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Linux RSS Reader Comparison

I was looking for a light RSS reader. Unlike many out there today, I was not looking for a Google Reader replacement. I wanted a stand-a-lone app that didn't take a lot of system resources to run and was not screen intrusive.


  • Review Date: 2014-01-17
  • Review By: David Rader


  • stand-a-lone app (not web-based)
  • light on system resources (RAM and CPU) and footprint
  • powerful (search, tags, etc.) yet simple
  • easy to setup/import feeds




App Score Type Size CPU RAM Notes
canto 6 ncurses 660kb 2.0% 24204 Nice, fairly widely used but has charset issues with mrxvt. I also do not prefer its layout, somewhat of an expanded list view. Have to collapse (C) to switch between feed lists and then expand (V) to show items again.
liferea 6 GUI (gtk) 47.4mb 7.0 50472 Very popular but 47mb?? A nice app but takes entirely too much realty for my taste.
blam 0 GUI (mono) 57.6mb     Skipped, uses mono.
straw 0         Skipped, not in repo.
raggle 0 console       Skipped, not in repo. Ruby based. Does not appear to be active (last source modified dates appear to be in 2004 or 2005)
snownews 0 ncurses 164k     Not in repo, skipped. Uses libxml2. Does not appear to be active (last source modified dates appear to be in 2009)
quiterss 7 qt 31.4m 11.3 54636 Standard feed list/category with feed items/article layout. Simple yet nice, well done for a GUI.
newsbeuter 9 console 2485kb 0.3 16088 Truly the mutt of RSS. A great, light reader that is ready to go in seconds. *Note: I actually had several hundred feeds loaded in newsbeuter when I ran the test so RAM may be higher than should be.
nrss 6 ncurses 98.3k 0.0 1992 Similar to canto but slightly better looking and working.
olive 6 console 11.7m 3.0 32508 Wow, it pulls in a lot for a console reader! Uses a combined view (feeds from all sources are together) with split view, article list on top and article (contents) below. Not the easiest to use.
yarssr 4 notification 16.7m 0.7 42052 Notification area RSS reader, interesting concept. No way to see article (only shows headlines) without launching separate app (browser).
yocto-reader 0   1454k     Unable to compare, not sure what the UI is, no app to launch upon install.
xul-ext-sage 0   708k     Skipped, this is a browser (firefox/xul) extension.
RSSOwl 0   24.9m     Skipped, not in repo. Eclipse (RCP) based, looks fine but will be a heavy java app.
rawdog 0   381k     Skipped. Many people have this listed as a reader, it is not. It is self-described as an RSS aggregator. What it does is periodically (via cron) read RSS feeds and format/output the results to a flat file, say HTML. It is nice for what it does, but not a RSS reader.

Using Apps


Start with the -u param to update all feeds (note: this takes a very long time for some reason, much longer than other readers).

  • h: show the help (also use 'man canto')
  • space: open item
  • C/V: collapse/uncollapse
  • m: toggle mark of an item
  • ,: go to next unread item
  • R: mark all read
  • Ctrl+R: Refresh all feeds
  • l: show links
  • g: goto link

Create ~/.nrss/config, the man page has an example config file.

  • h: help
  • C: toggle collapse all feeds
  • Space: toggle open/collapse of article
  • x: show all items in a feed
  • R: refresh all feeds
  • M: mark all read
  • q: quit

Start olive.

  • h: help
  • c-a: add feed
  • M: mark all read
  • Enter: read article
  • p: refresh news list
  • Q: quit


I obviously did not review every app out there, if you know of something better that you would like thrown in the mix please leave a comment.


newsbeuter is now my reader of choice. It combines simplicity and power, yet remains very light. It has an intuitive UI that gets you up and going very quickly and stays out of the way so you can quickly read articles. QuiteRSS would be my choice if I need a full GUI as it did the job quite well.