Netscape announced this afternoon that the first two versions of RSS, RSS 0.90 and RSS 0.91, are moving to the RSS Advisory Board.

The RSS specification documents, DTDs, and help files for the first versions of RSS (v0.9, v0.91) are being moved to, where they will be hosted by the RSS Advisory Board in perpetuity. Netscape will continue to host these files (via redirect) on the My Netscape domain ( until August 1st, 2008.

Netscape launched RSS on March 15, 1999, with the My Netscape Network and an RSS 0.90 specification written by Ramanathan Guha. Four months later, RSS 0.91 was launched with a specification written by Dan Libby. Five years after revolutionizing the web browser, Netscape sparked another revolution on the web with XML-based syndication.

All websites that produce RSS 0.9 or RSS 0.91 feeds will need to either convert to using the current standard (RSS v2.0), or if desired, convert their v0.9/v0.91 feeds properly using this guide, provided by the RSS Advisory Board, by August 1st.

The board will ensure the continued availability of the specifications and the RSS 0.91 DTD (document type definition), which still receives four million hits a day from XML parsing software. We could use some advice from Apache admins on how to serve a file that often without reducing the HTTP server to a smoldering heap of rubble.

In the eight years since Netscape published the first RSS specification, the format has become as essential to the web as HTML, XHTML and CSS. By my estimation, the specs and related DTDs have been requested from Netscape's servers more than one billion times.

As the current chairman of the board, I'd like to thank Guha and Libby for their work on the first two versions of RSS and more recent Netscape employees Chris Finke and Tom Drapeau for helping this transition. Though most RSS feeds use the current version today, thousands of feed publishers continue to employ RSS 0.9 and RSS 0.91. Long after Netscape closed the first incarnation of the My Netscape Network and had no business interest in RSS, the company contributed to the success of web syndication by keeping these documents online.


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