Microsoft Bakes RSS into Longhorn

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-06-24 Print this article Print

The feature will be integrated into the next version of Windows at the platform level; the company says it is "betting big on RSS."

Microsoft continues to reveal details about the core features it plans for its Longhorn operating system, the next version of Windows that is due in late 2006 on the client side and in 2007 on the server front. The latest Longhorn core feature to be confirmed by Microsoft Corp. is RSS, which Microsoft will integrate directly into Longhorn at the platform level. The Redmond, Wash., company believes that technology will be key to the way people use the Internet in the future and to getting the information delivered to them that is important.
"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 in an interview.
Read more here about Microsofts plans for the next generation of Windows Servers. Microsoft will take the wraps off its updated strategy at the Gnomedex conference, which kicks off Friday in Seattle. Microsoft was focusing on three things in Longhorn around RSS, Schare said. First, making it easy for users to find, view and subscribe to RSS feeds; second, making it easy for developers to put RSS in their applications and enable new classes of RSS applications; and third, creating a set of extensions for RSS, known as the Simple List Extensions, that can be used to enable Web sites to publish feeds that represent ordered lists of items, such as a wish list or top 10 lists. "Lists are very difficult to do with RSS today, as it is currently not really designed to handle that scenario. But, through these extensions, we are going to enable that to work really well, and we are also making these extensions freely available through a Creative Commons license," Schare said. Because lists are powerful mechanisms that can be ordered, sorted and pivoted, a lot of content publishers are trying to use RSS to publish their lists. But RSS is built on the notion of time-based delivery, and the delivery of text did not have the metadata to allow that kind of work. These new extensions seek to enable those scenarios and "to let anyone do it," he said. As such, Microsoft has realized that if it adds some new attributes to RSS, it will be able to handle lists really well. That resulted in the creation of the Simple List Extensions that will be built into Longhorn and also made freely available through the Creative Commons license. Click here to read more about how Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig started the Creative Commons. "That will allow anyone to build them into any application on any device or operating system. This is the most high-profile project we are licensing via the Creative Commons, which allows people to make things freely available while retaining some rights," Schare said. Microsoft was doing "share alike with attribution," where the specification was intended for like scenarios, could not be changed and required some level of attribution, he said. Asked if this would preclude free and open-source projects licensed under the GNU GPL (General Public License) from using them, as is the case with the upcoming new Open Office XML Formats in Office 12, Schare said he did not believe that was the case here, because this is an open specification where tags are specified, but he acknowledged he was unsure. Next Page: A major step on the client software side.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel