I had a couple hours the other day, so wrote a new version of my script, rss2email.

If you use Unix, rss2email will let you subscribe to a list of news feeds by email, so that whenever a new update is posted, you get an email message with the full text (it even renders HTML for you!).

Version 2.0 is better, faster, easier, and more reliable. It supports GUIDs, Unicode, quoted-printable, and errorReportsTo and more. I’m actively maintaining it, so your feature requests and bugs are often implemented within hours!

And, thanks to Joey Hess, it will soon be a part of Debian, so you can get it by simply doing apt-get install rss2email (package details).

posted January 30, 2004 11:02 AM (Technology) (8 comments) #


Aaron Swartz: The Interview
Why Raise Children?
Freedom of Speech, or The DeCSS Haiku
The Media vs. The Facts
Trippi Dumps Dean
The Trippi Story
The Furious Rise of the Anonymous Writer
Nader’s Negligence
Campaign Finance Reform: The Problem and Solution
Third Parties: Why They Spoil and How to Stop It


Before I saw this post I was just thinking that RSS could be a viable substitute for email. A login form combined with RSS would allow personalized feeds to be downloaded.

One benefit of this over regular email would be the death of spam. People would be receiving feeds only when signed up for and specificly downloaded.

This sounds like only a simple piece of code would be necessary to make this happen. I’m just throwing out the idea if anyone wants to give it a try.

posted by Alan Griffith+ at January 30, 2004 03:41 PM #

Thanks man. This is great stuff. I’ve been looking for the optimal aggregator for a while now going through raggle (good but unmaintained and shaky), centericq (just shaky), straw (GUI only) and 20 or so more.

A ‘delay’ feature would be nice though.. I was stupid enough to add all my old feeds at once and hit ‘r2e run’ without thinking… I’ve never seen procmail and bogofilter work so hard before (grin).

Keep up the good work! //Anders

posted by Anders Engström at January 31, 2004 03:48 PM #

Alan - see Mailbucket for a example of email2rss:


Is that what you had in mind?

posted by Tom Dyson at February 2, 2004 05:30 AM #

I’ve written a similar utility in Python and I’ve found it extremely useful. I love not having to run yet another app. One thing mine does is prepend a small tag to the subject line so I can use email filters to dump mail into non-INBOX folders.

Also, how about a source tarball distribution?

Thanks ~ Pat

posted by Pat Notz at February 2, 2004 12:14 PM #

I think I’ve pretty much covered all the bases in terms of email filters (From address, User-Agent header, From name, etc.) but if there’s a way you’d like to sort that’s not supported I can probably add it.

I’m not sure what I’d put in the source tarball. Copies of all the scripts it depends on?

posted by Aaron Swartz at February 2, 2004 12:39 PM #

Thanks Tom, however, MailBucket wasn’t what I was talking about. The idea is for each person to have on their computer or “Yahoo / Hotmail” provided space an RSS file with entries only accessible by a particular name and password. Instead of receiving “email” from one server or account, people would receive personalized RSS entries from about as many servers as names in one’s address book. Delete an address and the RSS emails aren’t downloaded anymore. The idea that’s in my head sounds like it could be done in an afternoon. Maybe this explanation helps.

posted by Alan Griffith+ at February 3, 2004 03:13 AM #

It would ease email filtering if you could define a custom “X-header” for rss2email. Filtering on “From” and or “User-Agent” is ok, but an option like:

ADDXHEADER = rss2email: true # puts “X-rss2email: true” in each message

would make it more obvious.

posted by Anders Engström at February 3, 2004 09:43 AM #

It’d be nice if feeds ( like the dilbert feed, http://dwlt.net/tapestry/dilbert.rdf ) with images would inline them in the emails.

The “Info Aggregator” does this for their service. ( http://rss.blogstreet.com/ )

posted by Jordan Share at February 5, 2004 12:37 AM #

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