RSS religion: keeping the faith

RSS father Dave Winer’s working to keep the standards alive and the code current. Dave writes:
“Now, it may be possible that after three years in the market, that RSS 2.0 could be radically improved, but the roadmap says that no person or group of people has the exclusive right to improve it, and that no one can interfere with the stability of the platform. That’s no different if you work for a small company or large, or don’t work for a company at all.”
What do you all think? Is RSS (still) a relevant format for you? If yes, why. If not, what’s getting your focus now?

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  1. Seth Russell says:

    I think that is the wrong question. Let me see if i can answer the right question. Yes, feeds are still a relevant media for me, they are still getting my focus. Now, as to RSS, that’s just some dialect of feeds, is it not? Which dialect the publisher projects is not any of my consearn. The dialect is of concern only to the inner working of the system.
    Incidentally, Susan, why don’t you start using the new generic orange feed button? Don’t you think we should move this media out of the geeky sphere and into the mainstream?

  2. mcd says:

    Many would be surprized to see how Dave is “working” with others on the questions around RSS 2.0.
    A survey of the e-mail exchanges on the RSS-Public Yahoo group would be very enlightening.
    Just to picque someone’ interest here are two quotes of Dave’s work. On Tuesday Dave writes:
    “And with that, I am banging the gavel and ending this experiment of
    “Tomorrow I will talk individualy with all the corporate members of the
    “board” and ask them to resign.”
    Two days later dave returns with:
    “I’ve re-joined this group now that the discussion appears to have
    turned in a productive direction.”
    Dave Winer may be a software genius but when it comes to committee work…
    He’s a loose cannon.
    The issues are question for the people trying to advance RSS are resolving some ambiguities in the spec, to which Dave writes today:
    “It’s not that I want it to remain ambiguous, it *has* to remain
    ambiguous, because the roadmap says so.”
    Mixing ambiguity and software is (how shall I say it?) insane.
    Dave’s efforts to protect RSS are only alienating good people who have stood by him through the RSS wars and only seek to make the format more interoperable. The simply seek to advise some new companies to the field (like Apple and Microsoft) to avoid the guesswork that makes RSS act in ways that publishers and readers don’t really want.
    There are three nagging ambiguities for developers:
    1. Can an item contain more than one enclosure?
    2. Can elements other than item description carry HTML?
    3. How do I resolve relative URLs in a feed?
    And Dave Winer wants to disband on Tuesday and divert discussion on Thursday the best hope for clarifying three answers.
    So… no one is trying to steal RSS or make it stop producing vast riches. No one could. But someone is trying to control even a hint of clarity on some small issues and it frankly can’t be called “work”… It’s closer to madness.
    Anyway… it will go quiet and someday a way towards some light will be found or Apple and Microsoft will do what they do… produce code that becomes the standard… by default. The odds that Apple and Microsoft will play well together is not likely. Given an area of ambiguity in the spec… they’ll code to their advantage. iTunes already does that to a large degree with podcast feeds… MS Vista will creates a lot of new RSS behaviors to help Windows Lives work better.
    Killing the RSS Advisory Board (or using a Bully Pulpit) to villify the current leadership is painful to watch. I’d like to see someone in the b’verse get it and call Dave to task for his behaviors… But the most intelligent voices in this space have simply moved on to another format and a different governance body out of frustration with the “Red Queen of RSS”.

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