Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
What we lost – a paean, perhaps, to RSS (mattmower.com)
74 points by sandbags on Aug 3, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 110 comments

There's been a recent season of mourning the loss of RSS, but I remain confused about the whole thing because I'm still a happy RSS user. Sure, it's not exactly today's ascendant technology, but it still works fine, most of the websites and blogs I read still quietly support it, and there's a happy little ecosystem of RSS aggregator websites and programs. While I'm a bit sad that a lot of folks don't know about RSS (and also curious about how they even use the web), I'm not feeling any pain as a user.

Google's reader was very popular, and when it was killed I think a lot of people didn't switch to an alternative.

I never really got into it properly (though I paid for and used feedbin for a while) not least because not everything supports it. Its main attraction to me is as being the one place I can go for everything, and if it isn't that, then.. meh, it's just another thing to check, and I gradually stopped.

Not that I don't intend to go back (as much as I intend to do a lot of things..) - it just needs more setup to be useful to me, email subscriptions to RSS for example, or perhaps even the other way around, have an email folder full of subs with rss forwarded there too.

Other things that annoyed me were latex not rendering, and the RSS article being just a tiny stub, or title only, linking to the real deal.

> email subscriptions to RSS for example, or perhaps even the other way around

There's actually quite a few powerful services to do this. I made a service called http://feedsub.com to do this a couple years ago. I'd also recommend http://mailbrew.com which has a nice digest format.

I think there's a lot of value in RSS as an underlying data layer for the web, and I think it's criminally underused on the consumption side nowadays.

For example, I'd very much like to see blogrings make a comeback, and there's probably room for a website community driven entirely by mailing lists and one of these RSS-to-email tools.

> email subscriptions to RSS for example

Feedbin does this, FWIW. You mentioned you had used Feedbin before, maybe they introduced the feature after you left? It's super useful, and justifies the cost of the subscription all by itself for me. All my newsletter subscriptions go into my Feedbin feed, and my email inbox stays nice and clean (and my real email address stays nice and private).

What I am was trying to express in my post was about the loss of centrality of RSS as a means of distribution of all kind of content. Yes RSS as a protocol works as well as it ever did, but RSS as a system is nowhere.

In 2003/4 which is the period I was writing about there was no Facebook or Twitter and online advertising was not the business it is now. Although publishing via RSS was still relatively new and not well adopted it seemed like a viable way of plugging content together.

Now so much content is in silo's. There are no usable feeds from anyone who cares about advertising because they don't want you to have their content, they want to capture you.

That's what I am getting at. Not whether you can still read some sites that continue to support RSS in a reader.

I don't understand the blame on ads. The ecosystem with the best RSS support is podcasts - almost every podcast has an RSS feed, and most people consume podcasts using a podcast player, which is essentially an RSS player. But lots of podcasts have ads. I don't see why text RSS feeds couldn't include ads as well. If that motivated more sites to have fulltext RSS feeds it would be a good thing.

Ads on a website can be personalized (which is why many RSS feeds for news sites only short the first three paragraphs and then force you to click through into their website). Ads in a podcast delivered by RSS feed are much harder to personalize since the user agent pulling the RSS feed is less identifiable than a browser. That's why podcast platforms offering personalized ads rely on their own walled garden of client apps, like Spotify.

Ever since I started using RSS, back in the Google reader days, I used it in list view and clicked on articles I was interested in. I still do this today. I run ad blockers, so I'm absolutely useless to the sites, but I want to see the article in the original format.

The simplest response, although there are several, is control. If I am on your site you have (some) control over my experience and potentially information about me & what I do. If I consume your content via a feed I can (more easily) ignore your ads and you have less information.

Well, the site owner would have 0 control over what extensions I have installed. Asking me to disable them would most definitely result in me leaving.

This is why I caveated my statements. AdBlockers, Privacy guards, and so on change the game as more people use them. That said, I've seen no stats but I wonder if that's even a majority.

It's also worth remembering that they are a relatively new phenomenon developed in response to the snooping. There was a long period where companies like Facebook had it all their own way. And this is the period in which the damage was mostly done.

I'm not sure if it's a majority, however, I certainly recommend them everywhere I can. I've been using them since before Google reader shut down, so they've certainly been around a while.

OK sure, but you can create usable feeds. There are services that will do this for you in like 5 seconds.

Could you give me an example of some of the high quality siloed content that isn't available via RSS? I haven't encountered any problems getting to any of the stuff I regularly consume, but I imagine it probably exists.

Agreed. Podcast apps are all built on the technology. RSS readers like Feedly still work, and there are lots of new blogs that use RSS.

But, the article seems to be describing something else.

Today k-Collector would not be possible. That alternative future where everyone started blogging and putting their content in RSS2.0 feeds that we could analyse to connect those conversations did not happen.

I honestly didn't understand the article. I gathered that he created some kind of tool that aggregated blog posts based on their tags and created an RSS feed out of that, maybe like delic.io.us did? But isn't that already being done by the RSS readers? So, I still think I don't understand the article.

If the underlying RSS technology still works just fine and has momentum, then saying it is dying is going to kill that momentum. This sounds like a marketing problem more than anything else.

Which is to say: It is a problem to be solved with communication and coordination tools kinda like this (but much lower urgency)


Good point. There isn't even a good website for RSS. RSS.com is a podcasting service. RSS.org is the website of some guy who has these initials. The most official source is the wikipedia page, which obviously is a just neutral explanation, not trying to advertise it. There's a site called You Need Feeds[1], which is trying to advertise it, but it doesn't look official and doesn't show up on the first page when you google RSS (which according to keyword planner 10K to 100K people do in the US alone).

[1]: https://www.youneedfeeds.com/

I feel like it needs a group identity around it —- how about “Syndicalists”?

I think this is about pingbacks and trackbacks, basically that you could (theoretically) treat blogs as a distributed forum with RSS and a few other technologies providing the topical or temporal links between them.

Looks like TFA’s tool was a way to surface these.

I think the difference between k-Collector and an RSS reader was that there was a public feed for every topic.

k-Collector was aggregating many feeds and building a browsable content database indexed by a community created taxonomy based on facets such as who, what, where, and when. Yes, each tag had its own RSS feed (I believe we also supported feeds for combinations of tags, it was definitely on the roadmap) but we were also connecting together related tags, forming tag groups, supporting filters. We were also starting to think about how to address the problems in shared taxonomy. It was a very fertile period.

Was it / it sounds similar to delic.io.us, in that users tagged web pages, including blog posts and each of those tags had their own feeds? It was glorious. If you wanted to know what was happening with some topic in the world, subscribing to its delicious tag was the way to find out.

del.icio.us was a social bookmarking site, i was a user back then for a while. While there were similarities, it didn't aggregate content per se. and was solving a rather different problem.

That's where I am confused.

As described, k-Collector seems to be solving a subset of the problem space that delic.io.us did. kConnect presents feeds of different blogs grouped by tag, while delic.io.us did the same, but for all websites, not just blog posts. What am I missing?

It sounds like a really interesting experiment, is why I'm so interested. Are you sure it can't be revived?

I'm also a happy RSS user—the only thing that bums me out is that almost every feed these days contains only the first 1-3 paragraphs of the article. I understand why—I'm not seeing their ads or visiting their site otherwise, but it does spoil the experience somewhat.

Thankfully many RSS readers have an equivalent to a browser's Reader Mode that fetches the page and strips all the crap out of it. It's not perfect by any stretch, but it beats getting blasted by cookie popups, newsletter signups, and autoplaying video.

I was just pondering.. one could add tokens to the links and dramatically reduce the number of ads and other cruft for RSS subscribers. Like say, do we even need a navigation menu? We look at every headline and are very likely to continue to visit if something interesting pops up. We are also much more forgiving if a bullshit article comes along. Its much better to have subscribers than visitors out of google. (The ratio depends on the content)

Personally I don't even parse the <content>, I just have headlines sorted by <pubDate> that open the pages in the browser.

Well if you run 3 ad blockers like me, you won't have to worry about any of that lol.

If mostly no one knows about it, or uses it, Slowly many website will turn this off, or move to just posting everything in a walled garden.

Except, Google Reader died in 2013, and RSS lives happily on. It's rare I come across a website without an RSS feed.

They don't advertise it, but it's there - I presume because whatever CMS they use supports it (WordPress, etc).

It's not popular, and I do worry that what you state will come to pass, but I remain thankful that nearly a decade later, it hasn't yet.

Me too, apparently some people cannot differentiate between Google applications and Internet standards.

Yeah apparently. I have no idea why this is the case, but it definitely is. Google did shut down reader, but that didn't shut down RSS. It's hard to take down an open standard like that with just the end of one app.

You can read RSS in Outlook for Office 365 (Inbox -> RSS Feeds folder -> Right click and Add a new RSS feed). Each new blog article is received in an email-like format.

I’m seeing more and more sites not support it that I would like to use it with and haven’t added a site to my reader in quite a while because I just stopped looking personally.

Just send an email and ask them. Include a minimal RSS tutorial. Make an example feed for their website. They are already parsing out html, copy pasting those lines of code into an XML takes very little effort. Make the feed auto discoverable and/or include an RSS icon or link some place.

It will surprise you how often people just do it. Its a fun thing to implement, 5-20 min and you have results that require little to no further attention, upgrades or maintenance.

Can anyone name at least one website that needs RSS but does not have it.


It used to have it, they turned it off. I self-host my feed reader and a little Twitter-to-RSS gateway for a few accounts.

Oh twitter. They used to have it way back in 2007 or so.

Real estate and job listings, for one.

Craigslist has RSS feeds.

Not anymore, unfortunately [0] :(

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24840310

Craigslist has been utterly disrupted by FB Marketplace where I live, unfortunately.


They still have them.

Yeah me too!! I still use and love RSS! That's why these posts are just ridiculous.

would love to know some offerings that are over the top gratis. some day I intend to write/host my own, but the site I went to in the reader aftermath has slowly ratcheted up their conversion to paid incentives/demands, and now I can't add new feeds.

If your main goal is "very very free," you can't do better than self-hosted open source stuff, and there's lots of competition there. You could also just run a local app that isn't even a website.

I've personally just been using Feedly's free tier, and it works fine. Every now and then they find a new way to say "hey, what if you paid for Feedly," but it hasn't bothered me too much.

Feedly limits how many accounts you can follow & it's less than 1/4 what I was subscribing too in Google Reader. I recommend not using Feedly.

I'll address this here: it's something that I took as a given so didn't cover when I wrote the post. RSS is not dead, as a protocol it still works, some sites still publish RSS feeds and some of them are even more than useless excerpts designed to get a click.

What is dead, or at least like Arthur, waiting for the right moment to come back is the idea of RSS as a system for connecting content streams together and building higher order services on top.

When too much thought & conversation is captured inside Facebook, Twitter, Slack and all these other services who depend upon owning you & your content, the RSS system cannot thrive.

I saw amazing possibilities arising out of individuals publishing their content, increasing use of micro-formats to add semantic information, and layering of services. That future didn't happen.

That's what I am sad about.

To be honest, I am still missing the point of the article. Let's compare emails and RSS: both are protocols, and both depend on the additional tools to make them more use-friendly (at least, I doubt if anybody reads raw RSS feeds). The similarity also doesn’t end here: both are regularly announced as dead and antiquated, but both somehow still stand strong.

> What is dead, or at least like Arthur, waiting for the right moment to come back is the idea of RSS as a system for connecting content streams together and building higher order services on top.

The closest to it is the situation with the podcast ecosystem, which if I recall correctly depends heavily on RSS feeds to propagate podcasts’ playlists.

> When too much thought & conversation is captured inside Facebook, Twitter, Slack and all these other services who depend upon owning you & your content, the RSS system cannot thrive.

I agree that information capture by various social media is quite troubling. I am currently worried the most about all development-related discussion in many minor projects and communities (not only programming-related) switching over to Discord, of all things.

Despite this, I disagree with the assessment that it is a major bottleneck for the RSS ecosystem. I have never used Google Reader, so I don’t have any kind of before and after perspective, but in my humble opinion RSS is a standard that is in quite a good condition overall. Despite social medias’ walled garden approach and greater focus on instant messaging than blogging, I rarely stumble upon a website with content of episodic nature without any kind of RSS feed. The only significant exceptions are YouTube and Twitter.

> I saw amazing possibilities arising out of individuals publishing their content, […], and layering of services. That future didn't happen.

The thing you describe reminds me more of something akin to Mastodon and ActivityPub (albeit I never used any platform depending on it). From what I remember about ActivityPub was that it was designed from ground-up as both a protocol and an extendable system to plug into as a clear alternative to walled-garden design. From what I gather, RSS was never meant to be that.

How such a system based on RSS only would even look like?

> […] increasing use of micro-formats to add semantic information, […]

Isn’t it basically what JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa do? With a bonus of not being tied to any walled garden (that I am aware of). Though I suppose having a way to use them in a more automatic way would be nice.

There are lots of threads I could respond to but let's take this one to begin with:

>Despite this, I disagree with the assessment that it is a major bottleneck for the RSS ecosystem. I have never used Google Reader, so I don’t have any kind of before and after perspective, but in my humble opinion RSS is a standard that is in quite a good condition overall. Despite social medias’ walled garden approach and greater focus on instant messaging than blogging, I rarely stumble upon a website with content of episodic nature without any kind of RSS feed. The only significant exceptions are YouTube and Twitter.

As I have mentioned in several other comments, there is nothing wrong with RSS2.0 the protocol (at least nothing that wasn't also wrong with it in 2003).

Without being funny about it, perspective is important.

In 2003/4 publishing via RSS was a nascent thing. Blogs did it, but blogging was still in it's infancy. Some corporations were starting to do it, and were being encouraged to share value through RSS feeds.

There were aggregators (we built one, but there were several) that were starting to show what you could do by bringing these disparate content streams together. We were also having a little susccess in persuading companies to encourage their employees at all levels to blog and to create internal aggregators.

But, over time, applications like Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Discord have taken the momentum. Facebook, to pick one example, has at present 2.85 billion active users, many of them posting content which is not available outside Facebook. Twitter had RSS feeds but discontinued them. (Additionally, many blogs which do provide RSS feeds only provide excerpts of the content intended to draw you to their website & adverts).

You can't aggregate this content. These systems are also closed over creating, you use the tools they provide or you don't play. Want to do an experiment with how you create Facebook content? You can't. Facebook/Twitter reserve that to themselves.

If you try and start a project now you will struggle with the fact that a huge % of your potential userbase are already in Facebook, Twitter, etc… and captured there.

So while RSS still works and, yes, my blog still has an RSS feed, and you can read it in your RSS reader of choice, this is not the same situation as it was back then. And the futures that seemed possible from there do not seem possible from here.

I don't know, perhaps it's only with the perspective of being there that this feels this way.

OK well I think you should have elaborated more. I see a post that says we've lost RSS and I'm just like come on, give me a break, not another one of those!!!!

Sadly, I am as fallible as the next guy.

The death of RSS/ATOM posts just confuses and amuses me. I am content with following all my favorite feeds (around 50) using QuiteRSS on the desktop. Have been doing this since the sunset of Google Reader. It works and there is a reason why popular bloggers and thought leaders publish a feed link on their blogs.

Sometimes I feel people who see RSS/ATOM as a dead thing stopped seeing the existence of RSS feeds in their circles and then proceed to proclaim it dead.

Not knowing how people might respond to this post I didn't think to be clearer.

The RSS protocol works as well as it ever did. I'm not mourning the protocol. And yes there are sites that do publish feeds, some even full-feeds but many just excerpts.

What I am mourning is the future where people published for themselves and shared content via RSS. But companies that depend upon advertising are inimical to that future and they won (at least for now).

It's that future that I mourn for.

I upped both of you. I didn't even really know about RSS up until recently (as in, I know what it is, looks like, etc. but never really used it). I find it sooo delightful that now I go looking for feeds, that (still?) basically every weblog has them. What a treasure! Definitely going to do something with it.

For websites without an RSS feed, you can try to generate one using self-hosting RSS Bridge[1]. There are some instances with open access, though supposedly some may work more reliably than others.

[1]: https://github.com/RSS-Bridge/rss-bridge

QuiteRSS is such a great example of the software from the past. Not an Electron app, it runs blazing fast, does the right thing in an expected way and does not try to be anything more (like some AI that is "curating" feeds or tries to suggest other feeds).

Ironically, I think that in this case, an RSS reader being an electron app wouldn’t be so unreasonable. Especially if the content is on the more interactive side. Although, a bigger focus on security would be required toward the scripted content.

When did we lose RSS? It's going strong right now.

I think that, at least for young people, it is not as popular as it was for us older people.

Things like the death of Google Reader and web browsers making it harder or even disabling subscriptions to websites via RSS were a huge deal. Allegedly all of that was because RSS lost momentum.

People like me had to resort to use things like Feedly, but frankly it is not the same. I for one dream about the resurgence of RSS and making the web again a little less corporation-in-the-middle.

I know many people in my cohort (30+ techies) who still use RSS religiously (myself included).

I have never seen someone under about 20 using RSS (and probably 90% of that age group has never heard of it). They all live in chat apps and algorithmic feeds :(

I couldn't imagine my RSS reader displaying stories that it thinks I'd like (and not all, in chronological order). There's a reason I curate my feeds—I want to see the content in each of them!

I'm a little over 20 and I have used RSS and did not continue. I just don't see why I would want RSS over something like hacker news or visiting my local news website directly. Subscribing to blogs directly creates a huge firehose of mostly boring content while sites like HN sort content vaguely by how interesting it is.

As well as the fact that most of the time, the actual content of the article is less interesting than the discussion it starts in the comments. I imagine most people checking reddit or HN are not there to read a long post but instead looking to discuss various opinions in the comments which RSS does not support.

Blogs and websites that generate lots of content are akin to News. You don't subscribe to them, and have HN to let you know of something important happens.

RSS is for the long tail of blogs that don't post very frequently, but when they do, its worth your while.

The ideal entry in my RSS feed is one that has new addition once per week or less. This way, I can follow a very wide array of people without getting overwhelmed, nor having to miss if their post don't make it to HN front.

I guess the reinvented solution for this use case is email newsletters, that substack and the like have popularized recently. Most people have an email client, no matter how grudgingly.

Email... defeats half the purpose of RSS. With RSS, you control what you want to receive and when. Its a pull mechanism. With email, it becomes push and then it gets abused. Remember when smartphone notifications were actual notifications with useful alert/content? Nowadays they are just another advertisement delivery channel.

That's why RSS is still important, and why RSS feeds should not be delivered via Email.

Guess what? Substack supports RSS. Every substack has a feed.

> RSS is for the long tail of blogs that don't post very frequently, but when they do, its worth your while.

How do you find those?

From my own experience: search for blogs of favorite writers, observe aggregate sites like Hacker News and Reddit for authors with a style that resonates with you (subreddits of niche topics are often surprisingly rich in a good content), search for niche topics that are of interest to you, ask friends about any interesting content.

Its organic discovery. Some I come across in HN discussions. Some I find while googling stuff. Since my interests aren't mainstream, most of the blogs I come across this way are interesting to me and I subscribe.

These days there are few awesome lists or the like for curated, sorted and tagged personal blogs too. Its a great time to start with RSS.

HN’s front page has an RSS feed, that’s how I get to it for titles that catch my interest. 98% of the time I go to the comments first, more often than not I never go to the actual article (this one, for example).

> Subscribing to blogs directly creates a huge firehose of mostly boring content

It's possible that you're reading the wrong blogs.

> I have never seen someone under 20 using RSS

Im under 19 , i use rss daily for a lot of things from reading blogs to sending alerts about new updates in services me and my friends host.

Possibly some under 20 use Podcasts? That's usually based on RSS.

Eh, but despite Slack and Discord, IRC still exists.

I wish more people would join us outside the walled gardens, but I also don't think these tools will die so long as there's people like us that are passionate about staying outside the walled gardens.

IRC is dead in the sense that it is in a late stage of decline that can not be reversed anymore. The death of freenode was a huge hit as well. It seems like there were efforts to fix IRC with IRCv3 but I don't recall any major support from clients and servers and it was too little too late.

I just checked wikipedia and it is coming up on a decade since v3 was started and yet no major network supports it. And v3 was only the bare minimum required to modernize IRC and misses so many other important features people demand like inline images/files and a mobile friendly protocol.

Of course it will never be dead in the sense that literally no one uses it. Almost nothing ever dies that way.

Death of web browsers?

As I've written in some other comments, because of my lack of foresight I wasn't clear enough.

I've put this in other comments but, briefly, it's not the protocol RSS that has a problem. It's the RSS-enabled future that we imagined back in the early 00's that didn't happen. Those opportunities for connecting things together via content (esp. around the RSS micro-formats work that was going on) disappeared when content got swallowed by advserisers.

We didn’t, it’s just folks still I think wanting to complain about Google Reader getting cancelled due to low usage.

NewsBlur and other RSS aggregation sites are still around, have nice UIs and are still doing just fine.

That was my question too. I fell asleep earlier, and I'm like did I wake up in some twilight zone without RSS???

As an old timer myself I remember Matt's work, and even exchanged emails on the topic with him way back in 2003! (I have most of my emails dating back to about '99)

I agree and can't help but hope this RSS thing and blogs will make a come back!

I've been monitoring this area and believe that there's an RSS resurgence going on. Albeit small and slow.

I believe the same thing, as well. You know what people talk about on Twitter these days? RSS. RSs readers, which ones they recommend etc. I have a daily alert that comes to me about this, and I've also done Twitter searches on this topic.

Hi Blake.

Alas, most of my email archive from that period disappeared in the intervening years. I'd love to be reminded of what we were talking about.


RSS is alive (again) and well again for me, too. NetNewsWire was the first Mac app I bought in 2002, and today I'm using the latest incarnation of it.

The biggest difference to me about modern RSS is the unrealized potential and lack of imagination.

There were some efforts at making it a bit more successful around 2005 with the likes of Feedburner and ads, but eventually it was realized that walled gardens were easier than open standards.

If we had put one tenth as much effort and imagination into making RSS a way that you could get timely information from the web, in such a way that it was as common and no-brainer to people as email is, as we did for web ads, user tracking, and email spy pixels, I think the web would be a lot healthier today.

I don't think it's RSS (which as many people pointed out, still exists; it's just not fashionable any more). The real problem is that the web is like a flashy magazine with very little content surrounded by glaring eye candy. RSS (like many other things before it) was about data sources being fed into a client of your choice and configuration.

The web has its good and bad points, but the web is different from the net, and much of what drives the web is bad for the net.

One or more <category> tags can be used in the <channel> and in each <item> to describe their content. They can either be single tags or they can be paths like /publishing or /publishing/rss Each one can have a domain attribute that points at an url that describes the categorization taxonomy. We no longer have such things for RSS I think? I only know of syndic8 but I've never seen it in action.

There is also the <rating> element which is even more exotic. It supplies an advisory label for the content in a feed, formatted according to the specification for the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS).

You can even run your own rating platform.

The categories are for grouping things. A typical blog would have few of them and many entries in each. The tags are more chaotic. Its fine to have a single article with a tag. The domain attribute is for a web directory (I think?) And with the rating system you can give your own units to a property like how advanced, complex or RSS-ish an article is. (arrogance in nano-Dijkstra)

All of that combined make for the best science fiction story.

I didn't fully read this long post but thank you for replying to what a large large large part of this post is, which is a discussion of tagging.

If I were to give you my OPML you'd see several examples of topic-based feeds. Whether that's a category or a tag.

If the goal is to connect people looking for [specific] content with websites [providing it for free] We have failed horribly with a mechanism where readers have to ask and give their OPML before the potential reader can find out their categories.

With so many new websites being created and so many old ones deleted a static file is not a good solution. If we assume you manage to share your OPML with just the right audience it is almost impossible for a new blog to find its way into this promotional formula. You might find it eventually but it wont show up in the OPML for everyone you've shared it with.

My personal client can do OPML but also loads flat feed lists from an url then keeps additional flat lists of feeds that seem broken or gone, lists of feeds that I assume are gone and lists of feeds I'm no longer interested in. Removing the dead feeds and adding new ones still [shamefully] involves periodic manual labor.

Its great that one can manually categorize feeds in OPML and that one can provide categories, tags and even a rating service in the feed it self but if the data is never shared anyplace else their is [almost] no point in doing so. As a result most feeds have none.

We have: Tags, categories, your own rating system, a shared or public rating service, OPML meta data and the one I forgot: The person (or entity) sharing the feed(s) with you is also meta data.

I have no idea how we can wrap all of those into one discovery medium but the idea sounds awesome to me.

I simply meant feeds like this, for instance. https://lifehacker.com/tag/privacy/rss I have a whole bunch of tag-based feeds from Pinboard, and searches from HNRSS as well.

I wonder if what RSS needs is a bit of a rebranding. Or rather, the delivery of text content over RSS could use what podcasts did for the delivery of audio over RSS. Blogcast, podblogging, or something.

How does one monitor stories from different sources without RSS anyway? That's how I got here.

First, get on Facebook. Next, "like and subscribe" the Facebook pages for all the sources of interest. Finally, refresh and scroll, scroll, scroll hoping that Facebook shows you the stuff you're subscribed to somewhere in amongst the ads, the "suggested based on pages you like", and other stuff. Oh, and hope that the sources that you like have money to cough up to "boost" their posts.

Or, in the immortal words of Goodfellas, "Fuck you, pay me".

I use the site news.ycombinator.com. That's how I got here.

You mean the site "new [ENTER]"?

Most of my browsers happily complete it after just "n" :)

If I type too fast or if something is slowing down my computer-from-hell then it launches a Google search. So I almost always type 'new' to have some leeway.

There are a number of fun ways to consume RSS.

NextCloud has an RSS reader app. Thunderbird has a whole RSS subscriptions area. AntennaPod for podcasts. Those are just a few.

Lots of interesting comments on here discussing the benefits of RSS, I'm keen to try it out.

Can anyone recommend a really simple RSS setup for Linux?

I work in vim if that means anything in this context whatsoever (I honestly have no idea).

I have a nextcloud instance (up in the clouds somewhere) on a rented vps...and subscribe to rss/feeds there (via nextcloud's web-based rss reader)...then set up newsboat command line client on my local linux laptop to connect to that nextcloud instance, and read my feed from the command line of my laptop. I only mention this because you referenced "vim", so i made an assumption that perhaps you'd like to read rss stuff from the CLI...also, if i'm away from my laptop/command line - say away from home - i can just read the rss/feed stuff via nextcloud's web feed reader (which is the same interface i referenced above that is used to subscribe to the feeds in the first place). For me, it has been a nice setup...I hope that helps. Not sure if that is what you were looking for re: linux?

This sounds awesome! And perfectly suited to my needs as I am a CLI kinda guy, and on the road often.

Thanks friend.

Here's some info on newsboat: https://newsboat.org/releases/2.24/docs/newsboat.html#_newsb...

You could skim some of that, as the nextcloud/owncloud stuff is in section 4.7. Good luck!

Years ago I used Liferea for on the desktop, it seems to still be maintained. These days I self-host tt-rss and use either the web interface or the app for it (so it syncs across devices.)

Self host FreshRSS on a cheap cloud and access it through any browser. Works really well.

Way back in 2006 I wrote a very detailed story about the battles that were raging around RSS. It's only history now, but I think it is both entertaining and educational. For anyone who might be interested:

RSS has been damaged by in-fighting among those who advocate for it


Just fire up your tinytinyrss server and os/mobile clients and you are good. RSS is still going strong... https://tt-rss.org/ You can also create feeds from sources that do not provide them, e.g. http://fetchrss.com/

Wow I'm definitely not a fan of these kind of posts!! In fact, I can't stand them.

i've decided that every time someone posts an article bemoaning the death of RSS i'm going to comment that i, in fact, found out about it through the HN RSS feed

Yeah you should keep doing this. Every! single! time!!!

Applications are open for YC Winter 2023

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact