On Microsoft, Longhorn and RSS

Over at The Register I’ve written about what Microsoft’s announcements on RSS mean for everyone else. Does the inclusion of extensions to RSS 2.0 mean it’s trying to embrace, extend, extinguish? Or does the fact that said extensions are published under a Creative Commons licence mean that there’s nothing to worry about?

And that’s before we get into the behemoth effect on newsreader companies on Windows, and security issues.. you didn’t think there were security issues with RSS? It’s going to be baked into Longhorn, so you’d better hope they’re ironed out…


  1. Don’t you have any minor little corrections to it, that you’d like to make here for the benefit of your loyal readers? I’m thinking things like the RSS 1.1 bit (I don’t remember Dave even mentioning 1.1, which was a trial 5th-party update to 1.0 which he hates with a passion), and how Atom’s a loser (apparently a poorly briefed spokeser did say earlier in the week that they wouldn’t be parsing Atom, incorrectly, when really they just use “RSS” like Apple does with Safari, to mean “all flavors of RSS: RSS 0.9x, 2.0, 1.0, and Atom.”), or the chronology of RSS 2.0 and Atom, or the fact that IE supporting RSS will no more kill small readers than Outlook Express has killed Eudora, or Thunderbird, or dozens of other Windows mail clients, or IE has killed Firefox or Opera, or Paint has killed Photoshop, or any other free and basic and barely capable thing included in Windows has actually killed third party stuff that wasn’t already killing itself (no, killing Netscape doesn’t count). People who would never have paid for a cow when there were already plenty of free readers will use IE’s reader instead of making support demands of shareware and trialware authors, and people who want something better will use other things, sometimes even paying for them, just like they do with everything else bundled with Windows. There was never a chance for anyone to sell hundreds of millions of copies of an RSS reader, with all the open source readers already established, so the only thing anyone really lost was the chance to be the one that MS bought rather than write their own.

    (Oh, the CC thing: that’s a license for the specification document, not the format. There’s no sane way to say “nobody may parse this particular XML element” and no point in saying “here’s an XML element, but nobody may use it,” and the key phrases that tell you what they mean are the start of the first sentence, “Microsoft’s copyrights in this specification,” and the start of the second sentence, “As to software implementations.” The CC license covers republishing the specification document, either as-is or an annotated and thus derivative work, the patent license offer covers implementing the format. IANAL, yadda yadda, the law is what the lawyers of the wealthy say it is, but that’s what they meant, or meant you to think they meant.)

  2. Actually it’s quite easy to say ‘you can’t parse this element’ – just make the content CDATA that encodes some binary data structure. Sure, you can work out what’s in there, just like doc format, but it can be a moving target. I bet there will be quite a lot of this in Windows XML formats.