Recommendations for FOSS podcatcher?

I listen to audiocasts (I don’t have a *pod, and don’t agree with the brand implications. Since I listen on my ThinkPad, they’re PadCasts for me. Let’s say “audiocast” or we could be really retro about it and refer to them as “audio recordings” since they’re neither cast nor podded.) while working out and go through quite a few. The Conversations Network has been a great source for these: IT Conversations in particular. Phil Windley’s Technometria is one I try to catch each weekly episode. Other features, like David Heinemeier Hansson’s keynote at the 2007 RailsConf or Tim’ O’Reilly’s keynote as OSCON are other favorites. There’s lots of other good stuff on Coversations Network, so much so that I’ve contributed to the network, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

But there are other, far smaller operations. I met Peter Nikolaidis through the Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Linux User Group, and he does an audiocast called “Fresh Ubuntu” with a fellow from the west coast named Harlem, a man with a voice for radio. An interesting show with contributions from many others, too, focused on Ubuntu, but ranging over many of the topics involving Open Source.

I like to keep up with all of these audiocasts (and would welcome more recommendations from others!), but it involves manually visiting the web site, checking to figure out if I’ve heard the audiocast already, and downloading it. I’m looking for an automated way of doing this.

I was (and still am!) a regular subscriber to Dave Winer’s Scripting News, and listened to his first audio enclosure (imagine that!) in his RSS feed, accessible directly through the Radio Userland built in feed reader. Since then, I’ve changed hardware a few times, operating systems at least twice, and feed reader software more times than I can recall. I’m looking for an application I can run from my Linux desktop that will regularly check the RSS feeds put out by the audicasting sites and download the new audiocasts of interests. Bonus points if the software is under a FOSS license, +1 for efficient and frugal resource use, cool interfaces, etc.

One recommendation off the Conversations Network is labeled iPodder, but points to JuiceReceiver, which doesn’t “yet” have a Linux port, despite being written in Python. It seems like there are close relatives to this code in CastPodder and IcePodder, but it’s not clear to me which of any of these projects is alive, well and legitimate. It appears to me that IcePodder has roots in the others, with directories still named iPodder (likely renamed due to near trademark infringement of a well-known player?) and a CastPodder manual buried in the download, dated 2005. (Here’s a clue: IcePodder’s About page says “IcePodder is a podcatcher (RSS client) for Linux conceived as a replacement for CastPodder. ” So my guess is that iPodder begat JuiceReceiver begat CastPodder begat IcePodder. Whether or not I’m on the “right” branch is something that a little more research ought to bring to light. (Update: a little Googling confirms the theory, and it appears to be pretty amicable.)

IcePodder was an easy install: download, unpackage, review the README and INSTALL, review and run the install.sh script. Written in Python, using wxWidgets for UI, GPL. A little shaky in operation – I’ve crashed it once or twice, but I’m running the old “stable” release rather than the current code, so I should upgrade before passing judgement. The code needs some serious search-and-replace s/CastPodder/IcePodder/g but it looks pretty promising. Anyone else have recommendations?

UPDATE: gPodder also looks promising. Don’t let the version 0.10 fool you – apparantly, that’s the version after 0.9, according to the developers…

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3 Responses to Recommendations for FOSS podcatcher?

  1. bill_mcgonigle December 4, 2007 at 6:51 pm #

    “Unicast” 🙂

    Have you tried Amarok?

  2. tedroche December 5, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    I hadn’t. I think Fedora installed Amarok on my machine as one of the default multimedia applications, but it didn’t make a good first impression. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks!

  3. spankminister June 25, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    Hi, I’m the project maintainer for Icepodder. Just to clear a few things up, Icepodder is a fork of CastPodder, started when its project lead decided to stop updating the project. CastPodder itself is a Linux port of Juice, which was renamed from iPodder due to legal reasons (your guess was right). CastPodder is no longer maintained, and the Juice team tells me they occasionally make updates. Thanks for the post, and I’ll change the About page to be more explicit.

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