Fast RSS reader as light as a photon


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You can also use your local clone with git send-email.


photon logo

photon is a RSS/Atom reader with the focus on speed, usability and a bit of unix philosophy.

photon screenshot

With the current state of rss readers, which are archaic, or use electron for rendering, photon wants to bring a "fresh look" withing a lightweight package.



$ go install git.sr.ht/~ghost08/photon@latest

and for the wayland master race:

$ go install -tags nox11 git.sr.ht/~ghost08/photon@latest


The easiest would be to install needed things trough chocolatey:

choco install golang git youtube-dl mpv

and then install photon:

go install git.sr.ht/~ghost08/photon-gio@latest


photon's philosophy is to be a some kind of rss viewer. So it doesn't have features like adding or managing feeds. photon can be started with a list of urls:

$ photon https://static.fsf.org/fsforg/rss/news.xml https://itsfoss.com/feed/ https://blog.golang.org/feed.atom\?format\=xml

Or it can be directly fed with the feed data:

$ wget -O - https://www.reddit.com/r/pics.rss | photon -

Or using ratt and playing magnet links directly with mpv:

$ ratt auto https://1337x.to/top-100 | photon -

Or searching youtube using ratt:

$ ratt auto https://www.youtube.com/results --data-urlencode="search_query=MyQuery" | photon -

Or it can parse a file with feed urls separated by new line (and comments too):

$ echo "#youtube - LunusTechTips" > mychannels.txt
$ echo "https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?user=LinusTechTips" > mychannels.txt
$ echo "#youtube - Rob Braxman Tech" > mychannels.txt
$ echo "https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCYVU6rModlGxvJbszCclGGw" > mychannels.txt
$ echo "#odysee - Lunduke on Tech" > mychannels.txt
$ echo "https://lbryfeed.melroy.org/channel/odysee/@Lunduke:e" >> mychannels.txt
$ photon mychannels.txt

Or it can call a external command, must be specified with the cmd:// prefix:

$ echo "cmd://ratt auto https://videoportal.joj.sk/slovania" >> mychannels.txt
$ photon mychannels.txt

By default running photon with no arguments will try to read ~/.config/photon/config (on windows it is C:\Users\<Username>\.config\photon\config).

So the feed management is up to the user with arguments, text files and creating scripts like:

$ cat photon-reddit.sh
photon mysubreddits.conf
$ cat mysubreddits.conf

Because photon is a "viewer" (like an image viewer, video player, ...) it doesn't have a refresh feature. photon just shows the contents of the feed(s).


Always one card is highlighted, we call it 'selectedCard'. To navigate to other card you can use h,j,k,l (which means: left, down, up, right).

CTRL+d - scroll half screen down

CTRL+u - scroll half screen up

CTRL+f - scroll full screen down

CTRL+b - scroll full screen up

gg - go to the first line

G - go to the last line

yy - copy card link to clipboard

yi - copy the card image

dm - download media

dl - download link content

di - download image

All downloads are saved automatically to the default downloads folder $HOME/Downloads. This can be changed with the --download-dir argument.

Any keybinding can be prepended with a numeric value, like in vim. So you can type 10j and the selectedCard will move 10 rows down.


By clicking on a card, or pressing ENTER, photon will show the article view, where it scraps the card's link and extracts the title, top image and main text content.

article view

ALT+click or ALT+ENTER will open the card's link in the default web browser.

When the article is openned:

j will scroll the article down. k will scroll the article up. gg scroll the article to the top. G scroll the article to the bottom. q or Esc will close the article.


CTRL+- will decrease the number of columns of cards. CTRL+= will increase the number of columns of cards.

Searching is done with pressing / and then typing the query. photon will filter the visible cards by finding the query in either the card's title, description, feed's title.

#media extraction

photon is designed strongly for media viewing/playing. CTRL+click or CTRL+ENTER will try to extract the direct media link of the card. By following the unix philosophy, Do One Thing and Do It Well, photon want's to be just a feed viewer, so media extraction is done by external tools. By default youtube-dl is used. This can be changed with the --extractor argument or PHOTON_EXTRACTOR environment variable.

By the content type of the media, photon will run it in either a video player (default mpv) or a image viewer (default imv).

If the link is a magnet link, or a torrent file, photon will run it in a torrent downloader/player (default mpv with the mpv-webtorrent-hook script).

So you can play torrent videos directly from photon. Try: photon https://nyaa.si/?page=rss (and install the mpv-webtorrent-hook it's awesome!).

--image-cmd, --video-cmd and --torrent-cmd arguments, or PHOTON_IMAGECMD, PHOTON_VIDEOCMD and PHOTON_TORRENTCMD environment variables, are used to change the default behavior.

#Lua plugins

photon will automatically load lua scripts from ~/.config/photon/plugins/*.lua (on windows it is C:\Users\<Username>\.config\photon\plugins\*.lua).

These plugins help to extend the functionality and make photon do whatever the user needs (for now it's just 'beta'). Lua plugins can subscribe for events or register new keybindings and modify the state. Take a look at some user scripts.

example plugin:

--import the photon events module for subscribing on events
events = require("photon.events")

--subscribe to the Init event
events.subscribe(events.Init, function()
	print("Hello photon!")

#HTTP Settings

Sometimes you need a little cookie to get the data that you want :P

For this photon has some http setting for every request that will be send:

--cookie="KEY=VALUE;KEY=VALUE;..." for setting cookies for all outgoing http requests

--header="KEY=VALUE;KEY=VALUE;..." for setting headers for all outgoing http requests

--user-agent="myphoton" for setting the User-Agent header for all outgoing http requests

--insecure ignore the ssl cert


  • lua plugins - cards maniputation (del, sort, add, create card)
  • lua plugins - http request with HTTP Settings
  • lua plugins - Docs
  • automatic column count by the screen width

Contribution of all kind is welcome :)