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pyferea is my solution to this email that I posted to the debian-users list in 2011. I was fed up with there being no sane RSS reader in existance that could just render some RSS entries in a fast and simple fashion.

Quick Start

Create a feeds.yaml (you can copy feeds.yaml.example) and then run:

$ python


It is called pyferea (python feed reader) for now as I was inspired by the layout of liferea (linux feed reader). I guess I'm just too lazy to come up with another name but suggestions are welcome. Pyferea is just the first thing that sprang to my mind when I had to give the sourcecode directory a name and I didnt change it since.


I might really overlook something out there but everytime I checked there was no sane RSS feed reader out there that would please me. I did not think that I would require much. Just three panes for feeds, entries and content, keeping record of unread entries and rendering content in a browser. Liferea came close but was poisoned by feature bloat (as many others... especially gnome dependencies) and major slowness. On top of that it created a new feed entry everytime I accidentally drag&drop something. I call all of those bugs and they never got fixed. Pyferea does just what I want, is simple, DE agnostic (uses python and gtk) and fits in about 1000 lines of code.

Pyferea is for you if you want:

  • an offline feed reader
  • no gnome, KDE, mono dependencies
  • no rss reader as a browser plugin
  • not terminal based, hence webbrowser for rendering


Pyferea as it is now is enough for my daily use but there are still some issues that need to be fixed: the back/forward functionality of the browser must be fixed in certain cases (i seldomly use it) and the text in the addressbar, title and tabtitle must be synced. I will fix that once I feel like it. If anybody feels inclined to do so, then patches are welcome.


apt-get install python-gobject python-yaml python-lxml python-feedparser gir1.2-webkit-3.0

As of February 2012, the dependency size of the following feed readers in a fresh Debian Sid minimal chroot:

pyferea: 172MB
liferea: 225MB
gpodder: 226MB
blam: 408MB
akregator: 758MB

Keyboard shortcuts

To make it faster to switch between the three panes and scroll in them, use the keys 1, 2 and 3 to select the first, second or third pane respectively.


It is a yaml dictionary with rss/atom feeds as keys and subdictionaries as values. For each entry they store the category a feed is in and if the link given in a feed entry should be loaded instead of the feed text.

  category: "IT news"
  loadlink: False
  category: "IT news"
  loadlink: True


Cookies are kept in cookies.txt and are automatically accepted


A javascript that I load upon each pageload to convert youtube videos into their html5 versions so that the webkit plugin can render them even withoutme having flash.



  • database of retrieved feeds
  • resides in local directory or in $XDG_DATA_HOME/pyferea/


  • list of feeds urls to retrieve
  • resides in local directory, in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pyferea/ or as an example file as /usr/share/pyferea/feeds.yaml.example


  • all javascript files that are to be executed after page load reside in $XDG_DATA_HOME/pyferea/ or in /usr/share/pyferea/ and identify themselves by having the ".js" extension

Possible future work

(patches welcome)

  • build debian package
  • load javascript selectively and not for every page
  • i18n
  • downloading (only gui code missing)
  • list of unread items
  • make re-sorting fast