Feeds

Of Microsoft, RSS and Longhorn

Instant respectability

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

So why is Microsoft doing this? "We are betting big on RSS and creating support for it throughout Longhorn. We believe that RSS is so powerful that it needs to be in places other than RSS readers and browsers," Gary Schare, director of Strategic Product Management in the Windows division, told eWeek magazine.

But how big a change of direction is this for Microsoft and Longhorn, if any? Actually, none. Despite everything you've read, Longhorn remains largely an unknown. At Jupiter Research's Microsoft Monitor, Kieran Kelly comments that "the Longhorn user interface appears to be in a state of makeover... Microsoft has chucked a bunch of Longhorn features, making it hard for some folks to discern what difference the new Windows will have from XP. RSS as a platform gives Microsoft something concrete and positive to talk about Longhorn and at the right time, because developers and content providers need to know as soon as possible about RSS capabilities."

In other words, the RSS announcement is a convenient part of the shell game while yet more of the pre-announced Longhorn goes overboard. It's also taken the opportunity to swipe at Google by ignoring Atom in favour of RSS, despite Atom's benefits (such as its use of a namespace). But Atom has technical drawbacks, most particularly its beta-ness. For Microsoft, it's much easier to go with something that's fixed. RSS 2.0 may not be an IETF standard, but it's a marketplace standard, and that's good enough.

What though about those Simple List Extensions that Microsoft has put under a Creative Commons licence? Is it part of EEE, or just Redmond being - gasp - nice? Sure, Bill and Steve could run off into the sunset, adding extensions all over the place, and totally Softing it all up.

But here's the difference from previous embracing maneouvres: RSS is just some XML. Anyone can back-hack it. So it's not like an Office file format. Also, Microsoft doesn't control the supply or the demand.

True, this same argument could have been applied to HTML back when the browser wars were kicking off, and look how that turned out. The key difference though is that Internet Explorer interpreted existing HTML and CSS in its own weird way, and because it came on every Windows machine, yet wasn't open-sourced, nobody could work out what it was doing. But there won't be a closed RSS reader in Longhorn. Apart from Internet Explorer 7, of course. Ummm..

The other question, of course, is whether Microsoft has learned the lessons of tight integration with the OS that IE turned up - those delights such as self-loading Trojans, spyware and adware.

"RSS in the operating system and IE likely means that more people will be saying 'let's start looking for vulnerabilities,'" said Joe Pescatore, the Gartner research director.

Indeed, RSS is pretty indifferent to what it carries as an 'enclosure'. MP3? Fine. Executable file? Sure, why not? (Thus "appcasts" to update your installed applications; just imagine a "pull" RSS for your spyware. Yum.) The security question might seem remote right now, but so did it before IE was incorporated into Windows. And we all know how that turned out. ®

Related stories

Black is white in Longhorn compatibility land
Now Microsoft 'decouples' Longhorn from .NET
The Register upgrades RSS feeds

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.