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On Not Being the Free Alternative

NetNewsWire is free and open source, but it’s not the free alternative to apps such as Reeder and Unread.

In other words, it’s not the job of NetNewsWire to implement every feature of for-pay RSS readers just so that there’s a free version of those features. The opposite is true — if a feature exists in another RSS reader, that’s a pretty good reason not to do that feature.

We realize that free and open source apps often do have the mission of mimicking the features of some one or several commercial apps, as if they’re Prometheus bringing features to the common computer user — but that is not our mission.

Our mission is to make the best RSS reader that we like making. We value stability, high performance, clarity, and lots of figurative air and space rather than a mélange of features.

It’s free because we want to make sure a great, free RSS reader is available to everyone with a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

But sometimes — often, even — we’re not going to do a feature that you liked in another app. We’re picky and careful about adding features.

And we’re glad those other apps exists — because, among other things, it means those features have already been done and we don’t have to do them!