newsbeuter: quick setup guide on Ubuntu

I keep in touch with open source and Linux updates through news and RSS feeds. I had been using canto for a year or so. Another terminal based RSS/news feed reader caught my attention recently – newsbeuter. The interface is unobtrusive and organized. Besides it has some powerful features:

  • Subscribe to RSS 0.9x, 1.0, 2.0 and Atom feeds
  • Download podcasts
  • Freely configure your keyboard shortcuts
  • Search through all downloaded articles
  • Categorize and query your subscriptions with a flexible tag system
  • Integrate any data source through a flexible filter and plugin system
  • Automatically remove unwanted articles through a “killfile”
  • Define “meta feeds” using a powerful query language
  • Synchronize newsbeuter with your bloglines.com account
  • Import and export your subscriptions in OPML format
  • Customize look ‘n feel through color configuration and format strings

I took around an hour to set it up because of the number of options it has but it was worth the time. Here’s the quick and dirty way to setup newsbeuter on Ubuntu and keep in touch with the latest buzz in your field of interest from the terminal.

  1. Install it from the Ubuntu official repos:
    $ sudo apt-get install newsbeuter
  2. The first time you run it you will get the following error:
    Error: no URLs configured. Please fill the file /home/ak/.newsbeuter/urls with RSS feed URLs or import an OPML file.
  3. Create the ~/.newsbeuter/urls file. Add some RSS feed links. E.g.:
    http://www.phoronix.com/rss.php
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/software/headlines.atom
  4. newsbeuter should run with default configuration options now. But you would definitely want to fine-tune it to your own liking. Create the file ~/.newsbeuter/config and add the configuration options you want. The man page should help. You can also refer to the official docs. Here are my configuration options:
    refresh-on-startup yes
    browser firefox
    color listnormal_unread cyan black
    datetime-format "%b %d %R"
    max-items 20
    keep-articles-days 3
    show-read-feeds no
    show-read-articles no
    mark-as-read-on-hover yes

And that’s how I got the application up and running. Till now I am more than happy with the experience. newsbeuter can very well become my default RSS/news feed reader soon.

Webpage: newsbeuter

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