Tickr – An RSS Feed Ticker for The Linux Desktop

Remember RSS? You know, the short headlines and sentences of a few words each. Every major news site and blog has a feed. You can still get news the old fashioned way, only in a much nicer format.

In the world of social media, RSS is still relevant. RSS feeds deliver the news we care about and nothing else. There are no tedious updates and pictures of cats to skim through, just plain textual information about the latest headlines, an absolute must for anyone seriously caring about staying up to date.

Tickr is a GTK+-based RSS reader that will display all our favorite RSS feeds as a simple but rather useful headline ticker right on your desktop. It integrates seamlessly with GTK-based environments like Unity or GNOME. It looks and works simple yet offers various customization options under the hood.

You can get Tickr on Ubuntu 14.04 or later straight from Ubuntu Software Center, or by typing:

sudo apt-get install tickr

To get Tickr for other systems, visit their official download page.

When you first run the software it will look for configuration files (stored in a directory named .tickr in your home folder). If it cannot find any, it will give you an option to run a Quick Setup to make using Tickr easy as a breeze


First you will set the location. The default is “top” (of the screen). You can also choose “bottom” or just specify any offset (from the top of the screen in pixels).


Next it will ask you whether you want it to always be on top. If you leave this unchecked, normal windows will overlap the scrolling newsfeed. If you check it, your RSS headlines will always stay visible.


The next few questions concern whether to display feed title, item title and item description. You can toggle any of these on or off. Next you get to choose a browser in which to open the website for the feed you’ve clicked on. The system default browser will pre-populate the filed; you can just click forward if you’re happy with that.


You then get a choice to disable any error or warning popups.


You are all set. or at least that is what the last popup message would have you believe. Of course there will be a URL list set, as this is your first time running Tickr. If you are a heavy RSS user and have an OPML file ready, you can specify it here.


If you skipped the previous step, you get a message reminding you again that there is no URL list saved yet, probably in case you forgot. Here you have the option to use a sample list, which you could gladly accept, as it contains over thirty news source URLs to pick from.


Once you’ve done that, your news feed, from three preselected URLs, will start ticking, scrolling in from right to left at the previously specified position of your screen.


Of course you can further customize Tickr. To access its menus, just right click the feed list.


Selecting “Edit -> Preferences” will lead you to many more customization options.


To set up which feeds you’d like to see, just right click and select “File -> Open Feed (RSS | Atom)” where you can add new URLs or choose form existing ones (if you have previously accepted the sample list).


Tickr is a simple and unobtrusive RSS feed ticker that lives on your desktop, delivering you the latest news. While it takes a few minutes to set up initially, Tickr is highly customizable with many useful options.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons