The Kübler-Ross stages of grief and an open-source solution to the death of Google Reader

Over the past week, I was actually in the middle of writing a blog post about how I sometimes toy with the idea of switching to Ubuntu, just so that my technological life is not entirely beholden to any particular company’s corporate whims. I didn’t quite finish that post before Google very famously killed off its well-loved news aggregator, Google Reader. Most users of Google Reader are going through the classic Kübler-Ross stages of grief:

  1. We all experienced the initial shock and denial. (“What? There is no way they’re shutting Google Reader down.”)
  2. Anger followed.
  3. Then the bargaining.
  4. Next people will get sad about it. They probably won’t blog sad things about Google Reader, though, out of fear of looking pathetic.
  5. As far as acceptance goes, lots of people are now trying to profit from this, by selling their own alternatives to Google Reader. Digg has decided to make building a new aggregator a priority. Users are largely scrambling to find another reader.

My solution to the Google Reader problem

I used to use Newsfire before I switched to Google Reader, but in the time that has elapsed since then, they started charging $5 for it. That’s not a lot, but then I was getting Google Reader for free, so I kept looking. Besides, Newsfire is a newsreader that’s all stored locally on my computer, and my ideal solution would be cloud-based.

I looked around at the currently-available web offerings, and I couldn’t find any that were very appealing. I nearly despaired myself, when I found an open-source web-based solution.

This won’t work for everyone, but it will work for anyone who already has access to a web server with the following capabilities:

  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • Cron jobs

I installed a copy of the open-source RSS reader, selfoss on my web server, and I have been using it instead of Google Reader. I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve had to make a few changes already, but it seems like a good solution to the problem. Here are the advantages, as I see it:

  • Web-based, so it will work on all my devices
  • It’s hosted on my own server, so it will work as long as I keep paying my hosting bill
  • The software won’t be “updated” (read: altered arbitrarily) unless I want it to be
  • No one will decide later that there needs to be ads on my news reader

Good luck in finding a solution to your Google Reader problem!

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

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