Snide Remarks

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Thoughts on NetNewsWire 5.0

I’m happy to see the official return of NetNewsWire. I was a dedicated user of past versions of the software, and have been following the development of the new version of the application by @brentsimmons for months now. Over the past several days my feeds have been full of articles trumpeting its return. Personally, I look forward to giving it a spin when Feedly support is added down the road.

However one aspect of its release strikes me as odd. My corner of the internet seems to be full of developers, many independent, who consistently grouse about the poor economics of the app store and the continual race to the bottom of the prices of their apps.

Yet here we are celebrating the return of NetNewsWire, a free application (and labor of love) despite the fact a plethora of great RSS applications already existing in the Mac market, including Reeder, ReadKit, Leaf and others (especially as the iOS version approaches).

I encourage use of the Open Web and standards like RSS. I appreciate the work that Brent and a cadre of volunteers has put into this update, culminating in getting a high quality software release out the door. I hope this application helps to solidify the use of RSS for another generation of Mac, and soon iOS, users on the internet.

But I can’t help but shake the feeling that this is also going to make life more difficult in the RSS reader market. I don’t have a better solution (charge $10/copy, but donate the proceeds to the Internet Archive?), but I can’t help wondering if applications like this, perhaps if released by someone less well-loved in the Mac community, wouldn’t be seen as part of the software sustainability problem instead of simply being hailed as a hero of the open web.

Conflicted or not, I welcome the return of NetNewsWire and look forward to the next chapters in its resurrection. Congrats on hitting 5.0, Brent!