podbeuter: The hidden podcast tool

You’re probably well aware of newsbeuter, one of the best console-based RSS readers available. Outside of that and snownews, there are only trace elements of full-screen, easy-to-configure RSS readers at the console.

What you might not know, and what I didn’t know until Denis told me, was that newsbeuter comes with an integrated podcast downloader tool, podbeuter.


After working with it and newsbeuter for about a half an hour, I walked away from the experience thinking, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

Most of podbeuter’s configuration is through newsbeuter’s regular ~/.newsbeuter/config file, the most important option probably being the player variable, which will determine what is cued when you tell podbeuter to play an audio file. For experimentation purposes, I tried mplayer and XMMS (because I’m old school), and both worked fine. I daresay anything that can accept an audio file as a target will work.

Once you have feeds in ~/.newsbeuter/urls, you can enqueue the URLs of audio files to podbeuter’s ~/.newsbeuter/queue file with the “e” command. Once in podbeuter, “d” downloads the file and “p” plays it. Seamless and intuitive, just how I like it.

Visually, podbeuter looks and behaves a lot like newsbeuter, which I understand is meant to look and behave a lot like mutt. I’m fine with that, so long as they both use color. 😉

A couple of suggestions: I couldn’t find a way to move directly from newsbeuter into podbeuter or back again. newsbeuter will jam your URL list into your $EDITOR with “E”, and throw up a help display with “?”, so it seems natural to have some way of switching between the feed reader and the file downloader. Perhaps I overlooked it, but I suppose it’s no great loss to have newsbeuter running in one terminal, and podbeuter sitting in another.

Secondly, podbeuter doesn’t seem to allow you to play files until they are completely downloaded. That might be the distinction between streaming audio and a podcast, but it seems another natural point, particularly when most of the console backends are comfortable with streaming from a URL. It also gives you the chance to stop downloading something, if it turns out to be a piece of garbage.

Aside from those points, podbeuter is a fine piece of work and a worthy addition to the newsbeuter tool. I give it a definite thumbs up. Thanks, Denis. 😉

2 thoughts on “podbeuter: The hidden podcast tool

  1. marrie1

    I’m loving podbeuter but it would be nice if you could cd to a directory, launch podbeuter and now have it dl in the root of your user account. This makes for me a disorganized mess. Is there a way to modify to download in my currently working directory? What I what to do is log in via ssh, cd to the directory where I want to dl, run podbeuter and just hit A and walk away.

    Love the program. It rocks

  2. Pingback: podcastxdl: One-shot downloads for your ears | Inconsolation

Comments are closed.