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How To Download Podcasts From The Linux Terminal With Podfox

Who says your podcast manager should be a clunky GUI tool? Meet Podfox, the podcast client for the Linux terminal: it can do all the same things that fancy podcast apps do while using fewer resources.

Install Podfox

The Podfox podcast client installs a little differently than most Linux programs. Instead of installing it directly through your Linux package management tool, you’ll need to get the program through the Python package installer (aka Pip).

Distributing Podfox via Pip means that as long as your Linux operating system runs the correct version of Python, you’ll be ready to go.

Install Python

For most Linux users, Python should already be installed. This is due to the fact that most Linux programs rely heavily on the Python programming language. Still, not every Linux distribution has the Pip package tool running by default, so you may need to install it by hand. Open up a terminal, select your operating system and follow the instructions to get it going!

Note: Podfox needs Python3 and Pip3 to work, so installing Python 2 and Pip will not work. Determine you have Python 3/Pip3 by running pip3 in the terminal. If nothing happens, you don’t have it and should install it.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install python3-pip

Debian

sudo apt-get install python3-pip

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S python-pip

Fedora

sudo dnf install python3-pip

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install python3-pip

Install Podfox

With the Python Package Index program working, it’ll be possible to use it to grab the latest

code directly from the internet and install it on your Linux PC. To install, open up a terminal and enter the following.

Single User

It is possible to install the app just for your local user, by running Pip without the sudo command. Doing this installs the binary to ~/.local/bin/, rather than a universally accessible directory. Going this route also means that the app can’t be easily called via a terminal at any place. If you understand the risks for this and still want to proceed, enter the following command:

pip3 install podfox

or (in some cases, like Arch Linux)

pip install podfox

If the installation failed, you may have accidentally used the Python 2 Pip tool, and not the correct one. Use Pip3 and still no luck? Try downloading the source code instead.

To access the app in single-user mode, do:

cd ~/.local/bin/

./podfox

System-wide

The best way to install the app on Linux is by doing it with sudo. This will allow the program to be available at any time to your user, and be installed universally. To install, run:

sudo pip3 install podfox

or (in some cases)

sudo pip install podfox

Adding Episodes

To add a new podcast feed, go to the show’s website and grab the RSS feed. If they only have an iTunes link, use this tool to extract the RSS feed first, then copy it to your clipboard. In this example, we’ll use the Linux Unplugged podcast feed.

After grabbing the podcast feed, open up a terminal and use the mkdir command to make a directory where all Podcast files will download.

mkdir -p ~/Podcasts

Next, create a new config file.

touch .podfox.json

Use the Nano text editor to edit the podfox.json config file.

nano ~/.podfox.json

Paste the code below in it. Be sure to change “username” in the code below to your Linux PC’s username.

{
"podcast-directory" : "/home/username/Podcasts",
"maxnum" : 5
}

Save Nano with Ctrl + O, and exit with Ctrl + X. When done, take the podcast URL and add it like so:

podfox import http://linuxunplugged.com/rss LUP

Repeat this process with as many podcasts as you’d like. Be sure to change “maxnum” in the podfox.json file if you’d like to download more than 5 from a feed at a time.

Download New Episodes

Downloading new Podcast episodes inside the app requires two commands. First, use the update command to refresh the Podcast feeds inside Podfox.

podfox update

When everything is up to date, use the download command to download new episodes to ~/Podcasts.

podfox download

Playing Episodes

The podcast app is very slim and only works as a way to download episodes from feeds with commands. It doesn’t have a built-in audio or video player. To fix this, consider installing VLC (for video/audio), or Audacious for audio.

To install VLC or Audacious, open up the terminal and use your Linux PC’s package manager to search for “VLC” and “Audacious”. Alternatively, open up the Gnome Software app, KDE Discover, Ubuntu Software Center, etc and search for them.

Once the apps are installed, open up your file manager to ~/Podcasts, click on the desired show folder and right-click on the audio (or video file).

In the right-click menu, select “Open with..” and choose Audacious or VLC to play the episode.

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