Non-Linux FOSS: Vienna, Not Just for Sausages

Although the technology itself has been around for a while, RSS is still the way most people consume Web content. When Google Reader was ended a few years back, there was a scramble to find the perfect alternative. You may remember my series of articles on Tiny Tiny RSS, Comma Feed and a handful of other Google Reader wannabes. I don't mention standalone RSS readers very often, however, because I don't like being tied to a single computer for reading Web sites. That's where syncing comes into play.

Vienna is an open-source RSS feed reader for OS X. Because it's written in Cocoa, it's available only for Macs. There are many alternatives for Linux and Windows, but the RSS reader options for OS X are surprisingly few.

The interface for Vienna is about like what you'd expect from an RSS reader. The view is customizable, and you can open complete stories in tabs to see the original Web site if you so desire. The real beauty of Vienna, however, is under the hood.

The Open Reader API is a protocol that aims to be vendor-neutral and completely open. Google Reader used to be the back end that everyone used for RSS feed syncing, and since its demise, people sort of re-invented the wheel in their own way. The Open Reader API is one solution that may catch on. It's already supported by BazQux and FeedHQ, and although adoption has been slow, hopefully it becomes the standard protocol for RSS syncing.

Luckily, if you're an OS X user, you can take advantage of the protocol right now with Vienna. Thanks to its great interface and open attitude, Vienna gets this month's Editors' Choice award. I think it's the first time we've given a non-Linux program the Editors' Choice honor, but its great interface and commitment to open standards makes us proud.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

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