Keep up with the News with RSS Feed Readers

RSS, an excellent Alternative to E-Mail Newsletters
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Webpages inform their readers about new news and contributions on request. In addition to the classic e-mail newsletter (newsletter, mailing list), RSS news tickers are also very popular. These inform you either about all new contributions, or purposefully only about individual ranges of topics, articles (as well as uploaded new video films, sound files etc.), or about new reader comments, completely after your choice.

Essentially, RSS is a file that is tagged with news items, such as headlines, or text excerpts that contain a reference to the entire post. Complete articles including web links and illustrations can also be included in an RSS news ticker.

How does the reader find out about news on webpages? He "subscribes" to the individual Internet site news tickers that interest him with a program. For a better overview, news can be divided into any self-chosen news categories (politics, nutrition, etc.). Each time the application software is started, it checks whether there are any new messages. This means that the news tickers of the respective Internet pages are actively called up and checked for new entries. The desired update rhythm (hourly, half-hourly, or shorter) can be set in the program settings.

Excerpt of the RSS news overview

RSS offers advantages for readers as well as for website owners: The reader no longer has to reveal an e-mail address, instead the user actively subscribes to the user's own RSS application, but without any registration: The retrieval of a news ticker is just as (relatively) anonymous as the retrieval of a website. The website owner no longer has to worry about time-consuming registration and checking processes for mailing lists or e-mail distribution lists, the provision of an RSS news ticker is completely sufficient.

In virtually all content management systems and blog sys­tems, RSS feeds are provided fully automatically af­ter the page owner has activated them. For the entire page, for individual articles, and for their comment

areas. Many video portals also automatically publish RSS news tickers for individual channels. Manual creation using RSS editors is also possible.

With RSS, news from numerous websites can be captured at a glance: New news entries are highlighted in the overview, e.g. by bold markings and by indicating the number of unread news, as well as optionally by coloured highlights. When reading text extracts, it is possible to load the complete article into the RSS program or into a separate web page reading program (browser). Of course, articles can also be loaded completely from the outset. RSS messages can be displayed, opened and read like e-mail messages within a three-part user interface, under numerous grouping criteria.

Firefox extensions like "Morning Coffee Quantum" offer similar functionality to RSS by opening multiple web pages of a list at the push of a button in separate tabs. However, the reader himself must check the page content for news, there is no automatic compilation of news as with RSS news collectors (aggregators).

Many websites publish RSS feeds as well as RDF and Atom feeds to keep the reader up to date. Of course, modern programs like RSSOwl can also handle these formats.

In today's information overload, news tickers are a great help in exploring the essential information. It is easier to get new news from numerous web presences bundled and presented at a glance than to have to search for them in different page areas. If there is no time for news analysis, you can take a look at past news entries afterwards (like a headline archive), or run a search for personally relevant keywords

RSS news tickers are also an excellent alternative to e-mail mailing lists from the point of view of freedom and politics. They allow readers to be actively informed without running the risk of missing news due to e-mail censorship: Web site owners report time and again that newsletters on new posts or calls could sometimes not be sent or received because the sender was not compliant enough with the e-mail service provider from a political point of view.

Of course, news ticker compilations can also be exported and imported, including individually created categories and other grouping and configuration criteria. Web site owners therefore have the option of offering recommended news ticker collections for download, which readers can then import into their own RSS reader program.

Application Programs suitable for RSS

A variety of applications are suitable for reading RSS, by default or in combination with free free extensions: Web browsers, e-mail programs, stand-alone RSS programs (feed readers), or RSS Internet services. Such services (News aggregation websites) offer synchronization options (with similar advantages to the IMAP email protocol)

as well as the option to view all news bundled on a website or in a sent e-mail. However, they are not explained here.

RSS bookmark lists can of course be exported and imported.

RSS Web Browser Extensions

RSS “add-ons” for web browsers are widely used and installed in seconds.

For Mozilla Firefox, Chrome and Chromium there are numerous RSS extensions (Add-ons resp. Extensions) of which four are presented in the following.


RSSPreview (MIT/X11 license) restores the classic RSS capabilities of Firefox and offers additional features. Official Firefox add-on page, excerpt (11/26/2019):

Firefox has removed support for RSS in versions 64+, including the useful preview feature.

This extension attempts to recreate it.

Additional features:

Start the screenshot series on the official Firefox site to get an impression (4 screenshots).

Feed Preview

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Awesome RSS

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E-Mail Clients

Free or free RSS extensions are offered for numerous local e-mail programs (MUAs), some, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, are already equipped by default for reading RSS tickers. An incomplete selection: RSS with Mo­­zil­­la Thun­der­bird, with MS-​Out­­look (see also “Introduction to RSS”), with Claws-​Mail, with Evo­lu­tion.

Recommendation for RSS reader programs: You can also use an e-mail program exclusively as an RSS reader. Use the excellent Mozilla Thunderbird as an RSS reader, official information from Mozilla: “How to Subscribe to News Feeds and Blogs”, “News Feeds (RSS), Blogs and Social ”.

RSS Readers

RSS reader programs are the first choice for “news professionals” and analysts. Many news sources can be displayed simultaneously and checked for news at a glance, pre-sorted, pre-categorized, and prepared for maximum clarity according to areas of interest.

Among the free RSS readers there are (operating system) platform-independent as well as platform-dependent programs. A small selection:

Cross-platform: RSSOwl for MS-​Win­dows, Unix/BSD and GNU/Li­nux

RSSOwl is a powerful, comfortable and extremely feature-rich, platform-independent RSS reader program.

It requires the free Java Runtime Environment, which must be installed first. The download section of the official RSSOwl page lists all language and operating system platform versions.

OpenJDK is not only free like Oracle's Java runtime environment for MS Windows. In addition, it is also true free software from the program code point of view.

MS-Win­dows: RSS-Ban­dit

RSS-Bandit is another powerful free RSS reader for MS-Windows. It requires the free Microsoft .Net Framework.

BSD/Unix, GNU/Linux

Users of unix-like operating systems ((BSD/Unix, GNU/Linux) have a large selection of free RSS applications that are not dependent on runtime environments. For an overview, type “RSS” into the package manager search box of your BSD/Unix distribution, and detailed information will appear. Two of several powerful RSS programs: Akregator and Liferea.

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Ca­te­go­ry:RSS •Com­pa­ri­son of feed ag­gre­ga­tors •Ca­te­go­ry:News ag­gre­ga­tors •Feed ag­gre­ga­tor •RSS edi­tor

As of: October 17, 2022

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