There's a lingering open wound in the weblog technology community, and it is called RSS. Last week, Dave Winer and I had a long phone call discussing the issue, and I've been doing some reading and thinking about the controversy. My perspective on the RSS issue: I think it all comes down to naming. Dave has said (on numerous occasions) that if the folks who created RSS 1.0 had given it another name, he wouldn't have had a problem with it. For example, here's Dave's perspective from Scripting News on 8/31/2000:
The proposed syndication format takes a new direction. It should have a new name. Then there's no problem. Further, a new format is not bad or good. If there's a suitable new name, and if it gains traction, we'll support it, as we would any Web syndication format that has content support.Mark Pilgrim has also written up a great summary of the history of the fork.
Does the problem really boil down to this fundamental issue? Last week, I asked Dave on the phone, "So would this whole controvery be solved if RSS 1.0 was renamed to something else?"
His answer? "Yes, absolutely."
Now here's the really good news. A number of folks who helped write the RSS 1.0 specification, like Aaron Swartz and Sam Ruby, have expressed willingness to drop RSS 1.0 future development, and to rename their future weblog standards development. Sam's even put out a call for new names. Here's my suggestion: Call the new work "MSS 1.0". MSS would stand for Metadata Site Summary. Make it clear that this is solving a different set of problems than RSS 2.0 solves - I think the wiki already goes a long way to describe the differences, both in scope and in philosophy. Let's let the confusion end, and bring some healing to the weblog technology world.
Then we can all move forward together. And get to what's really important - sophisticated interoperability and new features that users will love.
UPDATE:I've been told that Sam Ruby was not one of the original RSS 1.0 authors, sorry for the mischaracterization.