May 13, 2003
@ 12:58 AM
Over the weekend Dave Winer posted a paranoid rant about Microsoft "fucking" the RSS community by entering into the webloging world and building modules for RSS. Dave's rant led to an over 100 thread discussion on creating an RSS profile over on Sam Ruby's blog. The discussion failed to tackle Dave's primary fears and I said as much in a post on a related thread

A profile implies a subset. Almost every feed I've seen uses a superset of Dave's spec via some module or the other. Right now I'm currently viewing your post as rich content via xhtml:body, can see a list of your posts sorted chronologically via dc:date, have a link to your comments feed plus count of how many comments you have been posted displayed in my reader via slash:comments, and I'm currently posting to your blog from the comfort of my RSS aggregator via wfw:comment.

I am completely disinterested in Dave Winer trying to specify or control exactly what conformance or compliance means with this plethora of options. As Don likes to say "May a thousand flowers bloom". Secondly if I actually decided to get behind something like this I'd prefer if it was someone whose spec writing chops were up to snuff (like Tim Bray, read )

The main point of my post which Dave Winer decided to mangle to fit his paranoid vendetta is that content producers creating or supporting arbitrary RSS modules and injecting them in RSS feeds is already part and parcel of the RSS world. When Sam Ruby adopted the CommentAPI which provides a mechanism for posting responses to his blog via HTTP I implemented it in RSS Bandit and I'm quite sure we that for a while we were the only two people on the planet using the technology. Now a few more weblogs I read support it such as .NET Weblogs and Simon Fell which is nice because I can post responses to them directly from RSS Bandit.

Dave Winer seems to be arguing that BIG EVIL Micro$oft is going to enter the weblogging world and create all sorts of RSS modules that will only work with proprietary aggregators thus shutting out the little guy (although according to Dave he isn't such a little guy). Now I have no idea if anyone at Microsoft is actually interested in creating any commercial weblogging tools so I can't speak for them or for Microsoft for that matter. However I can speak as a fairly observant individual and state that the only way Dave can stop companies like Microsoft, AOL, etc. from doing what people like Sam and I did with the CommentAPI is ... (actually, I can't think of a way to stop that from happening since RSS being based on XML is fundamentally designed to be extensible in that manner).

Now I've stated that I'm not speaking as a Microsoft employee but just stating a fairly informed opinion based on my experiences working with RSS and XML. I'll forward a link to this post to Dave and hope when he reads this he considers his actions then refrains from further using me as a pawn in his personal vendetta against Microsoft.

I don't need this shit.