back to article Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

When Firefox 64 arrives in December, support for RSS, the once celebrated content syndication scheme, and its sibling, Atom, will be missing. "After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we’ve concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed …

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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

    I'm sure there's a plan to swap Gecko out for WebKit/Blink... they're just working out how to break the news to everyone.

    Oh, and why would live bookmarks ever need to sync?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

      Gecko died a few versions back and was replaced by Quantum/Electron wasn't it?

      Never bothered with live bookmarks but a preview of the feed is easy to do and the libraries for parsing RSS are pretty robust and safe. I guess, if they're talking about podcasts, the problems will be with any kind of embedded media / HTML.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

        Quantum is the name of the project to move code from Servo (a prototype rendering engine) to Gecko.

      2. teebie

        Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

        "the libraries for parsing RSS are pretty robust and safe"

        'This works well and doesn't give us an excuse to muck about with it to the detriment of users. remove it immediately.'

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

      it would have been LESS difficult if they hadn't wasted time and effort doing the following:

      a) Australis

      b) a 'UWP' version (DOA last I heard)

      c) hamburger menu re-invention

      Mozilla: why not just give us what WE WANT instead of what YOU want us to have?

      You're not Micro-shaft. Please don't act like them.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

        Mozilla: why not just give us what WE WANT instead of what YOU want us to have?

        I agree with the sentiment but by that logic you still wouldn't be getting a new RSS reader. If nobody uses a feature, Mozilla has to assume nobody wants said feature.

      2. NevTheTech

        Re: Developing in sometimes difficult... who knew?

        Check out Waterfox.

  2. Forget It
    Pint

    I read this news first from the RSS feed:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/headlines.atom

    1. AbortRetryFail

      re: I read this news first from the RSS feed

      Same here.

      I use "Live Bookmarks" on the Bookmarks Toolbar extensively in Firefox and would really miss the functionality.

      1. Chika

        Re: re: I read this news first from the RSS feed

        Totally agree, and on a lighter note, after recently having extended troubles with Quantum, I discovered Waterfox, a branch of Firefox that got out of there before Quantum swallowed up the whole ecosystem.

        I do have one Linux machine running the latest Quantum as a reference point but everything else either runs pre-Quantum ESD or Waterfox. Sod Mozilla if this is their attitude right now - as bad as Microsnot.

      2. John Lilburne Silver badge

        Re: re: I read this news first from the RSS feed

        Same here too. It was FF breaking my RSS reader in FF 56+ that caused me to no longer update the damn thing. OK so FF whines that "You Firefox is critically out of date ... blah blah blah" but they can fuck right off.

      3. Jim 59

        Re: re: I read this news first from the RSS feed

        Sage was once a great RSS reader for Firefox. It was discontinued after Quantum unfortunately, and I still miss it.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      I gave up on browser RSS about a decade ago and installed Vienna as a dedicated RSS app and have not looked back.

      1. elDog Silver badge

        For me It's Innoreader (inoreader.com) which gets me to El Register pages, along with about 30 other feeds. I want just the headlines, ma'am, and then an abstract (if available), and then the full article.

        As this article says, this subverts all the tracking bits scattered throughout our meals - just like I want it to.

    3. Big Al

      Same here, but using Feedly since Google killed their reader.

    4. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Another RSS El Reg reader here - I have quite a few "live bookmarks" and have never read RSS any other way; looked at a few readers a while back but just didn't see the point - "live bookmarks" work just fine and Feed Sidebar lights up a button whenever there's something to read and lists the titles nicely by site on the left. I guess Mozilla just really, REALLY wants to make sure I never even consider using their latest crap.

      What I don't understand is, if they think RSS is obsolete - what are they proposing instead? How are you supposed to be notified that a site you haven't been to for two years sprung back to life and emitted a new post...? And FYI I mean some way other than a Facebook feed whatever that might be because fuck Facebook sideways.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        I like the KISS aspect of RSS El Reg and that it doesn't succumb to the whims of the latest UI/UX fads like the main page does.

    5. edge_e

      I'd forgotten about this. firefox just got updated to 64 and rss is no more :(

      Will be checking out all the suggestions for readers/plugins below

  3. Threlkeld

    Goodnight, Firefox

    So, as I would like to retain this very useful way of quickly scanning for items of interest, where do I go when the light of Firefox dims and my bookmark toolbar loses its row of RSS feeds? Suggestions?

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      Threlkeld - I use a FF add-on called "Brief". It's feature-lite and can be a bit buggy (needs removing and re-loading every few months for some reason), but it's the best RSS reader for Firefox that I've found. No good if you want something that synchs across devices.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      I use QuiteRSS: http://quiterss.org

      It has an internal WebKit browser but you can set it to open and use any external browser instead (Palemoon for me). I've been very happy with it for about two years now.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Goodnight, Firefox

        "I use QuiteRSS: http://quiterss.org "

        I've been using that recently. The only problem with it is that it stops being able to access the Internet about once or twice a day, and I have to restart it.

    3. K Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      I tend to use RSS on my phone... light toilet entertainment, so to speak! Yes, I do wash my hands, Yes I do wash the phone screen!

      But my go apps are:

      Inoreader - for list management and online reading (Avoid the mess of managing multiple locations)

      News+ On Android - Works with Inoreader

      Reeder On Mac - This is recent for me

    4. Ol'Peculier

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      I've used feedly.com since Google shut Reader, works well and the app on Android is ok too.

    5. petef

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      I recommend https://feedly.com. Content is synchonized across all devices. You can import and export OPML when migrating from/to other readers.

    6. shaolin cookie

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      Waterfox, assuming that they'll retain RSS feeds (which I sorely hope they will!). I already switched thanks to the removal of legacy add-on support from Firefox.

    7. teebie

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      The RSS Aggregator (a chrome extension) on Vivaldi works for me.

    8. Ryan 7

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      Waterfox is a very high-quality fork, which is preserving the core features which brought so many to Firefox in the first place.

    9. NevTheTech

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      Seriously, check out Waterfox...

    10. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Goodnight, Firefox

      On update Firefox will automatically open a page listing several RSS extensions and let you install one and automatically port your RSS feeds over.

      So if you want to keep RSS in Firefox then do nothing, it will work itself out for you.

  4. Tony W

    Please tell me how to do this!

    RSS is like cleaning materials that are cheap basic chemicals. People don't know about them because it wouldn't pay to advertise, and in the end the cheap product becomes hard to find because there's 'no demand.'

    I used to use RSS and really liked it. For me it was the only way to keep up with a very large number of sites without wasting lots of time. Then several readers stopped working for one reason or another ("upgrades") and every time I had to change reader it was to a worse one and I lost all my bookmarks. In the end I gave up, but I still miss it.

    Of course sites have also been removing their RSS feeds, or making them hard to find. There is no large-scale future because If it did become popular, advertisers would surely make it a condition that feeds were removed.

    1. K Silver badge

      Re: Please tell me how to do this!

      @Tony W

      I think your 50% right, this is exactly what happened to Dilbert, because RSS readers where simply hot-linking to the cartoon strip, they stopped it, I suspect it was due to the artist(s) was getting no traffic.

      But where I think you're wrong, is where sites publish articles, they only provide a snippet in the RSS feed, which entices visitors to the page, such as El Reg does. Also, I subscribe to feed that aggregate information and articles on particular subjects from lots of smaller sites, without RSS these smaller sites probably wouldn't get very much traffic at all - So it does still have a lot of relevance.

      It wouldn't suprise me if somebody come up with a slight twist to RSS and tried to commercialise it (Like Slack did with IRC!)

      1. Graham 32

        Re: Please tell me how to do this!

        > It wouldn't suprise me if somebody come up with a slight twist to RSS and tried to commercialise it (Like Slack did with IRC!)

        They did. It's called Twitter. You're supposed to "follow" the people/organisations you're interested in and have them spam the same link 50 times a day to drown out all the others you're following.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Kruitbosch says, for example, that live bookmarks don't work properly with podcasts, don't sync, don't register whether an article has been read"

    It shows on my FF live bookmarks which articles i have read so Kruitbosch is clearly not correct about that.

    It is a shame they are going to remove this function as I actually use The Register and BBC news feeds as a live bookmark on my FF toolbar, so I can see if there are any articles that take my interest without needing to leave the tab i have open.

    It smells a bit fishing to me that they want to remove RSS when FF has tie in with the Pocket app, I wonder if they got some commercial pressure from that to remove RSS and then they can try to promote Pocket more.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Mozilla bought Pocket for some reason, I guess they need to justify the purchase.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree, my Live Bookmarks show which articles I have read - that is all the functionality that I need from them. It would be good though if Live Bookmarks also existed on the Firefox Android app too - it is a little frustrating that I cannot check simple RSS feeds on the go.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It smells a bit like Pocket

      "It smells a bit fishing to me that they want to remove RSS when FF has tie in with the Pocket app,"

      Looking at Wireshark or TCPDump packet captures always shows my FF browser trying to make a connection to "pocket".

      (Whatever the hell that is)

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: It smells a bit like Pocket

        They say only 0.01% of sessions use RSS. What percentage use Pocket? Surely lower?

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: It smells a bit like Pocket

          This may shock you but the vast majority of users like and use Pocket.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still have a few RSS feeds I check regularly, but others have fallen by the wayside.

    >> feeds don't mesh well with the internet's data gathering industry

    is, I suspect, the real reason for the removal from browsers.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      >> feeds don't mesh well with the internet's data gathering industry

      is, I suspect, the real reason for the removal from browsers.

      Pretty much. Sites don't advertise feeds much. If they exist at all it's a tine link buried in the small text at the bottom.

      If sites don't provide an attractive feed and it's not easier or as easy to use as other aggregates like Facebook, of course the browsers are going to drop the code.

      I suspect most people don't want to read more than a paragraph and expect a video instead.

      I've Newsbeuter with feeds from all regularly visited sites set up, but they've gotten so few and far between it's just easier to go direct, and most articles link to the real site anyway these days.

  7. Sam Adams the Dog

    I've always liked RSS

    I use feedly.com now and am pretty happy with it.

    It seems to me that The Reg used to supply RSS links to individual authors. I used to use it to keep up with new postings by Alistair Dabbs, but I haven't been able to find an alternative for a long time. Perhaps someone can tell me if there is a way to do this that I am just missing.

    I like RSS a lot and have been annoyed at its gradual demise.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: I've always liked RSS

      RSS is still the best way to consume day-by-day data on the 'net. For a site like El Reg, we get the executive summary, then click on selected stories we want to read. I don't think I'd hang around here if there were no feed. Ditto other news sites. And all the blogs I follow are through RSS or Atom feeds, either directly or aggregated as Planets (which I follow using a Planet's feed).

      The web browser does nicely for sites one visits proactively but not daily, and for interactive contents. Mailinglists serve for full two-way communication, with a much higher bar to subscription than a feed. Usenet does (or did) interactive comms best of all. RSS serves a niche that is none of those.

      Fortunately these media still integrate: the RSS button in a webpage, and the feed reader launching a full Reg story in a browser. No need for Firefox's builtin stuff, which was always less-than optimal.

      1. chroot

        Re: I've always liked RSS

        > RSS is still the best way to consume day-by-day data on the 'net.

        I agree. The sites that I read most are the ones that have an RSS feed.

    2. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: I've always liked RSS

      My phpBB board has an Atom feed, that I read on Fossamail. I can monitor posts without having to keep refreshing the browser. A favorite site of mine, American Bird Conservancy, switched from RSS to Twitter. I don't see their updates anymore. I miss the days when everything online didn't have to be monetized.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've always liked RSS

      One of the main reasons I use FF is the RSS feed support.

      Much quicker to trawl through website articles than on the webpage.

      Does smell of forcing folk onto Pocket.

      However, article does say will be supported via an add-on, so all is not lost just yet...

    4. Hawkeye Pierce

      @Sam Adams: Re: I've always liked RSS

      ElReg does still allow you to get an RSS feed by querying the author, for example:

      http://feed.theregister.co.uk/rss?q=alistair%20dabbs

    5. Muckman

      Re: I've always liked RSS

      Find one of the author's articles and then click on his name. This should bring you to his page. Alongside the contact button you should see the RSS button.

      The page URL will look like this: http://feed.theregister.co.uk/atom?a=Alistair%20Dabbs

      Regards,

  8. Irongut
    FAIL

    RSS is a really simple format that is easy to code, several orders of magnitude simpler than html, javascript, css, etc. I find it really worrying that a spokesperson from Mozilla would describe it as difficult to maintain or bring up to modern coding standards. Either Mozilla have lost all their skilled programmers or he's lying.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      FAIL

      I coded my own RSS feed fetcher which converts feeds to local HTML pages in just a few lines of Python so I am also mystified why Mozilla is struggling.

      I guess taking data and simply presenting it in a different format just isn't enough for them these days.

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