me, were a bit finicky the first time I set them up).
If you'd rather have something a bit more native to Linux, Liferea is a GTK native feed reader for Linux. It's a bit simpler than RSSOwl, though it does have Google Reader syncing, a News Bins feature, saved searches and sharing features. While it has a lot of the same features, they're all much less configurable. Its sharing feature, for example, only lets you share your bookmarked articles, and even then only to one of its many sources — that is, you can't choose a different source every time you share an article. Its search isn't also quite as powerful, and while it provides a few different view modes, it doesn't provide as many as RSSOwl. Still, if you aren't picky, then RSSOwl's feature set isn't worth the performance hit and Liferea is a pretty good choice.
Akregator has some nice features like tabbed viewing, notifications and some nice Konqueror integration, but like many KDE apps, its main advantage is its integration with the KDE desktop environment — and we wouldn't recommend it for anyone else. Its lack of Google Reader syncing is also a huge turn-off, as we like the ability to view our feeds from any device. Similarly, if you don't mind a lack of Google Reader syncing, Firefox and Thunderbird also have basic RSS support built in, which some users love since they don't need to have a separate app installed.
Lastly, there's nothing wrong with using a web-based reader like Google Reader or Netvibes. Both provide great interfaces, sharing features and (in the case of Netvibes), loads of customisation — not to mention access to your feeds from anywhere. They aren't native apps, but they are viable solutions and competitive ones when it comes to feature set and convenience.
Of course, these aren't the only feed readers, but we think they're the ones most worth checking out. If you have a favourite we didn't mention, be sure to let us know about it in the comments.
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