Introduction


Note: this has since been superseded by newspipe, which I've been helping test for months now and that has become my news aggregator of choice. Nevertheless, the text below is a nice summary of why I prefer getting my feeds as e-mail, so I let it stand.

rss2mail was inspired on Ricardo M.Reyes' rss2pop3, which is an RSS aggregator that functions as a POP3 proxy.

I have been using (and modifying) rss2pop3 as a way to learn Python (my take on programming languages is that you only learn by looking at - and modifying - other people's code), since it seemed like a good way of solving a couple of basic problems I have with RSS feeds:

  • I use around four or five different machines every day (it's not uncommon to start the day on my Windows laptop, spend a couple of hours working on a Linux box and finish the day catching up on personal e-mail on my iBook), so I needed a completely platform-independent RSS aggregator.
  • Filtering, Classification and Archiving - these were the reasons I started investigating the RSS-as-email approach. Since I aggregate several of my e-mail accounts (using fetchmail) on a single IMAP server, it makes sense to re-use my procmail rules (and SpamAssassin classification) to sort feeds as well.

Converting RSS news items to mail and accessing them with IMAP works across all platforms. Plus, I often find myself wanting to archive or forward some news items to colleagues, and having everything as e-mail makes it trivial.

Status

newspipe is now a standalone project at Sourceforge, to which Davi and myself contribute from time to time. My latest contribution is a mini web/WAP front-end to an IMAP server that displays news items on my mobile phone, which means I now have a single store to keep track of my RSS feeds no matter where I am on the planet.

Features

Here are the features I'm planning to add to newspipe (some are already there, some aren't yet):

  • Bayesian classification of feed contents (so that I can not only determine if the post is interesting or "spam", but also assign it to a category like "Mac", "Security", "Wireless", "GSM", etc.)
    • This can be done at the procmail/SpamAssassin level, but my guess is that most people would like a standalone application (if only because the criteria for interesting e-mail items is likely to be different from the criteria for interesting RSS items (and most people won't want to deal with procmail anyway)
  • "Automagic" digest grouping (triggered, say, by RSS item size) might be better.
  • Grouping/threading by URL or classification.