A: RSS is a specification for the distribution of news
and other web content. The advantage of an RSS feed over channels
such as email is that RSS allows the news to be accessed on
demand, whereas email is a medium which is increasingly suffering
from the effects of unsolicited and illegal commercial messages
("spam"). Whereas in the early days of the internet it used to be
relatively effective to send news by email, spam is the major
phenomenon which is now making this increasingly impractical.
You can think of RSS as "pull", and email as "push". With RSS you
only get the news you want from the publishers you decided to
"listen" to. And you can aggregate multiple RSS feeds, viewing
them in a single list.
Cloanto has been at the forefront of the debate around spam
since 1995 (e.g. see
nospam.info). In 2001 it released
known as Software Manager), which aims to do for
software what RSS does for news, allowing users to check for
software information and updates in a
"pull" fashion, without sending back any information about
themselves or about installed applications. Continuing this
tradition, in 2003 Cloanto began adding RSS feeds to its sites.
RSS data, although being in XML format, is not meant to be
accessed with a web browser. In order to access an RSS feed you
need an RSS reader (RSS client software). RSS readers can
conveniently check, aggregate and list news from different sources
in a single step.
Reader applications include the following packages, most of
which are free:
Most of these packages allow you to simply enter the address of
a website (e.g. cloanto.com, or www.amigaforever.com), and
they will automatically discover the feeds for that site (a site
can have multiple feeds).
If you are new to RSS you may also want to check sites like: