Sometimes people have really good ideas of features that should be included in software that end up having unintended side effects. This is one of those stories.
Enter Liferea, probably the best RSS feed reader written in GTK2. You can tell it is good because they provide links to alternative feed readers on their front page… that shows confidence!
But it has one “feature” that has had me tearing my hair out. Whenever it checks a feed and encounters a redirect, it blindly updates the feeds URL. While that seems a good idea (as it prevents constant redirects), it causes some issues… Imagine opening your feed reader in a hotel with a paywall or terms of service page where you have to agree to go any further and all your feeds get their URL changed.
When that happened to me, I grabbed the source code and deleted the entire URL update segment. Given the Arch policies on patching and upstream issues, this is the sort of “fix” that would not make it into our repos so I have had to maintain my own Liferea package for a few months now. But that is all to change with a patch being accepted upstream. Of course, the patch does things the correct way and updates URLs that redirect only with HTTP 301 (Moved Permanently) codes.
So now I just have to trust that hotels do not issue a 301 codes to their paywall. For some reason, I am still worried…