maemo.org Bugzilla – Bug 953
RSS Feed Reader is not displaying all articles within each feed
Last modified: 2008-12-06 14:11:12 UTC
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I've got the N800 feed reader updating every 30 minutes. I have feeds for BBC
News, BBC Sport, Engadget, The Inquirer and The Register and Internet Tablet News.
At this time, the applet is showing the following summary:
BBC News - 1 article
BBC Sport - 1 article
Engadget - 1 article
The Inquirer - 1 article
The Register - 2 articles
Internet Tablet News - 2 articles
I assumed the above list is just a summary of the latest articles in each feed,
however it seems to be these are the *ONLY* articles present for me to view. For
example, when I start the main Feed Reader application and drill into the BBC
News feed instead of the 29 articles that are visible in the BBC News
(Worldwide) RSS feed, I only see ONE article (the most recent) listed on the
N800. Likewise for the Register - instead of 50 articles visible within the
Register RSS feed, I only have access to the TWO latest articles in the N800
Why am I unable to access *ALL* articles within each feed while using the main
Feed Reader application? It's correct that the home page applet should display a
summary of the latest articles, but when I access the main Feed Reader
application I should be able to view *ALL* the articles within each feed.
Since I can find no suitable option within the Feed Reader application that
allows me to expand the number of articles shown within each feed, I'm raising
this as a bug or a very major design defect.
I'm really annoyed by this as well. Made a bug in internal bugzilla already
(alias to NB#50709), will link this bug report to it too.
This is what I got:
The rss works as the specification. There will be only 1 or two
feed items, bucause of the automatic item deletion. This can be verified in the
RSS spcification page 44 (?).
This would suggest an INVALID? I'd hate that personally :(
Sure, we can make this as INVALID and leave the RSS application severely
Or we can leave it as a hig priority bug, say to hell with the specification,
and fix the app so that it is actually usefull to us users.
Having an RSS application with only one or two articles is of no use to me (or
you, and probably everyone else too other than the specification author!) I
the RSS app to show me a the feed with all available articles - the home page
applet should only show the most recent articles which will be a subset of the
available articles. As an article disappears from the feed it should be deleted
from the list in the RSS application. This doesn't sound unresonable, does it?
How can we get someone to see sense? There's no point having the person you
spoke to hide behind a specification when the resulting application is
or at least severely limited. The specification is WRONG and needs to be
changed, otherwise the RSS app will gain the same respect we give the email
With a strong argument behind it I will ask the designers. Maybe the engineers
got it wrong ;)
On 770 this worked just fine AFAIK, why fixing something that was not broken.
Keeping this open.
I agree - this behaviour makes no sense for the common use cases of the N800 as
an "always on" tablet.
I tried to vote for this bug, but it seems we're only allowed to vote on one
N800 bug, vs 1000 770 bugs. My bug is currently allocated to #991.
I suspect it worked fine on the 770 because there was no auto-update to
automatically delete "old" articles. Since the N800 RSS feeder is now removing
all those articles that were present prior each auto-update, it's surely a bug
or at the very least a poor implementation - the resulting N800 RSS application
makes very little sense now, as it often contains so little relevant information
(most of the relevant information having been auto-deleted before I could read it).
The point of the auto-update (eg. every 30 minutes) is, I thought, to allow the
RSS feeds to remain up to date so that the latest articles could appear on the
home page. However the way it is implemented, it is ONLY those articles that
have been added within last 30 minutes that are stored and displayed - all other
articles are deleted! Any articles older than 30 minutes which are superceeded
by newer articles are deleted by the RSS app, so if I don't check the RSS app
for more than 30 minutes the RSS application will have downloaded - then deleted
- most of the articles in each feed. That's just dumb! :)
I've asked for some feedback on this bug in gmane.comp.handhelds.maemo.user in
order to determine if it's just you and me that have issues with the current
Is the RSS spec you mentioned in comment #2 available online?
Andrew: I'll re-open bug #944 and ask that the vote count is incresed on N800
This is the link to the discussion in gmane.comp.handhelds.maemo.user:
So far it would appear most comments are in absolute agreement with this bug and
there are no objections: the RSS application *is* broken, and the specification
The problem with the RSS news reader can be solved by keeping n articles
available for viewing from each feed - the value of n should be user definable
per feed, and 0 should indicate unlimited (the default?)
The RSS news reader should NOT delete articles unless the article is no longer
present in the source feed, or when the maximum number of articles for the
source feed is exceeded (in which case the oldest article should be deleted
before adding a new article).
From a usability point of view, this relatively small change would dramatically
improve the worth of the RSS news reader.
Best of luck when you talk to the designers! :)
Talked to the developers and designers, not really good news. They would like
fix it in future with opinions ranging from a bigger bugfix to a partial
rewrite. Looks we won't get this fixed soon (like in weeks) :(
So I dug-out the sources:
(The tar.gz file in the list).
If someone is interested in fixing this before we (Nokia) do, I'd be a customer
I've unpacked the mammoth tarball and the source in question would seem to be:
That behaviour is one major drawback over the 770, which didn't show this
behaviour, even when you updated the feeds at a relatively short interval while
doing other stuff on the tablet. It renders the RSS reader relatively useless,
especially when the n800 is always on and automatically connects to known networks.
Using the RSS reader to read my newsfeeds before going to bed now is a rather
short pleasure for me, as most items have been deleted.
Is there any explanation, why the behaviour has been changed? It was in the RSS
specification before the 770, I assume.
Since the RSS reader is a high profile application for the Internet Tablet,
current behaviour is unacceptable - you may as well remove it from the standard
distribution in order to avoid the embarrassment and negative publicity. Have
you read the recent (ie. early Feb 2007) N800 reviews that *slam* the device
to poor software, some of which single out the RSS reader?
Really, the resources need to be assigned to this problem as soon as possible.
Of course I totally agree that major crash defects take priority, but while the
RSS feed reader is so fundamentally broken *please* don't release another
firmware update without major RSS improvements, otherwise the RSS app will be
added to the list of crap apps, along with the email client (Opera+Flash is
already borderline). :(
It won't take many more apps before the Internet Tablet OS is entirely
of crap applications.
All IT OS applications should be excellent at what they do - otherwise don't
bother including them in the distribution. No, really - just don't bother.
mostly good, or only partially good simply isn't good enough. And boy, is the
RSS application poor. I'd rather recover the jffs memory than take the RSS app
in it's current state.
Assign this bug, PLEASE! ;)
I guess it would be redundant to say that this "feature" makes the RSS reader
completely useless for me.
I downloaded the source tarball and looked inside for about 5 minutes. There's
an interesting function feed_remove_unmarked in src/feed.c. It is called from
feed_add_items_delete_old, which in turn is called from several places
(cdf_channel.c, ocs_dir.c, pie_feed.c, rss_channel.c).
From what I can see, feed_add_items_delete_old is supposed to save unread items
(it passes TRUE as the second argument to feed_remove_unmarked). That does not
appear to be the case in real life, unless clicking on an item and reading the
first ten words in the RSS home applet is considered "reading".
I am not familiar with Liferea that osso-rss-feed-reader is based on. Does it
also remove all old items on each update?
I have been bothered by this bug as well. The only workaround I have found is
disable auto-update. The auto-update functionality is useless as it is.
Raising the severity of this bug to "major" as the Feed Reader is a flagship
application for the Internet Tablets. For the N800 specifically, the Feed Reader
is fundamentally broken whenever auto-update is enabled.
This application deserves urgent attention, as outlined in this bug entry.
Alternatively, ship the next update with the auto-update function removed as it
simply does not work in any sane way.
Updated the internal bug number. Looks like bigger rewrite is preferred over a
While I agree with that as a long term final solution, I guess this means that
OS 2007 will continue to ship with a barely functioning RSS app as I wouldn't
expect the replacement to be available until at least OS 2008 (based on the
email client development and giving some credit for the much simpler nature of
the RSS app).
If any improvements could be made to the OS 2007 version of the RSS app, they
would be welcomed no matter how hacky they are. At the end of the day, the
current situation leaves us (the users/owners) with an unusable application
which is really not worth the JFFS2 space it consumes.
I'm not having a personal dig here, but Nokia really took their eye off the ball
with the RSS (and it has to be said, the email) app and should in future
consider quality over quantity in future. It's not just this bug which relates
to the RSS app, there are several others also and it's not that complicated an
application! Adding rubbish apps to the platform only brings negative
reviews/feedback, and Nokia would be far better off shipping a few quality
applications rather than a dozen barely usable applications.
Killing the RSS app until it is improved would get my vote.
Oh and Jakub - thanks for the update, much appreciated! :)
No improvement in 3.2007.10-7.
I know you didn't say you would fix this bug for 3.2007.10-7, but the change log
for 3.2007.10-7 is so lacking in useful information that I feel it necessary to
re-confirm that all existing bugs remain unchanged. :)
I disagree with the above. The RSS reader is working exactly as it should be.
RSS was meant to just give you the absolute latest - not EVERYTHING since you
checked it last. The RSS feed reader is working exactly as it's supposed to in
accordance with the specification. There's nothing about it that is broken in
any way, shape or form. It is doing what it is intending to do. Throwing around
the term "broken" just tells me that you don't know what the term means and
that you like overblowing your complaints.
The app should not be removed at all, it's working exactly as it should.
Now I can perfectly understand that you all would like to have it keep all the
items. That would be a feature enhancement, so this bug's severity should be
changed to enhancement.
There's also something else that needs to be thought of before this gets added
to the application. Having several RSS feeds, perhaps one or two which are high
volume means that there's a very large chance that there will be a very high
amount of articles by the time the user begins looking through them. With the
N800's memory and performance sometimes already being pushed from time to time,
loading up a list of 800+ articles is going to be severely taxing. Even on
desktop PCs, it can take over a minute or two just to load up the list after a
heavy day. I can only imagine how long it would be on the N800.
So I propose that if the RSS app will keep all articles, some sort of limit
will have to be imposed so that simply open the RSS reader won't keep your
tablet seemingly frozen for five minutes at a time. Most recent 100 or 200
articles downloaded, perhaps (if that's not already too much)?
(I mention all of this because the last thing I want is for you guys to get
your wish only to find that it's basically unusable after a few hours of
receiving RSS feeds requiring a reboot or manual removal of articles... and
then more Nokia complaints and so on and so forth.)
(In reply to comment #19)
> I disagree with the above. The RSS reader is working exactly as it should be.
> RSS was meant to just give you the absolute latest - not EVERYTHING since you
> checked it last. The RSS feed reader is working exactly as it's supposed to in
> accordance with the specification. There's nothing about it that is broken in
> any way, shape or form. It is doing what it is intending to do. Throwing
> around the term "broken" just tells me that you don't know what the term means
> and that you like overblowing your complaints.
> The app should not be removed at all, it's working exactly as it should.
> Now I can perfectly understand that you all would like to have it keep all the
> items. That would be a feature enhancement, so this bug's severity should be
> changed to enhancement.
Please read at least the title of the bug, if not the comments:
> RSS Feed Reader is not displaying all articles within each feed
No-one is asking for the reader to save all articles that ever appeared on the
feed. We are hoping the reader would show the articles currently _in_ the feed.
Here's how my reader looks at the moment:
* IT News (no posts)
* Planet Maemo (no posts)
* Google SoC (no posts)
This may be "working exactly as it's supposed to" but it sure is useless.
Waking up a few moments ago, the RSS feed reader is showing me the following:
Internet Tablet Talk (0)
Planet Maemo (1)
PSP Updates (1)
Xbox-Scene News (1)
Useful to me. Perhaps your feeds are low volume.
(In reply to comment #21)
> Waking up a few moments ago, the RSS feed reader is showing me the following:
> Digg (3)
> Internet Tablet Talk (0)
> OSNews (1)
> Planet Maemo (1)
> PSP Updates (1)
> Xbox-Scene News (1)
> Useful to me. Perhaps your feeds are low volume.
At the time of writing this comment, the Plaent Maemo RSS 2.0 feed contains 20
items, so we are saying the RSS Feed Reader should have available those 20
articles and not just the 1 article that you see which is the only remaining
article in your feed reader following the last refresh. If you are using manual
refresh, you could argue this behaviour is acceptable (though still annoying as
you're unlikely to have read every article in every feed before performing a
refresh) but when you are using the automatic refresh feature you may never
have even read or been aware of the other 19 articles in Planet Maemo which
have now disappeared.
The automated refresh feature is fundamentally broken because it deletes
articles you have never read, and I (along with others) would argue that this
bug stems from the desire of the RSS Feed Reader to delete articles that still
exist in feeds, displaying only the delta (new articles) received between
updates. This behaviour is entirely wrong as the RSS Feed Reader should keep
all articles available for viewing that are present in each feed, and only
delete articles when they are no longer present in the feed.
To argue the application is correct because it conforms with the RSS spec which
may have been written with machine-to-machine communication in mind is somewhat
pointless when an application designed for humans is unusable as a result. In
fact, it's irrelevant to even mention the spec in this context.
> At the time of writing this comment, the Plaent Maemo RSS 2.0 feed contains 20
> items, so we are saying the RSS Feed Reader should have available those 20
> articles and not just the 1 article that you see which is the only remaining
> article in your feed reader following the last refresh. If you are using manual
> refresh, you could argue this behaviour is acceptable (though still annoying as
> you're unlikely to have read every article in every feed before performing a
> refresh) but when you are using the automatic refresh feature you may never
> have even read or been aware of the other 19 articles in Planet Maemo which
> have now disappeared.
You don't see the other 19 because you've already read them or they are already
stale. RSS isn't supposed to give you a table of contents for the site over the
last 48 hours or so... or the last 20 stories (regardless of what Wikipedia
says). It's supposed to give you updated news. It's not going to show you the
19 stories previous at the time you added the feed because it assumes you've
already seen them (because you added the RSS feed while you were on the site).
What's been going on is a while ago, some feed readers just decided to show you
all items in a feed instead of just showing you the newest. You can say that
it's more usable and people like it better that way (which is true), but to say
that the RSS feed reader is broken or incorrect because it's not working the
same as feed readers which ignore the spec is wrong.
RSS assumes that when a feed is refreshed, you've already read previous
articles. Again, the Nokia reader is doing what it should. If you don't like
it, you have the option of refreshing when you desire. There's even the handy
refresh button on the RSS feed home app for that purpose.
RSS is meant to give you the latest headline coming from the sites you are
interested in - not be a replacement for browsing the site itself. "broken" and
"unusable"... you speak in absolutes but it's nowhere near true. The app isn't
broken because it runs. It's not unusable either because it is usable and I use
it happily on a daily basis as is (with auto-refresh).
I still support the change you all want being made to the RSS feeder though
just as long as the app does not get removed from the firmware as you suggested
until it's fixed. Just because you find it "broken" and "unusable" doesn't mean
Since it's so important to you that the behavior is changed, have you (or
anyone else) started working on the source for the reader? I'd be willing to
lend a hand.
(In reply to comment #2 From Jakub Pavelek)
> The rss works as the specification. There will be only 1 or two
> feed items, bucause of the automatic item deletion. This can be verified in
> the RSS spcification page 44 (?).
(In reply to comment #23 From Jason Carter)
> ...to say that the RSS feed reader is broken or incorrect because it's not
> working the same as feed readers which ignore the spec is wrong.
Just to get to the same page, can you guys elaborate on what specification you
mean. The only RSS specs* I know of are less than 10 pages long and only define
the file format -- they don't say anything about how a RSS reader should work.
A link to the specs you talk about would be great.
(In reply to comment #23)
> You don't see the other 19 because you've already read them or they are already
> stale. RSS isn't supposed to give you a table of contents for the site over the
> last 48 hours or so... or the last 20 stories (regardless of what Wikipedia
> says). It's supposed to give you updated news. It's not going to show you the
> 19 stories previous at the time you added the feed because it assumes you've
> already seen them (because you added the RSS feed while you were on the site).
> What's been going on is a while ago, some feed readers just decided to show you
> all items in a feed instead of just showing you the newest. You can say that
> it's more usable and people like it better that way (which is true), but to say
> that the RSS feed reader is broken or incorrect because it's not working the
> same as feed readers which ignore the spec is wrong.
No offence Jason, but I really don't give a stuff about "the spec".
What matters to me - as a human being and not an RSS consumer application - is
having functionality that makes sense and by that I mean if a feed contains 20
articles I want the feed reader to show me all 20 articles, not just the single
article that has been added in the last 30 minutes since the last refresh which
renders all previous 19 articles unavailable because the feed reader is
automatically marking articles prior to the refresh as "read" even though I
haven't read those articles _at all_.
The current auto-refresh behaviour means that 19 articles turn up at 11:59 and
are shown in the reader during the 12:00 refresh. Another article is added by
the site to it's feed at 12:01 which turns up in the 12:30 refresh however the
previous 19 articles from 11:59 are now deleted by the N800 feed reader. I
might not look at my N800 device until 12:31 and I've got no idea there were
(and still are) another 19 articles available in the source feed because all I
see is one article! This "auto-refresh" behaviour is entirely BROKEN because
there are 20 - not 1 - articles in the source feed. If/when I actually read the
19 articles then sure, remove them from the feed if necessary, but in this case
the the N800 is removing valid articles before I have had the chance to read
Sure, I can perform a manual update when I pick up the device at which point I
also lose the outstanding 19 articles. My only option is to read all 19
articles before hitting refresh - doesn't sound so hard, but in reality I must
read ALL articles in ALL feeds to avoid losing any articles with each refresh,
and this becomes significantly more impractical as the number of feeds
I and most other users want to see all 20 articles in a feed, and not just the
single article that has turned up with the latest update. You might think we're
using this as a mini web browser, but I see this as the purpose of an RSS Feed
Reader to show me all the articles in a given RSS feed. I don't want the app to
make decisions for me about what articles are read and which are not, because
that doesn't seem necessary - it should show me all available articles until
they disappear from the feed. Nice and simple.
Nobody is really suggesting the spec if broken (particularly as I don't know
what spec is being discussed) but in terms of usability the application
behaviour is very much broken because it really is unusable! There seems no
point in using "the spec" as a basis to argue the application is correct when
the application should stand alone from this spec - the application has no
reason to be designed according to some vague RSS spec, it should be designed
using common sense and that seems to have been thrown out the window.
As for removing the application, that was said in anger because there are so
many problems surrounding this core application. Apart from this bug, there are
several others that ultimately highlight the RSS Feed Reader as extremely poor
quality software which is not appropriate for the N800 - the apps shipped with
the N800 should be high quality with no exception, and the RSS app falls a long
way short. I'm glad you find it usable, but to be honest I'd say you're in a
(In reply to comment #25)
> I'm glad you find it usable, but to be honest I'd say you're in a
> minority! :)
I'm just wondering what is the current state of the tickets. At the moment I
only see that the issue remains - I always have my articles removed even when
the are not read at all. Interesting, does Jason Carter, who argued that the
included RSS reader does its job well, use it? I can't, actually. And I have
plans to start another project for this or find existent one and contribute to
it. May be fork existent one, I'm not sure it's open and extendable.
What I consider a decent RSS reader is Google Reader:
1. You always have all your feeds not removed just because you've got a new
2. You can read article by article, not all at once. In OSSO reader I'm forced
to read all article after I clicked on feed in left list - they all are marked
as read since then. It's definitely no-brainer behavior.
(In reply to comment #26)
> (In reply to comment #25)
> > I'm glad you find it usable, but to be honest I'd say you're in a
> > minority! :)
> I'm just wondering what is the current state of the tickets.
Who cares? Certainly not Nokia given by how comatose this Bugzilla continues to
be. I could have updated this ticket/report a long time ago, but took the same
approach as Nokia, ie. I couldn't be bothered.
> At the moment I
> only see that the issue remains - I always have my articles removed even when
> the are not read at all. Interesting, does Jason Carter, who argued that the
> included RSS reader does its job well, use it? I can't, actually.
With OS2008, the situation is definitely improved - it's no longer deleting
articles that are still present in the original feed. However it does delete
articles as they disappear from the original feed, which is correct behaviour
IMHO, consider the amount of persistent storage available (perhaps if the RSS
app could use installable flash it may be able to store articles for longer but
then you have to manage the fact the storage is removable etc.)
> And I have
> plans to start another project for this or find existent one and contribute to
> it. May be fork existent one, I'm not sure it's open and extendable.
> What I consider a decent RSS reader is Google Reader:
> 1. You always have all your feeds not removed just because you've got a new
> 2. You can read article by article, not all at once. In OSSO reader I'm forced
> to read all article after I clicked on feed in left list - they all are marked
> as read since then. It's definitely no-brainer behavior.
2 would be nice as an option, not so bothered about 1 considering the brain
dead article removal feature appears to have been banished.
According to the internal ticket, this has been fixed in the OSSO1.1 UI
Now I wonder if changing the specs also magically fixes the bugs. ;-)
(In reply to comment #27)
> With OS2008, the situation is definitely improved - it's no longer deleting
> articles that are still present in the original feed.
Hmm. Probably not. :-)
> Who cares? Certainly not Nokia given by how comatose this Bugzilla
> continues to be.
That's what Karsten and me are here for now. But maybe this is a WONTFIX from
the Nokia developers point of view not that things have improved a bit. :-/
(In reply to comment #28)
> That's what Karsten and me are here for now.
And I think I can speak for many when I say we're very grateful for your
presence, and keen to help as much as we can now that there is hope for this
> But maybe this is a WONTFIX from
> the Nokia developers point of view not that things have improved a bit. :-/
Not sure I undersrtand your comment - this bug actually appears to have been
fixed in the software in OS 2008, although it would have been nice if that fact
had been communicated through bugzilla by Nokia which was my point about me not
bothering to update this entry even when I knew it had been fixed... poor
effort on my behalf I know.
Now that you and Karsten are here, perhaps the communication will be more free
flowing and Nokia won't refrain from updating the status of tickets... There's
still plenty more niggly little RSS Feed Reader bugs knocking about, maybe
they're fixed, maybe they're not, it's a bit frustrating going through old bugs
in order to determine what's fixed and what's not as Nokia don't tell - a
changelog with each release would help here, that's been promised many times.
Nokia updating bugs in Bugzilla as they're fixed would be a major improvement
going forward and may help with the creation of a changelog.
> Nokia updating bugs in Bugzilla as they're fixed would be a major
> improvement going forward and may help with the creation of a changelog.
Creating a ChangeLog will become a bit easier now: When closing a bug as fixed,
Karsten and me will always try to set the Target Milestone to the version that
includes the fix. (However, of course this information *that it has been fixed*
has to be submitted first, sure.)