FreshRSS as a replacement for TT-RSS

For years, RSS feeds (especially news feeds) have played an important digital role in my life for following the latest news around the globe. Before FBX, I never had a server backing me up; all my feeds would be on my phone where and I would access them offline. Recently with Tiny Tiny RSS (TT-RSS), I got very used to reading my feeds both off my phone and from my desktop. It felt secure and comfortable: both to know I own my data and have my devices in sync. For this, I have been thankful.

I find visual consistency important: to have my phone and desktop be consistent within themselves in both design and UX. Unfortunately, TT-RSS did not have a viable client for my desktop, so I stuck to the web-browser. I was content about it.

On my phone on the other hand, TT-RSS web client was not adaptive for the small screen and I had to do with the author’s app in F-Droid. My personal point of view was that it wasn’t a “pretty” app (in the sense that it didn’t follow the Material-You design that was consistent with my LineageOS) but it did the job better than others (noting that the “others” didnt have any edge design-wise either).

Yesterday, a post dropped in my feed from the F-Droid newsletter. Apparently, the Tiny Tiny RSS app in the F-Droid repo had been removed and no reason had been given.

REMOVED APPS … Tiny Tiny RSS was started based on a need to have it easily accessible. By now there are plenty more RSS apps in the repo.

I find it very important that the software I use is free. So, alternatives on the Play Store just wouldn’t do and I started digging.

In the beginning of this year, a new Android app had been introduced to F-Droid: Read You. Apart from a non-free network flag raised for fetching icons for feeds (the author claims to remove in near future), it was free, easy to use and consistent with Android’s Material-You. Going through the documentation, I saw it supported Google Reader and Fever API’s and had intentions to support Miniflux (and TT-RSS) in the near future.

The Google Reader and Fever API’s were two common interfaces that I had come across on desktop applications as well. As a Gnome user, NewsFlash and Feeds were only two that had my attention. They were all actively maintained.

TT-RSS on the other hand, seemed to have other burdens that came with it. While hardly any clients supported it, Debian seemed struggling to keep it maintained as the developer had stopped supporting manual installations and was only backing Docker. While the version from Bullseye to Sid was still lagging behind with version 21, upstream was releasing version 24. It felt like it wasn’t far for TT-RSS to disappear…

Luckily, I found traces of FBX devs working to replace TT-RSS with FreshRSS from progress call notes from 2023 and 2024 along with effort to get Miniflux into the repos.

With little hope of having TT-RSS continued, I tried an installation of FreshRSS myself and wanted to share my insight and experience here.

For me, FreshRSS really stood out because;

  • it’s free and open source
  • built mostly in PHP
  • actively developed with a very polite community
  • has very good documentation
  • just downloading the source code to the server and pointing a URL is enough to get it running
  • it comes with support for sqlite and postgre; the app can configure it’s sqlite database itself
  • has ready database backup and restore scripts
  • a simple cronjob is enough to refresh feeds
  • it can update through the web interface
  • web interface is adaptive and very friendly
  • supports common greader and fever api’s
  • it’s quite fast and isn’t very resource hungry

Initially I didn’t know where to post this, but in the end decided it might be best to place it as a “Feedback” in regard to possibly moving away from TT-RSS. If anyone’s interested in setting up and trying FreshRSS, feel free to post below.

Thanks for reading.

7 Likes

I think it is important to have one alternative to Tiny Tiny RSS for the next stable release.

Miniflux package is in Debian testing. I have started working on the FreedomBox app. It satisfies all the bullets points mentioned about FreshRSS, except support for SQLite as a database (which Miniflux will never do).

People might still have a preference to using FreshRSS over Miniflux, so let’s have it too. There has not been much progress on packaging FreshRSS yet. I am open to dropping Tiny Tiny RSS from FreedomBox with the Debian 14 release if it becomes too much of a burden to maintain.

3 Likes

Look at your debug log for tt-rss. Yuck. I’d switch just to clean up the journal.

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_DEPRECATED (8192) (classes/debug.php:41) Function strftime() is deprecated

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (update.php:287) Undefined variable $op

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:86) Trying to access array offset on value of type null

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:86) Undefined global variable $_SESSION

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

2

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:63) Trying to access array offset on value of type null

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:63) Undefined global variable $_SESSION

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

3

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:11) Trying to access array offset on value of type null

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/db/prefs.php:11) Undefined global variable $_SESSION

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/userhelper.php:78) Trying to access array offset on value of type null

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/userhelper.php:78) Undefined global variable $_SESSION

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

2

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (include/errorhandler.php:24) Array to string conversion

php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/urlhelper.php:99) Undefined array key “port”

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/urlhelper.php:238) Undefined array key “noticer.news”

php

5:21 PM

PHP Warning: Array to string conversion in /usr/share/tt-rss/www/include/errorhandler.php on line 24

update.php

5:21 PM

[tt-rss] E_WARNING (2) (classes/urlhelper.php:99) Undefined array key “port”

php