blog post: Looking at newsbeuter in the debian environment


Ever wanted to use an rss reader on your linode? suppose you are out somewhere and you want to cache all of your most listened to podcasts or most read rss feeds on your linode for later retrieval to your home machine. This guide will walk you through setting up and configuring one of my favorite rss reader/pod catchers. So what is this pod catcher? It’s newsbeuter.

Getting newsbeuter on Debian 7.6

I’m using Debian 7.6 on a linode as for me that’s the easiest form of linux to use. it’s friendly toward the visually impaired and offers an array of utilities to get the job done.

What you’ll need.

You will need the following

  1. a linode running Debian 7.6 and later
  2. A way to ssh in to your linode. I’m using mac osx Yosemite. Your results will vary.
    3 Knowledge of ssh. It does not have to be advanced.

Steps to get newsbeuter up and running.

In order to get newsbeuter up and running we first need to get it on to the system..

  1. Log in as root on your linode via the terminal
  2. once logged in type

    apt-get newsbeuter

    and hit enter. The app will then begin to install and your progress will be shown on the screen. consult the manual for all of the functions that newsbeuter has to offer. type

man newsbeuter > newsbeuter.txt

in to your prompt and read the text file later.

  1. Once you get your root prompt back you can then run the program.

Running the program for the first time

In order to run the program for the first time you can log in as any account you want. I am using my regular user account as I don’t want to make any drastic changes to my system at this moment. You will have to log out as root and log in as a normal user. Once this is done enter


and hit enter. You will see an error saying no urls are configured. This is normal. By default it does not come with urls you can look at for examples.

the solution is to create a url file with out an extension in your favorite text editor. and put each rss feed on one line. Then upload or save it to ~/.newsbeuter after which you can reenter the newsbeuter command and let it scan the urls and display a list of podcast/rss feeds for viewing. In the next section we will take a look at viewing the rss feed(s) and downloading podcasts using the companion tool that comes with newsbeuter.

Looking at a feed

When you first launch newsbeuter after you have your urls file in the right directory you will see a list of feeds. To sort them by title type “g t” with out the quotes. You can arrow up and down to the feed you want. If the feed is a podcast or has material you want to grab, hit enter then hit e to add the material(s) to the queue. You can type the letter q to go back to the prior screen with the list of articles, then the letter q again to go back to the list of feeds. See the manual to move from entry to entry inside the feed itself

Once you are done adding stuff to the queue, type the letter q until you get back to your main $ prompt. Now type


to start the downloader. You will see in the queue everything you added. type “a” with out the quotes to auto download all episodes.

by default they will go in to your home directory. You can configure the program to place podcasts and other materials in their respective folders via the configuration file. Refer to the manual page for more info on how to write the configuration file.


As we have seen, newsbeuter, once set up, is a versatile rss reader and pod catching client for linode and linux in general. It sports a lot of different use cases, all of which can be found at the official newsbeuter manual page.