Most podcast fanatics on Windows and Mac OS X use iTunes as their main podcast client. What about Linux users? What are the podcast client that you can use?
Here are five alternative podcast clients for Linux that I would recommend based on my own searching and experimenting.
If you’d like to use a dedicated podcatcher, check out gPodder. It is available not only for Linux, but for Mac OS X and Windows too.
When you first run gPodder, it will give you the following options: choose from a list of example podcasts, add a podcast by entering its URL, and restore your subscriptions from gpodder.net.
On gpodder.net, you can browse, search, and play various podcasts that are registered with the service. It will allow you to sync your subscriptions among your clients and devices. To subscribe to a podcast on gpodder.net, you must first subscribe to it in your podcasting client and then upload your subscriptions.
In gPodder, go to “Podcasts -> Preferences -> gpodder.net” to set up synchronization.
Once you have set that up, your subscriptions will show up on gpodder.net where you can manage devices and optionally export your subscriptions list as an OPML file. You don’t need to use the gpodder.net service to use gPodder.
Overall, gPodder is a nice, dedicated podcatcher. It is lightweight and supports several different types of feeds. One thing you have to take note is that it does not provide its own media player; when you play a podcast from gPodder, it will open in your default media player.
Amarok is a popular music player for KDE, and it is arguably the most full-featured application of its kind for Linux. It is rather heavyweight to use just for podcasts, but if you already use it for managing and playing your music library, you may wish to make use of the podcast feature.
You can access your podcasts from the “Podcasts” item in the left sidebar.
Unlike gPodder, Amarok will play your podcasts natively. One disadvantage of using Amarok instead of gPodder is that it does not display show notes for individual podcast episodes, while gPodder does.
Liferea is not a music player; rather, it is a feed reader with podcast support. When you first install Liferea, it will provide some pre-subscribed feeds and podcasts. You can find the podcasts in their own folder in the left sidebar. To subscribe to a new one, just add the subscription as if it were a regular feed URL.
When you click on a podcast episode in Liferea, the show notes will show up in the main window. Click on the “attachments” section on the bottom to view attached audio files. Double-click to play. The first time you do this, Liferea will prompt you to choose a media player.
By default, Liferea uses
wget to download audio files. You can change this behavior by going to “Preferences -> Enclosures”.
4. Podbeuter and Newsbeuter
Podbeuter is actually part of Newsbeuter, “the mutt of RSS feed readers.” It can be controlled entirely by keyboard, and the shortcuts are customizable.
Before you can run Newsbeuter, you must populate the file ~/.newsbeuter/urls with some feed URLS. Alternatively, you can import an OPML file with the command:
Once you’ve done that, you can run Newsbeuter with
newsbeuter, and your feeds will show up. Hit
R to refresh them.
From the Newsbeuter interface, you can view episode titles and show notes, but you’ll have to use Podbeuter to grab the media files. Like Liferea, Newsbeuter recognizes media files, or “enclosures,” in feeds. The “Podbeuter” part refers to the download manager that handles these enclosures.
To tell Podbeuter which feed you want downloaded, paste your direct episode links into ~/.newsbeuter/queue. You must also create and edit the file ~/.newsbeuter/config to add some configuration commands. At the very least, you must specify a player for your media files. For instance:
You can also specify a download directory (which defaults to your home directory) and a maximum number of simultaneous downloads:
Now you can run
podbeuter and hit
d on any episode you wish to download. To play a finished download, hit
I wouldn’t say that Podbeuter is the most elegant solution, since you have to manually copy and paste the direct links to the episodes you want downloaded, but it could be useful for someone who already uses Newsbeuter or who specifically wants a command-line podcatcher.
Mashpodder is a user-contributed fork of the classic podcatching script BashPodder. After downloading, place the files in the directory from which you wish to run Mashpodder.
You must configure Mashpodder before you can use it. Open file “mashpodder.sh” for editing. First use
BASEDIR to specify the directory in which you placed the mashpodder directory itself. For example:
By default, podcast episodes will be downloaded into this same directory. To change this, specify
Now open “mp.conf” for editing. Three pieces of information for each podcast are needed: the RSS feed, the sub-directory in which to save downloads from that feed, and the number of episodes to download at a time. If you don’t want to manually name a subdirectory for each feed, you can use
date to have date-based subdirectories automatically set up. For example, these are a few feeds I’ve listed in my mp.conf:
Now when you run Mashpodder, your specified podcasts will download into the directory you chose. You do need an external program to enter that directory and play them.
GPodder is probably the most feature-rich podcatcher/podcast client on this list, but one of the others might suit you better depending on your needs and which applications you’re already using.
Please let us know in the comments what your favorite podcast clients are!
Image credit: Equationaudio on Wikimedia Commons
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