I have been a long time advocate of Free Open Source Software (FOSS). Certainly most if not all of the software I use with Linux computers fall into that category. In the case of my Mac Mini running OS X I have found several FOSS programs useful as well. In this, and future posts, I want to share these programs with you.
I try to keep up with several topics. Of course I follow many Twitter accounts for this purpose, but I also fall back on the venerable RSS feed to keep up with many Blogs. RSS for Web syndication has been around since 1999. This is useful as when you find a site that you like and want to follow, you can subscribe to the corresponding RSS feed and get each new post automatically in your RSS Reader instead of having to revisit the site manually to check for updates. Of course not all sites provide RSS feeds but many do. For instance, if I want to follow author Bob Levitus in The Mac Observer I can go to http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/rss/ and find the link to the RSS feed for his columns. As he published the new columns, I will see them in my RSS Reader.
The RSS Reader is the subject of this post. Vienna is a FOSS project for Mac OS X and is a RSS/ATOM Reader application. I have been using it now for a little over 6 months and I am quite satisfied with it. Vienna claims over 450,000 downloads so far so it is widely accepted. Once you install Vienna (Download the file from the website, double click on the resulting ‘.tar’ file in the Downloads folder, then drag the application from the Downloads folder over to your Applications folder) all you have to do is to click on the RSS feed link or icon on a web page and Vienna will be started and the feed added to it. From then on, every time you start Vienna, the latest posts for all of the sites you have subscribed to will be loaded.
Once Vienna has the latest articles they can be viewed and read much like in an email client. Unread article titles appear in bold until they are read. As you select articles, you see a summary of the content in the split screen. Double clicking on the article in Vienna will open the full article in your Web Browser. Folders can be created and subscriptions grouped together so that all of the RSS feed for OS X can be in one folder. Those for Linux can be in another etc.
Using this I can, in a few minutes, review new posts and select which I wish to read. If you are interested in trying this FOSS application, go to Vienna is a FOSS project.
One great source of RSS articles is Apple itself. Go to the Apple Support RSS Feeds page to find over 40 separate feeds (some articles appear in more than one feed) and three categories. Some other good RSS feeds for the Mac user are:
See the directory to all Mac OS X posts