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by Jay Fienberg

David Sifry on Dave Winer and RSS

posted: Jun 24, 2003 11:31:17 PM

David Sifry has a good post today with Comments on the RSS Controversy, based on a phone conversation between Dave Winer and himself.

There are good comments that follow David's post too. I also added a comment there referencing what I think is a good proposal in Ian Davis' UnifiedRSS, which I first mentioned in my post earlier this month on RSS (and RDF in/as RSS) debates.

All of this ties into Sam Ruby's efforts to define a well formed log entry, which I have been posting about quite a bit (most recently, earlier today in Permalink to RSS, comment on well formed log entry effort).

The question I have with regards to all of this: who are the major players holding back resolving this? I mean, would Dave Winer prevent Radio Userland from upgrading to a newer format if everyone else did? And, if so, would that really stop everyone else from using a new format?

Probably fortunately, I just don't know enough of the history and politics around this to see what's the hang-up. I mean, if MoveableType and Blogger and a bunch of independent blog / RSS producers can agree on a new format, would that unstick the stuckness?

Is the issue just that no one has decided yet what the next set of improvements to RSS should be, and once some majority of people decide it, we can just encourage all the RSS producers and consumers to upgrade?

I do get the scary vision: no upgrade happens because of disagreements, and some big company with lots of software in lots of peoples hands starts using RSS in a way that is incompatible with existing RSS feeds AND unaccountable to any of the current RSS users wishes for its improvement. Divide and conquer.

I think Sam's effort is good: let's just get a lot more clear on what this all is and document and clarify RSS. And, I think David Sifry's suggestion maybe is one to consider: the documented, clarified, and thereby improved RSS should maybe be called something other than RSS just to make a clean break.

Just saw that Tim Bray has already said more about all of this, and said it all in a more organized and thoughtful fashion. See his I Like Pie. ("Pie" is one of the names being suggested as the name for the new syndication format for the well formed log entry, i.e., what might replace RSS.)

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