The Open Web

What is the open web?

The best definition I have seen is from the Mozilla Foundation:

An open web is a web by and for all its users, not select gatekeepers or governments.

At Mozilla, we compare the open web to a global public resource, like clean water or the environment. The open web is something we all depend on: to communicate and create, to work and play, to buy and sell. And like any other natural resource, it’s fragile. It needs care, because it can be polluted: by harassment and abuse, by misinformation, by bad public policy.

Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation

Open Web Resources

Mac Open Web

The Web We Lost by Anil Dash

Anywhere but Medium by Dave Winer

Dave Winer on the Internet History Podcast

What I mean by “the open web” by Dave Winer

I will add to this post as I discover additional resources.


"Money would ruin it."

Brent Simmons, as a labor of love, has brought back to life NetNewsWire, as free open source software:

People have offered money — just in general or for a specific feature. But we won’t take any money at all. Money would ruin it.

When money’s involved, it becomes an issue, and in this world it’s the issue. We have our own little utopia where we can pretend like it doesn’t exist. . . .

This means, though, that our decisions can be entirely about what’s best for the app and the people who use it — we never, ever have to think about what’s best for revenue.

It’s rare and beautiful to see someone do something purely as a labor of love in a world so heavily focused on making money.

NetNewsWire is an RSS reader app for the Mac. It shows you articles from your favorite blogs and news sites, and it keeps track of what you’ve read. RSS readers used to be much more popular than they are now that the big social media sites dominate the web.

Simmons supports the open web. He explains that wants to give the public a free tool to get news from the open web instead of the big social networking sites:

NetNewsWire is part of repairing the web we lost, and it’s part of building the web we want. That future web should not include viral hate speech, abuse, massive corporate surveillance, or successful influence operations by hostile governments and entities opposed to democracy.

NetNewsWire isn’t the answer — it’s an answer. It’s just a small part of what needs to be done. But it’s the work we personally know how to do, so we do it.

If the open web appeals to you here is a collection of open and indie Mac, iOS, and web apps that help promote the open web. 


Feedly Pro+ Uses AI to Filter RSS Feeds

I rely on RSS to keep up with the news and have used Feedly for years. Feedly has a new service called Pro+ that uses artificial intelligence to improve the relevance of what you see on the service. It also allows you to follow Google News and Twitter feeds. A lifetime upgrade costs $99. I am giving it a try. I’ve tried many RSS readers after the demise of the Google RSS Reader in 2013 and always come back to Feedly. On iOS, I use it with Newsify which brings in full text articles.