The Open Source RSS Reader

I’ve been using Blogbridge for a few weeks now. It’s the first time I’ve seriousy used a desktop application to read feeds – I really like web based readers because there is no software download, compatibility issues, etc., and because many of the desktop readers are not free. But so many Blogbridge fans have emailed me suggesting I try it out that I did. And based on what I’ve seen, I give it a thumbs up.

Blogbridge is also open source. The founder, Pito Salas, tells me that there are at least six non-employee developers contributing to the project. There is a business model – Blogbridge eventually hopes to roll out premium features on top of the open source code base. For now, everything is free.

Blogbridge comes in three flavors – Windows XP, Mac OS X and Linux. It is written entirely in Java. There are new releases weekly – the current release is v. 2.7.

The default user interface is three panes. Folders on the left, feeds in the middle and posts on the right. Importing OPML files is a snap, you can read feeds offline (a big benefit over web based readers), and they are actively supporting Dave Winer’s Reading List idea (although no integration yet).

Each pane has scroll bars, meaning, like Bloglines, you can scroll through the pane without losing your place in other panes (something that drives me crazy with other readers). Like all readers it seems, Blogbridge does a poor job properly rendering HTML, so posts look a little off.

Blogbridge also has expert guides to assist users in finding feeds relevant to their interests. Lots of people I know and respect are on that list, including Richard MacManus, Jeff Clavier, Dan Gillmor, and Shel Holtz.

I’m a big fan of open source projects, and Blogbridge is an excellent reader. Blogbridge is located in Arlington, Mass.