Ray Ozzie and the team at Microsoft is working on an exciting new innovation to RSS called SSE, Simple Sharing Extensions. There is a draft specification in place, and sample code will be ready soon. Microsoft has released the Simple Sharing Extensions specification under the Creative Commons license, the same license that covers the RSS 2.0 specification. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the specification even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit Microsoft and license changed specifications under the same terms. Microsoft has been a contributor to the Open Source community for a long time. This is another visible example of that participation. See Ray's complete post entitled "Really Simple Sharing"
Ray collaborated with Dave Winer to incorporate support for OPML. Dave blogged about this today on his site, Scripting News. Jack Ozzie and George Moromisato, my old friends from Groove, were also key players in getting this done. Jack and George are the leaders of Ray's concept development team. Awesome guys.
The idea behind Simple Sharing Extensions is to allow multi-directional synchronization of data and objects across multiple applications. Ray used the example of trying to synchronize his private/shared/public calendars with those of his wife. They used different tools and wanted to share pieces of each calendar, and contacts, with each other, and associates. It was not possible, so Ray decided to get a team together to innovate a solution.
Using RSS itself as-is for synchronization wasn't really an option. That is, RSS is primarily about syndication - unidirectional publishing - while in order to accomplish the “mesh” sharing scenarios, we'd need bi-directional (actually, multi-directional) synchronization of items. But RSS is compelling because of the power inherent in its simplicity."
I think SSE will be a really big deal. It will enable all kinds of multi-directional syndication and synchronization across many different applications. Who says Microsoft doesn't innovate? Who says Microsoft doesn't participate in the open source community? This is big!