Convergence: nntp//rss

Having had a presence on Usenet for 2998 days leaves it’s marks. One of them is that I prefer reading with a regular newsreader, and I’ve generally not cared too much for the various aggregators out there.


I’ve been through many of the free Win32-based RSS(Really Simple Syndication) aggregators out there, and they have suffered from:
* Primitive and cumbersome interfaces. Seriously, I hate using the mouse.
* No _simple_ way to categorize RSS items. When I want to mark a particular item as “Important”, or give it a score of +5000, there is a reason.
* Likewise, RSS aggregators have lacked a mechanism for _archiving_ specific items in a feed.
* Tight integration with MSIE(Microsoft Internet Explorer), a web browser I loathe, to say the least (Not because it’s popular to hate Microsoft, but because I dislike the _browser_).
Newsreaders, whether it be “Gnus”:http://www.gnus.org/, “Agent”:http://www.forteinc.com/ or “Xnews”:http://xnews.newsguy.com/, or any other newsreader for that matter, have all handled this properly for years, and have mature interfaces people already know how to use.
And so, I actually thought of writing this on my own, as a script for “Hamster”:http://www.tglsoft.de/misc/hamster_en.htm – a free nntp/pop3/smtp–gateway for Win32.
Since I don’t particularily enjoy reinventing the wheel I did a quick web search before I even started planning one line of code, and found “nntp//rss”:http://www.methodize.org/nntprss – a RSS(Really Simple Syndication) aggregator that doubles up as a NNTP(Network News Transport Protocol) server. It allows you to read your RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feeds in your favourite newsreader. Administration is done through a web interface.
It’s written in Java, so it should run on just about anything. And it’s free, as in beer and speech, licensed under the GPL(General Public License.
Since the version number is at 0.2, I don’t expect it to be perfect, and it does have some woes:
* It doesn’t handle feeds in other charsets than UTF-8, like ISO-8859-1, properly – leaving me with squares where there should have been national characters such as æ, ø and å.
* It doesn’t do NNTP authentication (yet).
* It can’t post news from several feeds into one group.
* It’s administrative interface is a bit too simplish.
* Renaming feeds (groups) is impossible.
* It ought to use the same format as AmphetaDesk or Radio for adding URLs to a feed from a bookmark.
* You cannot set individual update frequencies for feeds.
Even if it is not perfect, it’s still the most (only) suitable tool I’ve found for the job so far, because it _feels_ fundamentally _right_.

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