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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Balkanizing RSS and Risking Web 2.0 Development 

The most significant change to the Internet since HTML is RSS. Dion Hinchclife of ZDNet comments on the Balkanizing of RSS clearly its importance and the potential risks ahead. He talks of the ecosystem of Goggle News, Technorati, Feedburner, blogs, podcasts and others. (BTW, this is exactly what McLuhan meant by The Medium is the Message.) I’ll add almost everything that we consider Web 2.0 is built on the shoulders of RSS.

Apparently some “bigCos” are attempting to put out significant products that might make simple changes that would change things just enough to break RSS and in turn the flurry of Web 2.0 activity. So this is important for innovation. As Dave Winer points out, there is a Roadmap for innovation, so let’s follow it.

Disclosure. I have a variety of interests in RSS. I blogged for a long time. I’ve written free apps like Bletter.com that use RSS. In my day job I’ve written an entire content management system that uses RSS at its foundation an currently produces two feeds for every directory published. My AllSudoku.com site produces an RSS feed. And my current hobby/Web 2.0 project is built around RSS and OPML.

Which leads me to the point that I think anyone interested in this discussion by definition has an interest in RSS. So I am less concerned with Dave Winer’s discussion about conflict of interest than he is. I’m willing to listen some more to others about this. My experience with standards bodies goes back to when I was the FCC observer in the late 70s for the industry group creating the Cable Television Ready standard which I believe was a success. Since then many, many FCC industry standards went horribly wrong, like stereo AM, and they would make interesting case studies.

Interesting discussion in the blogs so far. I’ll see what is going on in the RSS-public mailing list.

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