ebook reader

Arianna – eBook reader and library management app

An electronic book (commonly abbreviated eBook) is a text and image-based publication which can be read on a computer or other digital devices such as an ebook reader.

Digital books are well established. Project Gutenberg, an online library of books that can be downloaded free of charge, has been expanding its collection since 1971. Almost its entire library consists of books that are available in the public domain, although there are a few copyright texts which are also included.

Linux has a fairly limited range of eBook readers, so we’re always keen to explore new entrants. Arianna is a ebook reader built for the KDE Plasma desktop but, of course, runs under other desktop environments. It uses Qt, a C++ framework for developing graphical user interfaces and cross-platform applications, and the Kirigami UI framework.

It’s free and open source software. We tested Arianna using the Arch distro. There’s a package in the AUR.

In Operation

Here’s an image of the home view depicting a thumbnail of each book cover.

We’ve loaded a small library of ebooks from Project Gutenberg. The left hand pane lets us see recently added books. We can sort the library by author, series, publisher and by keywords, the latter we find particularly useful.

Arianna library
Click image for full size

The image below shows the reader view. We’re impressed by the rendering of text generally. There’s a progress bar which helps you check your progress which can be turned off. Click the percentage and you’re told the time left to read the current chapter, as well the rest of the book.

Arianna in action
Click image for full size

There are a few configuration options. We can change the default font, use the publisher font, disable text justification, enable hyphenate text, as well as the option to invert colours which is handy if you use a dark theme.


Arianna is a basic and minimal ebook reader. It can open epub, cb, fb2, and fb2zip files.

It lacks useful features found in Foliate, Calibre, and KOReader, but if you’ve only got a small ebook collection, Arianna may be all you actually need.

Arianna is in an early stage of development.

Website: apps.kde.org/en-gb/arianna
Support: Code Repository
Developer: The KDE Community
License: GNU General Public License 3.0

Arianna is written in JavaScript and C++. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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9 months ago

It does appear impressive at first.
However, after reading on a Kindle, then using Foliate, I appreciated that in order to read a book on screen you need to lower the contrast – white or cream/offwhite at half brightness, and slightly grey text.

You can’t do this in Arianna – and there aren’t any appearance settings whilst in the book… Look at Foliate and you see how an ebook should appear on screen, like thiscomment image

Make the image fullscreen and you’ll see, what looked too dark is actually perfect.

Arianna kind of fails by doing it’s own thing.

With Foliate, you can instantly change your font – select Bookerly, or Helvetica as it suits… you can also dump the borders and it doesn’t look as if Arianna is interested to do this at all.

Still a ton of work needed on both apps IMO.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ben
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

You make some good points.

Arianna should be cut some slack though, it’s in an early stage of development.

9 months ago

I really wish there was consistency in version numbers. A 1.0 release should mean that all major features have been implemented and the program is stable.