People have long had the ability to subscribe to podcasts on Linux, but for years there weren’t that many dedicated podcast clients. Instead, music players commonly could also handle podcasts. But that is starting to change.
These days there are a number of dedicated podcast clients for Linux. Most of these options are relatively new. Some are already rock solid and stable, while others are more notable as projects to watch develop. So if you’re looking for a full-blown Linux podcast client, these are the ones to keep your ears tuned to.
For long-time Linux users, gPodder might not need an introduction. This is easily the most capable, feature-rich, stable, and mature podcast client on this list. While other options may have been around for a handful of years, gPodder is old enough to measure its age in decades.
In a sense, gPodder is the VLC of free and open-source podcast clients: not quite a looker, but rock solid and dependable. The project even has its web service for managing podcast subscriptions and discovering new content, known as gpodder.net. Many apps across various operating systems, including Android apps, integrate with gpodder.net.
So, if gPodder is so great, why isn’t everyone using it? gPodder has a very traditional design. On many modern desktops, that means gPodder can look dated or out of place. Plus gPodder doesn’t actually play podcasts. Instead, it opens them in your preferred audio or video player.
GNOME is the default desktop environment on many of the most popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu and Fedora (along with Red Hat Enterprise Linux). GNOME Podcasts is a client built with GNOME’s design language in mind.
Like many GNOME apps, Podcasts is not complicated, making it largely intuitive to learn. If you know how to find podcast feeds manually that is. GNOME Podcasts does not come with integration with any particular store. Pro tip: links to a podcast’s website on Apple Podcasts work in GNOME Podcasts.
The simplicity can come with a downside. GNOME Podcasts does not come with any functionality aside from the ability to download podcasts and play them. If you want to sort your feeds into folders, for example, this is not the client for you.
Kasts began as a podcast client for Plasma Mobile targeting smartphones. Yet like any KDE app designed using the Kirigami framework, the app scales to fit desktop PCs as well.
Kasts isn’t merely functional on desktops. It looks great. The app is organized into columns, with additional columns appearing as you dive deeper into the app. Clicking on a podcast opens a column with a list of episodes. Clicking an episode brings up an additional column with more information.
This podcast client is actively developed and packed with features. So if you’re looking for an option that, in typical KDE fashion, can handle more than just the basics, Kasts is worth a look.
If GNOME Podcasts provides enough functionality to meet your needs, but you use elementary OS, check out Leopod instead. This app provides a straightforward way to listen to your podcasts using an interface that adheres to the elementary design guidelines.
But Leopod’s strengths aren’t limited to how well it integrates with elementary OS. The app’s “All Podcasts” view offers a well-spaced grid of all your feeds, and the “New Episodes” view provides full episode descriptions. An active downloads button gives you a quick glance at what’s currently downloading.
Some functionality is notably absent. Leopod doesn’t support streaming podcasts, for example. But this app is younger than the other options here, so time will tell if more features are in the pipeline. Also, as a young project, you can expect bugs that have not yet been ironed out.
For years Vocal was the best podcast client available for elementary OS. Aside from its attractive design and adherence to elementary design, it came with full integration with Apple Podcasts (then still known as iTunes).
In Vocal, you can not only add podcasts you already know without copying and pasting feeds, but you can discover new podcasts without leaving the app.
Vocal also isn’t an audio-only podcast client, as it supports video podcasts as well. Plus you can set up automatic downloads.
At the time of writing, Vocal has yet to be updated for elementary OS 6 and has gone quite a while without major updates, which isn’t a great sign.
In contrast to Leopod, Vocal is starting to show bugs as a result of its age, rather than its immaturity. But the app continues to be available from Flathub. You can download it for any Linux distro via the link below.
Or You Can Use a Music Player
Music apps have traditionally been the go-to source for podcasts on your Linux desktops, and many of them still retain this functionality. VLC, too, has the ability to manage podcasts. This is one of VLC’s many lesser-known features.
So if you already have one of the following media players installed, and you don’t wish to install another app for the job, then this may be the best approach for you.
Listening to Podcasts on Linux
Podcasts have gone mainstream. Once a niche way to listen to audio, you can now almost take for granted that a well-known personality or TV show will also have a podcast on the side.
Fortunately, while there have been efforts to lock things down, most notably Spotify, podcasts exist in a largely open ecosystem. You can use whichever podcast client you want, including the various free and open apps available for Linux.
You may have also noticed that some of these same clients are also among the best podcast players for Windows.
What’s the best way to listen to podcasts on a Windows PC? Pick one these podcast managers to queue them up and get started.
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