[OSGeo-Discuss] make software; Let the OGC do the standards side of it

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Wed Jul 18 10:38:35 PDT 2007

Jody Garnett wrote:
> I am rather tempted by this topic - I would love to join a committee on 
> this topic if it is created.
> However I don't think it should be created -
> We should stick with our mandate; making great open source software; if 
> you want to join the standards police there are a couple of options. 


I am somewhat of your opinion.  I think it would generally be better for
those interested in OGC and other standards to try to get directly
involved with OGC if possible.  A variety of companies with developers
working on our projects are already members.  And there is the $400
membership option for some.

There has been some investigation of how OSGeo might liason with OGC
with the goal of getting some project developers treated as OGC
members for the purposes of document access, and contributing to
working groups.  But that has ultimately not been very fruitful.  It
seems if OSGeo joins OGC the only person the membership would apply
to is Tyler since he is the only OSGeo employee.  So that is lame.

We could try for a memorandum of understanding with OGC somewhat
similar to what they have with ISO *but* that is generally applied
between standards organizations and we are not a standards organization.
So I doubt it would be successful.

I think an OSGeo standards committee could be useful for:

  o Reviewing standards compliance of OSGeo software packages, with an
    eye towards encouraging more complete and appropriate implementation.

  o A place for open source developers to share expertise - though there
    are already wms-dev and wcs-dev mailing lists hosted at eogeo that
    are appropriate for those specifications.

  o A place where open source developers with opinions on specification
    could provide feedback to open source developers involved in OGC.  For
    instance, I'm on the WCS Revision Working Group.  I might announce this
    on the list, seeking feedback and suggestions on WCS 1.2 work.

  o Occasionally there might be particular positions that OSGeo would like
    to take on particular standards.  This could be a place to develop
    such positions, and pass them through OGC members.  I can't actually
    think of too many cases where this would apply though.

So, I'd say as a base level this could just be a mailing list, open to
interested participants.  If we are going to have it formed as a proper
committee (which has at least some overhead) then it should be because
we want it to do "real work" with regard reviewing, documenting and
encouraging standards implementation in our software.  Essentially working
on the OSGeo "standards story".  Also, possibly, if we really think we
need to take an official OSGeo position on some things, though practically
a consensus from the mailing list could be taken to the board for
approval without having a committee.

What I don't want to do is have OSGeo take on more than a passive role
in standards development.  So stuff like the WMS-Tiling spec (TMS?)
occured amoung various OSGeo folks but it wasn't really an official OSGeo
activity.  I certainly am not keen on developing a lot of "OSGeo standards"
beyond simple practical stuff we want for interoperability between our

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGeo, http://osgeo.org

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