Tutorial – Desktop News Feeds

Tutorial – Desktop News Feeds

Article from Issue 217/2018
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Reading news is part good citizenry, part necessary evil, but your news feed notifications on Linux don't have to be distracting or intrusive.

Wouldn't it be great if you could automatically gather updates from all your favorite online sources and make them subtly accessible in your favorite browser, to peruse when you feel like reading headlines, without wasting time or screen space and without even touching them unless you want to read a full article? Would you like to do this in the same way, whatever your preferred Linux environment? In this tutorial, I show you how by integrating two distinct sets of open standards.

First, I explain what RSS feeds are and how to download as many of them as you want with scripts that can run periodically as automated cron jobs. Second, you will see how to use the output of those scripts to generate desktop icons, or root menus, that open the news you want to read straight into your browser. You can do this in ways that work with little or no tweaking in the great majority of Linux window managers or desktop environments available today.

Only your imagination will limit what you can do when you know how to download news automatically from the web or regenerate window manager menus. I mention some ways to reuse what you learn here in the Conclusions of the tutorial.

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