Feedburner bad for us?

Munir Umrani says: “I read the [Dave Winer] post twice and could not understand why Feedburner is trouble.”

The post he’s talking about? Dave Winer, who wrote “Why Feedburner is trouble.”

That caused a bunch of conversation over the weekend.

Ian Betteridge answers back “I could switch my feeds away from FeedBurner within a week.”

I disagree with Ian. If he switched his feeds from Feedburner that would break my news aggregator. I’d stop getting his feed and it wouldn’t be guaranteed that my aggregator would get his new feed. In fact, I’ll bet it’ll just stop getting Ian. Switching feed URLs at this point is audience suicide. If you don’t care about your audience you’ll do it.

UPDATE: Nick Bradbury, in my comments, says that you can move off of Feedburner feeds and most feed readers will respect that. (Read my comments on this thread for more).

But, what really is cooking here is that RSS has been moved to big companies to control. How so? Well, the RSS Advisory board, which includes members from Cisco, Yahoo, Netscape, FeedBurner (er, Google), Microsoft, and Bloglines and this new unofficial board +is+ changing the RSS spec all the time (they are now up to version 2.0.9. UPDATE: which only represents a couple of changes, according to comments left on this post). Dave Winer, who founded that spec says that’s in direct contradiction with the original charter of the RSS Advisory Board that he founded when he moved RSS from UserLand over to Harvard University.

So, the RSS spec already IS being changed. The big companies are in charge and we’ve gotta deal with any mess they get together and create for all of us.

I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there. Why don’t they join the Atom committee and why do these big companies want to even have the appearance of messing with a spec that we all are happily using?

What is it with engineers and big companies that they always want to mess with RSS instead of getting together and coming up with a feed format with another name and do whatever they want with THAT? They tried to get the world to switch to Atom, failed, and now are coming back to mess with RSS. Again. Sigh.

If they did this to SMTP or HTTP or HTML wouldn’t the tech world be going nuts right now? Where’s the Web 2.0 version of the Web Standards Project?

100 thoughts on “Feedburner bad for us?

  1. its actually quite understandable.i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  2. its actually quite understandable.i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  3. Um yeah…Dave Winer is worried about giving a big company too much power over our blog syndication? The same Dave Winer that dumped thousands of blogs he was hosting without any warning just 3 years ago?

    From Wired:

    “I just did the best I could,” said Winer, in his audio message. “This is not a company here … this is a person. To expect company-type service … that’s just not going to happen.”

  4. Um yeah…Dave Winer is worried about giving a big company too much power over our blog syndication? The same Dave Winer that dumped thousands of blogs he was hosting without any warning just 3 years ago?

    From Wired:

    “I just did the best I could,” said Winer, in his audio message. “This is not a company here … this is a person. To expect company-type service … that’s just not going to happen.”

  5. I’m a little surprised by how short memories are in the blogosphere. It was only 3 years ago that Google was evil because they favoured Atom. At the time the sub-target wasn’t FeedBurner but Blogger, who had not only shown a preference for the Atom format, but also for the Atom Publishing Protocol instead of the crude APIs that went before. Why are the battle lines being redrawn?

    There seems to be absolutely nothing to substantiate the claim that RSS 2.0 is being messed with. On top of the points already made, it seems FeedBurner’s CTO voted against the spec revision.

    That there have been unnecessary and effectively incompatible proprietary extensions (like Apple’s) is down to the design of the spec, it was to be expected. The suggestion that Google might make its Reader Feedburner-only is on the one hand a bit silly, they’d be cutting off the vast majority of feeds, other readers would overnight become much more appealing. On the other hand, there have been plenty of services over the years that depended on the publisher opting in to a 3rd party system to benefit from the service (c.f. weblogs.com pings).

    There may be genuine issues with Feedburner behind all this, but they won’t be clear while the water’s full of mud/fud. I suspect the real story here is that while RSS 2.0 won the first syndication battle, it’s now losing the war.

  6. I’m a little surprised by how short memories are in the blogosphere. It was only 3 years ago that Google was evil because they favoured Atom. At the time the sub-target wasn’t FeedBurner but Blogger, who had not only shown a preference for the Atom format, but also for the Atom Publishing Protocol instead of the crude APIs that went before. Why are the battle lines being redrawn?

    There seems to be absolutely nothing to substantiate the claim that RSS 2.0 is being messed with. On top of the points already made, it seems FeedBurner’s CTO voted against the spec revision.

    That there have been unnecessary and effectively incompatible proprietary extensions (like Apple’s) is down to the design of the spec, it was to be expected. The suggestion that Google might make its Reader Feedburner-only is on the one hand a bit silly, they’d be cutting off the vast majority of feeds, other readers would overnight become much more appealing. On the other hand, there have been plenty of services over the years that depended on the publisher opting in to a 3rd party system to benefit from the service (c.f. weblogs.com pings).

    There may be genuine issues with Feedburner behind all this, but they won’t be clear while the water’s full of mud/fud. I suspect the real story here is that while RSS 2.0 won the first syndication battle, it’s now losing the war.

  7. i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  8. i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  9. its actually quite understandable.i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  10. its actually quite understandable.i slightly disagree with him also.
    their strategy of getting bought bby a bigger company, will usually be for the better. it looks a damn good thing from a ‘little company’s’ point of view.

  11. 48 hours ago I emailed Dave Winer and stated that I would almost take his post serviously if his current email wasn’t gmail on his blog…

    No reply from him yet.

  12. 48 hours ago I emailed Dave Winer and stated that I would almost take his post serviously if his current email wasn’t gmail on his blog…

    No reply from him yet.

  13. “I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there”

    NIH I suspect.

    And if you have eaver worked on OSI/ITU standards based systems there is way more polatics as well as some bone head stuff.

    Sprint totaly ignored how one key part of how x.400 was suposed to work – one uk company(ICL) decided to start a key counter from 0 when the standard says “MUST start from 1″

    (802.11n is a more recent example)

  14. “I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there”

    NIH I suspect.

    And if you have eaver worked on OSI/ITU standards based systems there is way more polatics as well as some bone head stuff.

    Sprint totaly ignored how one key part of how x.400 was suposed to work – one uk company(ICL) decided to start a key counter from 0 when the standard says “MUST start from 1″

    (802.11n is a more recent example)

  15. Similarly, how many RSS users and implementers are going to take any notice of the RSSAB’s clarifications?

    A bunch of RSS software developers have participated on our mailing list. Some have members of the board.

    We also do a lot of work to figure out how RSS is being used. That’s how we discovered that Matt Mullenweg at WordPress had spurred the adoption of the content:encoded element, which is a great way to offer both a summary and a full text item in RSS 2.0.

    But the comparison between RSS 2.0 and Catholicism is starting to weird me out. Should the spec also be offered in Latin?

  16. Similarly, how many RSS users and implementers are going to take any notice of the RSSAB’s clarifications?

    A bunch of RSS software developers have participated on our mailing list. Some have members of the board.

    We also do a lot of work to figure out how RSS is being used. That’s how we discovered that Matt Mullenweg at WordPress had spurred the adoption of the content:encoded element, which is a great way to offer both a summary and a full text item in RSS 2.0.

    But the comparison between RSS 2.0 and Catholicism is starting to weird me out. Should the spec also be offered in Latin?

  17. Tom: “Paul: Actually Pope’s do write new doctrine based on (and presumably inspired by) the bible which constitute new commandments to the church.”

    Yes, but how many Catholics take any notice of what the pope says? Similarly, how many RSS users and implementers are going to take any notice of the RSSAB’s clarifications?

  18. Tom: “Paul: Actually Pope’s do write new doctrine based on (and presumably inspired by) the bible which constitute new commandments to the church.”

    Yes, but how many Catholics take any notice of what the pope says? Similarly, how many RSS users and implementers are going to take any notice of the RSSAB’s clarifications?

  19. “I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there”

    You should know better than to ask that question Robert, sort of echoes the sentiment of people wondering why Microsoft wants to push MSOOXML instead of adopting ODF.

    Not entirely related but have a peek at this rant I posted back in 2005 as well:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/edaniel/archive/2005/09/14/425206.aspx

  20. “I really don’t get why these big companies want to mess with the RSS 2.0 spec when the Atom spec, which is a formal standard, is out there”

    You should know better than to ask that question Robert, sort of echoes the sentiment of people wondering why Microsoft wants to push MSOOXML instead of adopting ODF.

    Not entirely related but have a peek at this rant I posted back in 2005 as well:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/edaniel/archive/2005/09/14/425206.aspx

  21. Robert says: “I never converted those feeds over to my new one.”

    Ahh, interesting. Does that mean your old blog is still up, and that you’re cross-posting? Or did you just use the same feed location/URL and feed from the new blog?

  22. Robert says: “I never converted those feeds over to my new one.”

    Ahh, interesting. Does that mean your old blog is still up, and that you’re cross-posting? Or did you just use the same feed location/URL and feed from the new blog?

  23. “this new unofficial board +is+ changing the RSS spec”

    Like Rogers said, read the change notes:

    http://www.rssboard.org/rss-change-notes

    As I read it, one or two samples have been moved or added, an additional comment was added, and a couple of words were added in clarification of one aspect of the spec. And that’s it, from 2004 to date.

    Did you not bother to read this before posting, just to inform yourself of the facts? I fail to see any reason *at all* for your “changing the spec” accusation.

    C’mon Robert, this is embarrassingly poor stuff.

  24. “this new unofficial board +is+ changing the RSS spec”

    Like Rogers said, read the change notes:

    http://www.rssboard.org/rss-change-notes

    As I read it, one or two samples have been moved or added, an additional comment was added, and a couple of words were added in clarification of one aspect of the spec. And that’s it, from 2004 to date.

    Did you not bother to read this before posting, just to inform yourself of the facts? I fail to see any reason *at all* for your “changing the spec” accusation.

    C’mon Robert, this is embarrassingly poor stuff.

  25. Ian: no, my old feed just stayed in place. I never converted those feeds over to my new one.

    I also just changed my post and retracted that part of it.

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