I want my RSS
By Stephen WITHERS
Some of the loudest complaints I've heard so far about Mountain Lion are from those aggrieved by the abrupt removal of RSS support. This also affects those who are still on Lion but have updated to Safari 6. (I've got as far as downloading Mountain Lion, but deadline pressures mean I haven't installed it yet.)
RSS might be considered 'old technology' by the Facebook/Twitter generation, but it is a very effective way for publishers to draw attention to new articles on their sites, and for readers to follow news from multiple sites. It's also the technology used by iTunes and other podcatcher applications to automatically fetch new podcasts.
Previously, you could subscribe to RSS feeds in Safari (up to version 5 the little orange RSS icon appeared in the address bar when viewing a page to simplify bookmarking a feed) or in Mail.
But that's gone in Mountain Lion's version of Mail and from Safari 6. It's almost as if Apple is trying to steer us away from established open standards towards proprietary platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Either way, you'll need to take action if you want to keep using RSS feeds.
If you don't want to install additional software, one possibility is to use Google Reader or another web-based RSS reader. That's the path I took when I switched to Chrome as my everyday browser (Safari wouldn't work with a certain web application I wad forced to use, I don't like the Firefox UI, and Camino's future seemed uncertain). It works, though it doesn't check feeds as frequently as I'd like, and some people simply prefer to minimise their exposure to Google (but there are other providers of similar services).
If you're prepared to switch browsers, there are RSS reader add-ons for Firefox and Chrome, but I haven't seen one that works as cleanly as Safari used to.
There are several reasonable RSS readers for OS X. Some are available from the Mac App Store, including the free Shrook, but beware of those that are just a front end to Google Reader if you're looking for a true, standalone reader.
My main objection is that RSS feeds are a way of reaching web pages of interest, so having a separate reader either means passing an article's URL back to the browser for display (which is why I disagreed with putting RSS functionality into Mail in the first place), or the reader has to be able to render web pages, duplicating the functionality of the browser - and I almost always have a browser open anyway.
If you do make up for Safari 6's shortcomings by installing Shrook or a similar application - or by adopting Google Reader - that still leaves the issue of Safari's missing RSS button.
One answer is to install Calum Benson's RSS Menu Extension for Safari, which detects the presence of RSS links on a page and will open them in Google Reader or in your Mac's default RSS reader.
It used to be possible to set the default reader in Safari's preferences, but that's gone along with the rest of the RSS support. If your chosen RSS reader doesn't have a way of making itself the default for RSS content (Shrook does: Shrook>Set as Default Feed Reader), you can use RCDefaultApp (aka the Default Apps system preference) to change the setting.
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I think RSS is something that the "general public" has never really caught on to and Apple have probably seen that in their collected usage stats. Certainly quite a few of my clients, on seeing the RSS section in Mail, asked me what it was and how they could get rid of it!
But I agree that for those watching for new information to hit the web RSS feeds are a good fit. (Which is how I saw this article posted!)
Some standalone readers (eg, Shrook) provide for synchronisation, but the problem then is whether a reader you like is available on all the devices you use.
And I see my fellow Hydrapinionist Adam has expressed concern over at the SMH about the way the big guns seem to be ganging up on standards such as RSS: