Enjoying Podcasts on Linux
Discover how to use bashpodder as a podcatching client.
Last month’s “Tech Support” column described how to use gtkpod to connect your iPod to Linux. The column also mentioned podcasting, evidently a new concept for many, given the number of questions that have poured in during the past month. So, this time around, let’s dive into podcasting with the Penguin.
Podcasting is a method of distributing audio or video files automatically. Say that you produce your own Linux radio show and want to feed the show to your listening audience whenever a new episode becomes available. Simply create an RSS feed with an enclosure tag that points to the new episode — that’s called a podcast.
Podcasting, although named after the iPod, is certainly not limited to Apple’s popular player. You can use any MP3 player or your computer to listen to podcasts. You use a podcatcher or aggregator to check the RSS feed on a regular basis and automatically download any new media files.
While there are a variety of podcatchers available for Linux, the one recommended most often is bashpodder. bashpodder is a small and fast script that keeps things extremely simple. Licensed under the GPL, bashpodder was written by Linc and is available from http://linc.homeunix.org: 8080/scripts/bashpodder/. The only requirements for bashpodder are bash, wget, and sed, which are staples of virtually every Linux distribution (and are readily available on Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, and probably almost every other Unix variant on the planet).
The is no configure or make install process for bashpodder, as it’s only a shell script. Just download the bashpodder script, the XSL style sheet, and a configuration file into the directory that you’d like to run bashpodder from. The instructions are shown in Figure One.