RSS as Infrastructure

With the announcement yesterday of the assignment of the RSS 2.0 specification to Harvard University, along with a Creative Commons license and a new 3 person steering committee, RSS 2.0 has become more firmly cemented as an infrastructural element in the web publishing world.  This is a good thing.  It will help wary organizations to feel more comfortable using a syndication standard with the assurances that it is not going to be changed on a whim or hijacked by someone with a hidden agenda.  RSS 2.0 isn't perfect, and that's one of its best qualities.  It was designed with a "worse is better" mentality, what I like to call POGE - the Principle of Good Enough.  That means it is simple, easy to understand and to code.  It means that it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, and it isn't a format for all things or all purposes.  It has a history, which means it has some bumps and warts, but IMHO, it does a pretty good job of doing what it sets out to do: Be a format for the syndication of published content. 

This is not a knock on other efforts that attempt to achieve other goals.  My perspective is to use the best tool for the job at hand, and it is OK for different people to have different opinions on what that is.

Kudos to Dave Winer, the folks at Berkman, and the Advisory Board for taking this positive step.