RSS Has No Future

RSS has no future. Don’t believe me? Just ask its creator, Dave Winer (link added by me):

It’s possible that a new format, based on RSS 2.0 could be an improvement, but any person or group attempting to do that must not in any way claim the exclusive right to do so, nor should it in any way attempt to interfere with the stability of the RSS platform. No one has the right to do that. RSS 2.0 is what it is. You can extend it through namespaces, that certainly is one way forward. You can take the format and make a new format as an evolution, but you must not call that RSS. That set of constraints has served us well.

Tim Bray (a major player in the Atom syndication format) agrees:

Those of us who thought there was basic, important work that still needed doing in the area of syndication formats had three choices; RDF-wrangling in the RSS 1.0 context, namespace-wrangling in the RSS 2.0 context, and putting a new name on it; to use Dave’s words, “make a new format as an evolution”. Thus, Atom.

Also see Dave’s response when a group of vendors decided to try and resolve some of the issues with RSS:

Tomorrow I will talk individualy with all the corporate members of the
“board” and ask them to resign.

See also Burningbird’s bleak, yet entertaining take on the whole mess, and her call for clarity.

No standard can survive without changing. RSS is showing a complete inability to change, even to fix long-standing interoperability problems; how can we expect it to adapt to new ideas in the future? If the Bugzilla developers can’t figure out a way forward except to drop RSS support in favor of Atom, how can anyone else expect to figure things out?

The big problem: Dave Winer sees leadership outside of himself as a threat. Much of the effort being put into fixing RSS is coming from Rogers Cadenhead, who has been quite respectful of Dave’s place in the RSS community. Dave’s response comes from the depths of paranoia:

Rogers, I need to get out of the RSS morass, and back to work on new stuff. Could you make your group less of a threat to harmony in RSS-land? Be a sport and listen a little, give a little. You can make a contribution without being Lord Master God of RSS. (I don’t want to be that either, I just want to be a friend of RSS and be respected for having played a major role in creating it, and having a pretty good idea about what it is and isn’t.)

For an idea of how respectful Rogers has been, here’s part of his comment to the above post:

I see no desire to discount your role in RSS or your ongoing efforts to be a leader in this community. But we disagree over whether your current position — leave the existing spec untouched — is a tenable one for the future.

This legendary stubbornness is now starting to descend into a disconnection from reality. Check out, for example, this post by Rogers Cadenhead, in which he documents one of the problems he’s trying to fix in great detail. Winer’s response?

Another one — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Skype: AMD Users Need Not Apply

Well, it’s not that bad. But (via Slashdot) it does appear that Skype will be crippling its software on non-Intel systems:

The latest version of Skype’s Internet-calling software can host up to 10 users on a conference call, but only if your PC has a dual-core processor from Intel, Skype and Intel announced Wednesday.

There’s nothing technical about the restriction. There’s nothing Intel’s dual-core chips can do that AMD’s can’t; in fact, AMD has been rated as slightly faster than Intel. This is purely a marketing agreement.

I wonder, though, if this won’t backfire on Skype. Gizmo advertises free conference calling that can handle more than ten callers, and they don’t care who makes the chips that run your computer. People who buy AMD computers because of the lower cost and better performance might be persuaded to give an alternative service a try.