06.01.17

A Strange Preparatory Footnote to the Fate of the Open Web

Posted in Open Source, Software at 5:16 pm by

…Or, what is Brent Simmons’s new project?

I’ve been meaning to write some thoughts about blogging and the open web in general for the past week or so, having seen Tim Bray’s Still Blogging in 2017 in mid-May when I went through my old “Blogs” folder in my bookmarks for the first time half-a-decade or so. (That post having been followed by Dave Winer’s Why I can’t/won’t point to Facebook blog posts yesterday, and John Gruber’s expletive-titled follow-on today. In addition, Gruber has several recent posts criticizing Google’s AMP alternative to HTML/the open web.) But I haven’t had the time to sit down and bang out my thoughts yet, and then yesterday I saw something else which would make a strange footnote to said as-yet-unwritten post…so, footnote first.

Yesterday, John Gruber “teased” the announcement of a new Brent Simmons open source software project in the Daring Fireball Linked List item for the latest episode of Gruber’s podcast. Since I think Brent Simmons is an interesting guy and often has useful things to say about software development, I was curious to see what his new project was. Since I am also a Luddite :-P and don’t listen to podcasts, I figured the project might have been (re)announced on his blog. I checked it last night, and again this afternoon…crickets. I remembered that Simmons also has a company with a website (once home to the great NetNewsWire) and eventually caused my brain to recall its name, Ranchero Software. The page has a nice heading for projects, but, no, nothing new there, either. Finally, I thought, being one of those indie Mac software guys, Simmons must tweet—and I guess he does, but not publicly. (I imagine he probably has a micro.blog, too, but at this point I was unwilling to spend time going down any more rabbit holes to learn what this new project was.)

Later, I checked out Dave Winer’s blog, Scripting News, and discovered he had made several posts about the new project, Evergreen, a new, open-source Mac feed reader (you can take away the NetNewsWire, but you just can’t keep Brent Simmons away from feed readers!).

All of which makes a funny story given the recent climate of fighting back for the open web and blogging—that the primary (and only, I suppose, unless you happen to follow Simmons on GitHub, or maybe on Twitter, at least until Winer posted) way of learning about Evergreen was to listen to a podcast! Emphasis on funny, or strange. To be clear, this is not a hit piece; it’s just telling a funny story. There may be many good reasons the project is not yet listed on Ranchero’s home page (a soft launch—it’s still very early in development—or he’s been too busy, or forgot, et cetera) or elsewhere. Indeed, had there not been this recent flurry of activity around the state of blogging and the open web, I likely would have forgotten all about the in-podcast announcement and never would have thought to write about this at all ;-)

2 Comments »

  1. User Grav­atarSamuel Sidler said,

    06.01.17 at 6:17 pm

    I see it as the second post on Brent’s site (who’s non-JSON feed I follow).

  2. User Grav­atarSmokey said,

    06.01.17 at 11:01 pm

    Sam: Strange. When I posted (well, and for the past 24-ish hours), the two most recent posts on inessential were the “App: The Human Story” screening post and the JSON Feed introduction post. Now, at 10ish PM EDT, with a hard refresh, I see a single newer post, “Evergreen Diary #1: Open Source” (which, per RSS feed inspection, was posted today at 5:27 PM PDT, or 8:27 PM EDT—approximately two hours after your comment, supposedly!). (Follow-up question: if that was the second post you see in his feed, what is the first post?)

    Besides your comment informing us that you are now also a time traveller ;-) I do think it probably also answers the question as to why there was no other/non-podcast announcement: it just hadn’t been written yet :-)

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