RSS 3.0?

This is news to me. Apparently there’s a version 3 of RSS, which purports to be “a derivative work which is meant to replace the 2.0 version.” That’ll please Dave Winer, I’m sure. A guy called Jonathan Avidan is behind RSS 3.0 and he seems to be the only one contributing to the RSS 3 MessageBoards at this time.

Mr Avidan also posted an article at Slashdot, which seriously makes me wonder if there is any decent editing going on there – because frankly this RSS 3 looks to be a load of bunk. As one Slashdot commenter said:

“There is zero community behind this “standard”, it’s just a spec some guy decided to write of his own accord. In contrast, a real community effort, Atom, has just reached 1.0 and is standardized by the IETF. Nobody should take this “RSS 3.0″ seriously.”

Indeed just yesterday the Atom Syndication Format was approved by the IESG as an IETF Proposed Standard. In English, that means Atom is officially an alternative RSS format to RSS 2.0.

In comparison to Atom, which is a real community effort backed by some very smart and distinguished people, RSS 3 looks to be simply a publicity stunt for its author.

But let’s be fair to Avidan and hear him out. In Slashdot he defends RSS 3 and answers the obvious question, why not support Atom? Avidan wrote:

“…why not Atom? I don’t like Atom and believe that with more documentation, RSS stands a good chance. Competition, if moderately friendly and not destructive, is beneficial to both parties.”

He doesn’t like Atom? That’s his reason for starting yet another RSS format?! He explains more in the “official blog”:

“…it is my belief that RSS 2, given further documentation and reworking, can compete with Atom. Why do I want to compete with Atom? That would be too long to explain here, unfortunately.”

Perhaps I’m being too harsh, but I can’t see the point of RSS 3 at all. Jonathan, at the very least you need to explain to people why you’re not supporting a true community standard, which Atom undoubtedly is. RSS 2.0 already has significant uptake as the main RSS format, so why are you starting yet another fork of it?

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