May 16

I’m off on holiday to the west of Ireland once again in a couple of weeks time, hoping to keep in touch with the tech world using my trusty old Acer Aspire One netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Edition. Yes I know it’s old school – I don’t have a 3G smartphone yet so I have to go this route. I use Google Reader as my RSS reader but this only works when you have an internet connection as it’s an online reader. As I’ll be away from public WiFi most of the time, I need to be able to update the feeds when and where I can and then browse them at my leisure offline. When travelled there 2 years ago, Google Gears was still supported so I could use this to read my feeds in Google Reader offline.  But since then, Google has withdrawn Gears so I looked at the alternative they suggested in that post – Liferea (Linux Feed Reader), a desktop RSS aggregator for Linux.

No problems installing Liferea using

sudo apt-get install liferea

at the command line. To update Liferea with your Reader feeds, just click Subscriptions, New Source and select Google Reader from the dialog. Then enter your Google username and password. I have about 180 subscriptions in Reader and Liferea took about 20-30 minutes to read in all the feeds. And then I deleted the example feeds which weren’t of any use to me.

I’ve installed version 1.6.3 but I get the impression Liferea is very much work in progress or else it doesn’t play nicely with Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. It doesn’t update feeds in alphabetical order although I note this had been added in later releases. Also there’s no indication when it has stopped updating, other than the hard drive LED stops flashing. But apart from that, it seems to present my latest unread posts clearly in offline mode so it’ll do the job I want on holiday. Doubtless I’ll learn much more on how it works ‘at the coal face’.


If you use WiFi, how do you browse your RSS feeds offline? Or is it time for me to get a smartphone? Or should I just switch off on holiday? Drop a comment below.

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