Really Simple Syndication
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a flavor of XML used for easy syndication of content.
To get started, you will need a news aggregator. There are many free ones available for download such as Feedreader for Windows, NewsMac for Macintosh OS X, or a web-based program such as Bloglines. RSS functionality also comes built-in with products such as Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. Additional aggregators are also available.
Then, copy and paste the URL of any feed into the aggregator's "subscribe" dialogue.
The first version of RSS, known then as RDF Site Summary, was created in 1999 by Dan Libby of Netscape. Eventually taking the name RSS 0.9, it initially evolved, but was then abandoned by Netscape just as its popularity began to surge.
The essentially homeless format was picked up by a number of proponents, and underwent several, often competitive iterations. In November 2002, the New York Times began offering content via Dave Winer's RSS 2.0 (Really Simple Syndication) specification. The two major branches of the RSS format (RDF and RSS 2.*) have since become the de facto standard for XML syndicated content.
Recently, both Microsoft (Internet Explorer) and Opera announced the adoption of the feed icon originally introduced by the Mozilla Firefox browser. This, for all practical purposes, makes the "orange square with white radio waves" (seen above) the industry standard for RSS and related feeds.