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:
- We all experienced the initial shock and denial. (“What? There is no way they’re shutting Google Reader down.”)
- Anger followed.
- Then the bargaining.
- Next people will get sad about it. They probably won’t blog sad things about Google Reader, though, out of fear of looking pathetic.
- 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:
- 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!