News junkies unite! The Internet has made the collection of news easy, and one of the best tools for getting your news is the RSS reader. It makes keeping tabs on what you want to know fast and simple. RSS readers are generally single-minded tools and don’t have too many bells and whistles to get in the way of doing exactly what it is you want: Keep up to date on your favorite feeds.

But out of the hundreds upon hundreds of readers out there, which ones are the best? And out of the best, which are open source? Let’s take a look at five outstanding open source RSS readers, so you can start collecting feeds immediately.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: Thunderbird

Thunderbird (Figure A) is not only one of the best mail clients available, it also has built-in support for aggregating RSS feeds. Having these feeds at close range to your inbox makes reading news far simpler than having to open yet another application. And what’s best, Thunderbird allows you to view the RSS feeds the same way you view your email.

Figure A


2: RSSOwl

RSSOwl (Figure B) may well be the single most powerful feed reader available. And the fact that it’s cross-platform makes it all the better. Although RSSOwl is a Java-based application, it is still one of the top contenders in the RSS space. Its power is unmatched by most newsreaders and the ability to search and find new feeds is just short of incredible. What many new users will really appreciate about RSSOwl is that the default feed set is quite large, and with powerful filtering, it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Figure B


3: Liferea

For many users, Liferea (Figure C) is the go-to RSS reader for the Linux desktop. This handy RSS aggregator can collect RSS feeds, podcasts, and weblogs. It has a simple-to-use interface, supports Google Reader, can permanently save headlines in news bins, and can also read news offline. If you’re looking for the de facto standard stand-alone RSS reader for the open source desktop, look no further than Liferea.

Figure C


4: QuiteRSS

QuiteRSS (Figure D) is a cross-platform feed reader, written in Qt, available for Windows and Linux. It supports all the standard feed types and it offers news filters, its own embedded browser (based on Webkit), keyboard shortcuts, audio notification of feed updates, auto update, a versatile UI, and much more. For the Windows platform, there is also a portable version of this lightweight feed reader.

Figure D


5: Akregator

Akregator (Figure E) was once a stand-alone feed reader for KDE. When KDE evolved into the 4.x series, Akregator was seamlessly meshed with Kontact to consolidate news, mail, contacts, and much more. Akregator offers a number of views so that you can read your news exactly how you like it. By clicking on the Complete Story link, a new tab will open in Kontact to view the full story.

Figure E


Good options

RSS feeds provide one of the best means of keeping up to date on the news you want to read. And any one of these open source readers will get the job done and do it well. Give one (or more) of these a try. I’m sure you’ll wind up with an RSS reader to perfectly suit your needs.

Other picks?

What RSS readers would you add to this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.