Debian users: you can now safely upgrade newsbeuter and libmrss

February 28, 2008

The ABI change issues were fixed with a recompile of newsbeuter, so it’s now safe to upgrade again.

Newsbeuter: upcoming features

February 15, 2008

It’s already been 5 months since the last version of newsbeuter, 0.7, has been released. Since a new release will come out in the next two to three weeks, I want to give you an overview about the new features that you can expect.

First of all, it will be possible to freely configure the format of feed list and article list entries using format strings similar to the ones you probably know from tools like mutt.

Then, the general reload behaviour has been improved: newsbeuter will check the Last-Modified header, and only if there are updates, it will download the whole RSS feed.

What’s also new in the upcoming release is the possibility to rename feeds by using a special tag. When an article is tagged with a tag that starts with the character “@”, the rest of the tag string is used as feed title instead of the actual feed title.

Two features that make newsbeuter even more interesting to customize are the macro support (the possibility to define a list of commands to be executed with a single key kombination) and the integrated Ruby support. The Ruby support provides an almost complete interface to the internals of newsbeuter. So far, the Ruby support is mostly untested, and more work on improving the usability and general documentation need to be done. Nevertheless, this feature will already be in the next release to (hopefully) attract Ruby hackers to write custom extensions to newsbeuter. The Ruby support will be optional, which means that you can compile newsbeuter also without Ruby support and use it as before.

And last, but not least, the everlasting issues with libnxml and libmrss will come to end. Since deliberate API and ABI changes in the past broke the newsbeuter binaries provided by Linux distributions more than once, I finally decided that the dependency on these two libraries must come to an end. I did this by forking these two libraries and directly integrating them into the newsbeuter source tree. I also fixed some bugs (even one crash bug), and forwarded these fixes to the author of libnxml and libmrss. In the future, this code will probably be replaced by a C++-based rewrite, but the current situation is satisfying enough so far.

I hope this gives everyone who is already excited about the upcoming release a good overview what can be expected from the newsbeuter front.

Advise to Debian users: don’t upgrade libmrss!

February 15, 2008

In the last few weeks, there have been a lot of bug reports about how newsbeuter suddenly stopped reloading feeds. The reason for this issue is that the latest version of libmrss, 0.19.0, made some incompatible ABI changes which broke newsbeuter. So if you haven’t already upgraded libmrss, then don’t do it, and if you have upgraded libmrss, then downgrade to a 0.18.x version of libmrss. Also, please don’t file any additional bug reports, as there are already several handed over to libmrss:;dist=unstable

Don’t worry, a new version of newsbeuter will be out soon, and it won’t depend on libnxml and libmrss anymore, so in the future, there will be no more breakage coming from one of these two libraries.