Do you love Google Reader, but wish you could access it offline? Ubuntu client Lightread lets you do just that, and also gives you an extremely simple user interface to read with. Lean back and browse, because with Lightread you only need the arrow keys to navigate your feeds.
I’ve shown you how to easily strip the unnecessary clutter from Google Reader, and how to read Google Reader from the command line. Those tips are great, but sometimes a disconnected reader is best – whether you’re on a plane or otherwise offline, Lightread means you can read your feeds and even star articles and sync changes later.
Unlike other Ubuntu RSS readers, such as Liferea, Lightread requires a Google Reader account in order to function. This means two things, depending on how you look at it – that Lightread is a Google Reader client you can use as an offline reader, or that Lightread comes with it’s own web-based client – Google Reader. Either way, you’re going to need a Google account to use this software.
Obviously the first thing you’re going to need to do is sign in with your Google account. Don’t worry if you’ve never used Google Reader before. Any Google account should work, and you can easily add new feeds once you’ve logged in.
Lightread will now download your feeds and you can start reading immediately, assuming you’re already an active Google Reader user.
If not you can start adding feeds: there’s a “+” button at the bottom of the left-side panel.
Those who love reading with their mouse will feel right at home. Keyboard fans might feel a little lost. The standard Google Reader keyboard shortcuts don’t work here. Don’t panic. You’ll also notice a subtle arrow at the bottom of one of the three panels – it signifies the panel you can browse using the up and down keys. To switch to another panel use the left and right keys. Simple.
Note that, by default, this software will only automatically sync when you first start it. If you’d like to change this you can do so in the settings:
By default, syncing happens only at startup. I highly recommend you change this. I also recommend you turn off notifications, especially if you subscribe to sites that update frequently – this could easily drive you nuts otherwise.
Lightread should be in the Ubuntu Software Center by the time you’re reading this, but if not you can add the following PPA: ppa:cooperjona/lightread.
Sorry, users of other Linux distributions. I cannot find the source code or non-Ubuntu packages right now. Stay tuned.
I love this program, and plan on using it for most of my feed reading for the foreseeable future. It automatically syncs with Google Reader, which is where I was already managing my feeds, but works offline, so I can catch up with my reading on a plane.
Lightread is part of the Ubuntu App Showdown, so be sure to support it if you like it.
Do you think you know of a better Ubuntu RSS reader? Let me know in the comments below, along with your thoughts about Lightread.