Permanent link to archive for 3/15/04. Monday, March 15, 2004
Answers to Ben's questions

Ben Hammersley, on behalf of the Guardian newspaper, asks a few questions about the peace proposal I made last week. I asked him to post the questions publicly so I could answer them publicly. Here are the answers.

1. The current Atom format wouldn't be "abandoned" if it has important features that RSS 2.0 doesn't have.

2. If you read the roadmap in the RSS 2.0 spec you'll see that since this format would have a different name, it makes no difference what process is used. If the process makes a difference, and Atom has an advantage in its process, that would also be an advantage of the merged format.

3. The community is served by removing confusion. Every article about RSS begins with the arguments of the tech community, and that slows adoption. That Google and SixApart chose to add another argument, more confusion, is something I would like them to think about, and consider reversing. These are not merely engineering decisions, but economic ones. Many of the participants in the syndication community, including the New York Times, Guardian, Independent, BBC, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Sun, Oracle, Apple, the list is huge, have supported RSS as-is, and have helped build something strong and growing. Google is a very important part of the technology world. I've asked for their support privately and then publicly, quite a few times. One of the purposes of this proposal, perhaps, is to draw from them a counter-proposal that lists what they would need to join the rest of the tech and publishing world around one of the strongest emerging standards we have -- RSS. So far there's been no response, but I still have hope that there will be one.

Ben posted some follow-up questions. Here are my answers.

 1. I don't see that remaining as compatible as possible with RSS is "forcing a burden" on anyone. Being compatible makes it easier for aggregator developers to support the new format, and doesn't make it any harder for Blogger and SixApart, especially since both have supported RSS at one time (SixApart actually still does). Everyone has code that can generate and parse RSS.

2. Ben, I've made a proposal and have made it clear upfront that I am open to counter-proposals. That's where we're at right now. I don't know if there will or won't be an open process. I hope there will be.

3. I don't think it would be a good idea for the supporters of Atom to call it RSS 3.0, nor do I think that has been suggested.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 3/15/04; 10:23:32 AM - --