Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

rssowl 2.0.2

RSSOwl 2.0.2 was released today, and comes with 30 bugfixes and enhancements (you can find the list HERE) but this post is actually not about that. Because we never got to talk about the new RSSowl v2, I would like to present it to Web Upd8 readers.

RSSOwl lets you gather, organize, update, and store information from any compliant source in a convenient, easy to use interface, save selected information in various formats for offline viewing and sharing, and much more. It's easy to configure and the best of all: It's platform-independent (works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X).

When you start RSSOwl, the first thing you will notice is that it can automatically add some feeds for you. All you have to do is select some categories such as computers (Linux / Windows / etc), humor, technology and so on, and some well-known websites are instantly added to your subscriptions. You can also chose to import your feeds, for instance from Google Reader (you must firstly export your feeds, of course).

rssowl sort by author

The RSSOwl interface is pretty similar to that of a modern browser: you can open the feeds in new tabs. What I really like about the RSSOwl interface though, is that you can sort feeds by their author or category meaning that if you are subscribed to a multi-author website, you can sort the posts by author and only read posts from certain authors. The same goes for tags: you can sort the posts by tags and only read certain posts form a website or blog.

You can also subscribe to a "keyword feed", meaning you will be able to read news from a specific topic of your interest. The available keyword feeds include popular providers like Google, Technorati, Delicious and Flickr.

rssowl tag

Other very useful features include the ability to save news - think of it as bookmarks -, use labels such as "Important", "Work" and so on. And like any respectable feed reader, it also includes options to share what you read on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. Since news travel fast and websites not posting any new content constantly are useless (well, not always, but anyway), you can use the Clean-Up Wizard to get rid of feeds that haven't been update in a while.

rsowl news filter

But the most powerful feature is probably the "News Filters" which allow you to automate common actions like moving or copying a news into a news bin. You can create as many filters as you need (think of it as something like Yahoo Pipes). Each filter is made up of search conditions to match specific news and a list of actions to perform on them. Once created, the filter will work on downloaded news that match the search conditions. A filter can be executed on existing news as well. Use this feature if you want to update lots of news at once.

It's not very often that I give applications a verdict, but I will give one to RSSOwl: the best feed / news reading application I've seen (and used)!

And a final note: can you imagine that I've actually only talked about just a few of the many RSSOwl features? Yes, there are a lot more thing RSSOwl can do. Head over to it's features page to see them all.

RSSOwl installation and download

Ubuntu users will be glad to know there is a repository set up for them. Although the RSSOwl version currently available in the repository is 2.0.1, the latest version should be available soon.

To add the repository, open a terminal and paste the following commands:
wget -q http://packages.rssowl.org/project/rene.moser.pubkey -O- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://packages.rssowl.org/ubuntu karmic main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"

If you don't use Ubuntu Karmic, simply replace "karmic" in the second command above, with your Ubuntu version (lucid, jaunty, intrepid, hardy).

Then, to install it:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install rssowl

I noticed a bug with the latest version (direct download - not from the Ubuntu repository): the OPML / XML import doesn't seem to work, so I suggest installing the version from the repository, importing the feeds from a service such as Google Reader and then you can use the latest version (download link at the end of the post) - it will remember all your feeds!

Any Linux distribution, Mac OS X and Windows: to run the latest RSSOwl version, simply download the appropriate package, extract it and run "RSSOwl". It should work right out of the box. Windows users also have a setup available.

Download RSSOwl