CNet spots the soap opera that is the RSS vs. Atom fight. Here's something I found interesting:
"Dave Winer has on a number of occasions pointed out namespaces and said that they break interoperability," said Ruby, the RSS alternative advocate, who is a senior technical staff member at IBM in Raleigh, N.C., and a director of the Apache Software Foundation. "His RSS spec points to a list of namespaces, and it's extremely selective. It includes certain ones and not others. It's extremely confusing. I don't know anyone who knows what is and is not acceptable."
Wow - no one knows what's acceptable, and yet there are scads and scads of RSS feeds, and more readers than you can shake a stick at. For something that is so terribly confusing, it seems that somehow, people interested in the technology have managed to get past the personality problems of a few people who can't seem to get along. This has very little to do with technology, and an awful lot to do with a bunch of overwrought individuals who can't seem to "just get along".
Don't think so - just have a look at this:
The alternative - still in search of a name after being known variously as "Atom," "Echo" and "Pie"--would closely follow RSS technically but have different specifications. Ruby and other proponents say it would most likely wind up under the auspices of a standards organization, probably the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The degree to which the proposed alternative mirrors the fundamental structure of RSS is an indication of how much the debate has become a referendum on Winer's ownership of the format, rather than on the technology itself. While Winer relinquished his CEO duties at UserLand last summer, he retains his seat on its board of directors and remains the principal shareholder.
The new format looks an awful lot like the old format, but with all the tag names changed for fun. Heck, adding support for this nascent format in BottomFeeder didn't require any new domain objects - every single "Atom" artifact mapped straight over to an existing RSS artifact. To make matters more interesting, "Atom" adds a "capability" that is just plain stupid - mime encoded binary data sitting in the feed. Just what I want - downloading the same large dataset over and over again until it ages off.
The problem with Atom is that it's trying to do too much - the group backing it is getting into classic over-engineering mode, and trying to solve too many problems at once. What we need is a new, cleaner API for managing blogs (posting, editing, etc.). What we are going to end up with is one more format that needs supporting. The simple question you have to ask yourself is, if you have an RSS feed now, what value add do you get by switching to Atom? Probably none. The most likely result will be a need to keep pumping RSS, and support for the new format. Yay