For the past week or two, I’ve been using the FeedDemon beta as my RSS reader. There are some things that I wish were different about it, but overall it’s quite nice and is extremely polished for a pre-release product. (I suppose at some point I should head over to the public news groups and talk about what I’d like to see change.) Anyway, FeedDemon comes with a bunch of subscribed feeds by default (alas, rc3.org is not one of them). Rather than purging them all, I left them all in at first and am removing them as they become annoying.
Anyway, one of the feeds is Adam Curry’s Weblog. In his feed this morning, I found the post taking a stand on rss, which is wrong in so many ways that it hurts. Curry put up ten grand to get included automatically in the list of subscribed feeds that ship with Radio UserLand. (Maybe he paid to be included in FeedDemon as well, who knows?) Now he’s mad because some people are working on a new replacement for RSS.
Speaking personally, while I haven’t been able to escape the ongoing discussion of RSS, Echo, not-Echo, and other related matters for weeks, I really haven’t been too interested in it one way or another. Once the discussion is over, if popular RSS tools start supporting the new format, then I’ll create a new feed for this site. If they don’t, then I won’t.
So Curry is mad because he invested his ten grand not just in getting his RSS feed in front of a bunch of new people, but “in a format.” I’m not sure what that means. I’m not even sure why he cares. He claims that the exposure he bought is somehow diluted by the new format. How can that possibly be? If the new format falls flat on its face, then he’s fine. If it succeeds wildly, then UserLand will be compelled to support it, and he’ll be fine. It’s just a data format. If you’re not going to be the one generating it or parsing it, who cares?
He concludes by saying that he’s going to spend $10,000 more this year buying exposure in various aggregators, but he’s only giving his money to people who don’t support the new format. How much sense does that make? RSS is entrenched. Nobody who makes an RSS reader in the foreseeable future is going to drop support for it. If feeds using the new format start appearing, then smart authors of RSS readers will support it as well. We’re supposed to be liberal in what we accept, remember? I’m not sure why an esoteric debate about a data format is arousing this kind of misplaced anger, but I’d like to learn more.