Just thinking out loud about RSS Aggregators... If every RSS client was also a server, we could have a distributed solution to the brute-force problem. I'd gladly serve up others' feeds if it meant less drain on my server. For example, let's say I subscribe to the NYT Business feed. My RSS client needs a local copy to display the feed. In a perfect world I could also give my copy to others on demand. When someone requests my onfocus feed, they could send a list of other feeds they're interested in. If they're also interested in the NYT Business feed and I have a copy that's newer than theirs, I could send that RSS along with my onfocus RSS. You wouldn't always get the authoratative copy, but you could get close without too many hops; similar to DNS. Some feeds really do update every 10 minutes, and you'd need to grab those directly. But for most weblog RSS feeds, a P2P ripple effect like this would probably be fine.


Reptile, http://reptile.openprivacy.org/ , was something which was supposed to be this but I think the author has moved to a more traditional client-based aggregator.
1. Surely there are privacy issues inherent in having every client broadcast its list of subscribed-to feeds.

2. If your copy of the NYT feed is newer than mine, great, you can send me yours. But if mine is the newer one, then it only makes sense for you to request the updated version from me. In which case, we're inching ever closer to reimplementing NNTP.

I find it utterly fascinating that the answer to every technical problem in the RSS/weblog world right now seems to be to recreate Usenet.
That's a good point about privacy. Maybe the RSS requests wouldn't necessarily be for the requesting IP. There could be a background distribution system that shares all RSS feeds. Even though my client is requesting the Pr0nBlogz RSS feed, it's only picking it up for someone else. (for the articles.) Maybe we could just reinvent NNTP with some of the lessons from Napster/Jabber built-in. We'll get it right this time, dammit. ;)
Well, in terms of privacy would it be easy to build a client/distributor where you can just select which RSS feeds to "give" to someone and which you'd like to keep private for yourself?
That sounds reasonable to me. You also wouldn't want to send your entire list (along with the time of your last copy) each time you make an RSS request...that wouldn't solve the bandwidth hogging. You'd need some sort of rotation; 3 or 4 with each request.

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