Newsbeuter - RSS reader with good podcast features

Posted by – March 4, 2012

I have recently become aware of an RSS reader called Newsbeuter. It is quite different from the tools I usually use for the task, so some observations are in order.

RSS - Really Simple Syndication - is a way of getting updates about a site or service. I use RSS feeds for two distinctly different things.
First, I use the feeds for site updates, which I do for two reasons. One is for friends and people I know and respect who update their weblogs and the like, or magazines. It is good to be on top of things. The other side of that is that I receive updates to software I use, applications like Uget, for instance, which I package for Slackware.
The second major thing is podcasts & podiobooks. Ever since we got a dog and I had to walk endless miles with him - and later on with our son - I have been listening to a lot of podcasts and podiobooks. The latter is an audiobook released as a podcast - as in chapters released one by one.

Now, there is a truckload of RSS readers. The principles are simple - an RSS file is basically an XML file. But the application is done differently. For my particular purposes, most programs for the task have been a frustrating acquaintance. Until recently I was using the plugin Newsfox with Firefox, but I have discovered an even better tool: Newsbeuter.

Newsbeuter screenshot

Newsbeuter video

Newsbeuter video

As you see, there are two sides to using Newsbeuter as a podcatcher - there is the main Newsbeuter interface, and if you are going to download files from it, you enqueue them for download and access the Podbeuter application (which is packed with Newsbeuter). Podbeuter will work as a download manager.
To be honest, Podbeuter is really very good - as a download manager. Frankly, if I could find a way to push download links to Podbeuter, I would use it as my main download manager for all other kinds of files, too! In the background, it uses Curl for the download.
Newsbeuter is quite well-documented at the website documentation section, but primarily you will need the files config and urls, which I put in ~/.newsbeuter:

Config - here is my config file:

# Newsbeuter config file.
# To be placed in ~/.newsbeuter or ~/.config/newsbeuter
always-display-description	true
auto-reload			yes
browser				firefox
cleanup-on-quit			yes
download-retries		10
download-timeout		20
refresh-on-startup		yes
reload-time			10
download-path			~/Downloads
max-downloads			2

Is is probably fairly self-explanatory, but I go into the reasons for the setup in the video.

- and of course the urls file. You can  probably guess what it contains. Here is my urls file - basically just a link list.

3 Comments on Newsbeuter - RSS reader with good podcast features

  1. kabniel says:

    I’ve been using newsbeuter for years now but have ignored the podbeuter part since i’ve always been happy with hpodder for my podcasts.
    Now that hpodder is more or less unmaintained and has been behaving badly for me in the last couple of months i should probably give podbeuter a chance.

  2. Nathan Smith says:

    Thanks for the excellent suggestion. I am planning on moving away from Google Reader, and this will match my current trend of preferring terminal apps (irssi, mutt, etc.). The other I had considered was Tiny Tiny RSS, but contrary to its name its recommended system configuration is a dedicated web/db server.

  3. mjjzf says:

    Thank you for the comment. As I say, I use Newsbeuter particularly for the podcast aspect - if you just need to read RSS feeds with text, Snownews is slightly more straightforward.
    Of course, I have uploaded my Newsbeuter config files to my Owncloud installation.
    As for TinyTinyRSS, I have used and recommended it but note that there is no development on it at this time, and setting it up is kind of clunky.

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