Modern internet is a very dynamic and enormous big source of information. Many web-serfers has personal lists of most popular sites from where they get latest news and updates. But some type of such updates are irrelevant, something is duplicated and surfing to dozens sites at the moment is a challange both for browser and internet connection. Trouble? No! Wize hackers invented the ultimate solution - RSS.
RSS stand for "Rich Site Summary". I'm not going to copy-n-paste Wikipedia article, so please examine it on your own. ;-)
If you want to read essential parts of several sites via single interface, RSS is the answer.
The link to RSS feed could be found on home-page of almost every site - just look for icon like or or
Technically each site, that we decided to monitor, generate so-called "feed". Feed is a bunch of latest articles (also called "messages", "news", "posts") from monitored site.
Article has unique title, textual content (optionally accompanied with illustrations and/or videos) and a link to original publication.
Some sites attach to their articles so-called "Categories" - a set of textual tags, associated with covered topic.
The articles are very similar to e-mails: their titles (like "subject" in e-mails) are shown in news-list as a single-line reference, while content could be opened on demand. The "sender" here is not a person, but original site (linked on this picture with icon ).
Categories are listed inside article's body, right before the content .
In the right-top corner appears "article menu" icon  that opens dialog for article title lookup in external search engines.
FreeRSS automatically provide "sharing" icons for Facebook , Google+  and Twitter .
In March 2013 Google decided to retire "Google Reader" and switch it off on July 1, 2013. Many commercial and free products became useless, since RSS news aggregation was based mainly on this service. Thus I decided to develop my own RSS reader with aggregation functionality "on-the-board", along with lots of features I've dreamed about: automatic news tagging & filtering, browser integration, etc.
My product is compatible with OPML subscriptions list (from Google Reader and other commercial/free products).
Currently there is no support for user authentication, thus this is "single user" product (per installation).
Please consider this implementation as "quick-n-dirty" - my goal was to get "Google Reader substitute" ASAP. Anyway, critics/suggestions/bug-reports are always welcomed.
The only IDE, used during development was VIM. In other words, it's nearly "100% hand-written" product.
Technically it was developed on MS Win station (Win-7), but can run on any platform that supports Perl: Windows, Linux, Unix.
Client OS & browser compatibility was checked against MS Win (XP and 7), Linux (RH5), Android (cellphone - 2.3.6, tablet - 4.2.1) on all popular browsers, and even on Smart-TV box (LG). Best viewed with Google Chrome.
For technical support, bug reports and features suggestions please contact the author (see contact information on homepage).
Currently available support for Russian language, but internal web-server functionality allows quick transition to any left-to-right language (no RTL support).
In order to upload language-specific messages into web-server, take respective *.xml file using "International settings" inside "Viewing options" menu. Russian language file could be found under data/xml sub-directory.
If you want to participate in translation into your language, please contact the author - your name will be mentioned in product records.
Free RSS Reader is an open-source free product developed by Felix Liberman
I want to thank all my friends that participated in pre-release testing.
Special credit goes to my friend (IRL and in LiveJournal) quinn_mellory - your end-user experience helped this product to became more attractive and clean.
As mentioned previously, this program can run on any platform that supports Perl. You've to install Perl interpreter and make it available via search-path.
Once Perl interpreter is ready, you can start the server and connect to it from any device on your local network: Windows/Linux/MacOS/Android with any dhtml-compatible browser.
For Windows users there is a compiled version that can run on every modern MS Win PC
The latest version released for public domain is 1.05b ("Perl is over - beta").
All source code is open - you can re-use and modify it (please mention the origin in documentation)
To download the latest version use Self-installing version available
The archive could be unzipped in any area with reasonable disk space. Use any available archive un-packer that supports tar+gz or rar (according to platform)
If you run Windows install program it already prepared all required services, so just open the right URL using recommendations below
If you want only to try this applicaton on Windows platform - run "free_rss.bat" file.
On Linux/Unix platform run "free_rss.csh" shell script.
This program is a simple console application that does not require any user interaction.
To access application front-end from the same computer just open this link: 127.0.0.1:5001. To do it from other device on the same network - just type in address line the host's name/ip with port number, f.ex. http://homepc:5001 or http://192.168.1.104:5001
Important notice: for getting full-function web-interface it's recommended to disable AdBlock for this URL in client browser. I'm not pushing any advertising content, simply some of FreeRSS internal URLs resemble popular ad-related patterns. Trust me - I'm an engineer ;-)
OPML file contains list of your subscriptions. If you've Google Reader account - just follow their instructions for migration to another system - at the end you'll get OPML file. OPML import is one-time action that should not be repeated again (since all subscriptions are cleaned during this operation). On main screen click on "settings" button and in "Administration" box select a file and click on "Take subscriptions from OPML-file".
For backup purposes you can export modified subscriptions list to OPML file - follow the same screens as for Import, but the button is "Export subscriptions to OPML file". The file will be saved under data sub-directory as "user.opml" (old one renamed to *.bak).
When RSS-reader is configured you can go to "Read RSS" page.
Top tool-bar has buttons for global actions, in left menu you can select for browsing either RSS feed, or feeds group, or "watch".
Please mind that any article can appear both in original site feed, feeds group or "watch" - in all cases you operate with the same article, so after marking it as "read" the article will disappear from "unread" watch-list.
For user convenience there are several keyboard accelerators that could be used instead of buttons:
|Ctrl+Z||Mark current page as read and go to next page|
|Ctrl+M||Mark current RSS/group/watch as read|
|Alt+S||Go to settings menu|
|Alt+C||Clean old (obsolete) posts|
|Alt+R||Refresh (update) RSS newspapers by downloading new posts|
|Arrow down||Go to next article inside the page|
|Arrow up||Go to previous article inside the page|
|Arrow right||Open article content (when only article heading displayed)|
|Arrow left||Hide article content (if content already displayed)|
|Ctrl+Arrow down||Mark current article as read and go to next, inside the page|
Keyboard shortcuts are customizable, but make sure not to mix them with your browser and desktop operating system settings
For future data recovery it's recommended periodically to make a copy of main database file from "data" directory. Also could be a good idea to export filters (watches) list into YAML file - in case of any crash your filters could be easily recovered.
Database should be periodically cleaned from unnecessary records. In current version you'll be automatically prompted to run old records cleanup process.
In addition to database cleanup, it's copied to pre-defined backup area - see respective message at the end of process.