The NeoSmart Files

An ode to FeedDemon.. and desktop software that never dies

I first discovered FeedDemon in the summer of 2004, probably via a promo or plugin in author Nick Bradbury’s other application, HomeSite, while “learning” HTML after ditching FrontPage. Today, almost 12 years later to the day, I googled for “best RSS reader for Windows” while trying to write an RSS-based interface for an RRTP integration for Nest and FeedDemon was still the first result.

FeedDemon “died” in March 2013, after Google killed off its own web-based RSS reader. While RSS isn’t quite dead yet, it’s not exactly as cool as it used to be and the RSS client scene hasn’t seen much activity in that time. (Another standout from the same era is RSSOwl, also still available.)

Something the world seems to have forgotten – or more likely, hasn’t come around to appreciate just yet, is that unlike web-based software, desktop software generally doesn’t “die.” It can languish neglected, without updates or maintenance forevermore – but it’s never truly dead so long as there is even a single person out there that still uses it.

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.” 1

– H.P. Lovecraft

It’s much the same with (true) desktop software (those not crippled by dependencies on web services or even activation servers) – source code optional. To think that a product officially discontinued in 2013 still remains the best option for browsing RSS feeds on the desktop, that games made for MS-DOS are still enjoyed every day in virtual machines and emulators, and that a web service that existed last week is gone forever..

  1. Younger fans, please feel free to  substitute the words of Albus Dumbledore instead: “You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me.” ↩︎