In a post entitled Atom 0.3 Denouement begins his advocacy for developers to stop supporting Atom 0.3 and states his intent to start flagging such feeds as being invalid in the Feed Validator come the fall. I planned to avoid blogging about his post until I saw the following comment by Mark Pilgrim where he wrote

Atom 1.0 will shortly be an IETF RFC, which makes it as much of a web standard as HTTP.  Atom 0.3 was just some guys (and gals) dicking around on a wiki.  As it turned out, some guys dicking around on a wiki were able to produce a relatively decent standard, but that isnt saying much given the competition.  Atom 1.0 is a great standard, worthy of the label and worthy of being pushed by standards advocacy groups like WaSP...

Although what Mark Pilgrim has written is factual it is misleading as well. Although Atom 0.3 was not backed by a standards body (and neither has any flavor of RSS by the way) it still became a de facto standard thanks to the advocacy of people like Mark & Sam. Specifically once Google decided to switch their RSS feeds to Atom 0.3 feeds they used their power as a dominant content producer to force every major aggregator to support Atom 0.3.

At the time I blogged about how this was a stupid thing to do since it basically guaranteed that there would be two conflicting versions of Atom for the immediate future. Now there are hundreds of thousands to millions of aggregator users who will potentially be screwed when Google decides to switch to Atom 1.0. These end users are sacrificial pawns in what has basically been a battle of [male] geek egos over whether a blog post in an XML feed should be contained in an element named atom:entry or item.

The only bright light in all this crap is that a few years after everyone else figured it out some of these XML syndication geeks are now realizing that instead of arguing over XML element names it is more interesting to figure out what other kinds of data can be syndicated beyond blog posts and news stories. See Danny Ayers's post Brownian Motion and Bill de hra on Atoms in a small world for examples of some of the Atom geeks finally getting it.

Better late than never, I guess.