[OSGeo-Discuss] [OSGeo-Standards] "Geoservices REST API" story is being discussed on slashdot

pcreso at pcreso.com pcreso at pcreso.com
Thu Jun 6 00:38:05 PDT 2013

+ 1/2 

I agree with much of Arnulf's commentary, and as an OSGEO member who did sign the letter, my reasons were not primarily philosophical or technical, but political. Heavy sigh :-)

For some years I have been working towards data sharing & interoperability between a wide range of national & international environmental agencies. "OGC compliant" has become a catchword representing the progress we have made, mostly using WMS, WFS, CSW & SOS. From my perspective, introducing a standard that enabled "OGC compliance" but failed to provide the interoperability was a retrogade step - irrespective of technical merits. I admit this is only one perspective & others may feel differently but it was my primary motivation.

I have no doubt that giving the FOSS GIS community open access to ESRI protocols would indeed give the FOSS community a situation they would successfully take advantage of, but I believe there is a better way forward, & hopefully we are heading there.

I don't know how much the "open source" input had to do with ESRI withdrawing. I don't really care why ESRI does what it does, I do care about what my community does, & I'm very pleased with the result. 

I think one longer term outcome will be a better RESTful API, that is perhaps largely ESRI compatible, but addresses some of the technical issues that have been mentioned. 

I believe that both OSGEO & OGC have represented the majority of their stakeholders well, and have made considered decisions that lead forward. Robust (rather than acrimonious or self righteous) debate is the best way for communities to determine the best way forward, & I'd say the vast majority of the commentary I've followed has been robust & rational, which is very positive.

>From a cynical perspective, for what is basically a group of committees, the issue & outcome have been remarkably open, widely discussed by well informed experts, & have resulted in what I think is a sensible decision. 

What more can be asked of a committee?  

Congratulations to all those who participated!!

  Brent Wood

--- On Thu, 6/6/13, Baumann, Peter <p.baumann at jacobs-university.de> wrote:

From: Baumann, Peter <p.baumann at jacobs-university.de>
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] [OSGeo-Standards] "Geoservices REST API" story is being discussed on slashdot
To: "Seven (aka Arnulf)" <seven at arnulf.us>, "OSGeo Discussions" <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>, "standards at lists.osgeo.org" <standards at lists.osgeo.org>
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 2:32 AM

+1, a very balanced viewpoint indeed!

Dr. Peter Baumann
- Professor of Computer Science, Jacobs University Bremen
  mail: p.baumann at jacobs-university.de
  tel: +49-421-200-3178, fax: +49-421-200-493178
- Executive Director, rasdaman GmbH Bremen (HRB 26793)
  http://www.rasdaman.com, mail:baumann at rasdaman.com
  tel: 0800-rasdaman, fax: 0800-rasdafax, mobile: +49-173-5837882
"Si forte in alienas manus oberraverit hec peregrina epistola incertis ventis dimissa, sed Deo commendata, precamur ut ei reddatur cui soli destinata, nec preripiat quisquam non sibi parata." (mail disclaimer, AD 1083)

From: standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] on behalf of Seven (aka Arnulf) [seven at arnulf.us]
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 3:56 PM
To: OSGeo Discussions; standards at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Standards] [OSGeo-Discuss] "Geoservices REST API" story is being discussed on slashdot

Hash: SHA1

lets not get carried away. The decision esri took depended on many
factors and I have a hard time mapping it directly and exclusively to
the engagement of open sauce (fudzilla original) developers.

Don't get me wrong, I think the initiative by OSGeo showed that we are
functioning nicely and that we have our act together (I say we
although I did not sign the submitted paper). But to say that esri
took the decision to withdraw the standard proposal because of Open
Source is simply not justified.

There was a long debate and discussions and even some dialog on all
levels inside and outside of the OGC by many members and externals for
two years! It was a good discussion and everybody involved learned a
lot. The OGC showed its willingness to change and open their processes
to better fit the way things evolve these days. This is ongoing.

Yes, there was also input from OSGeo but in my opinion pretty late in
the game. We (at least on this list) have known of this effort by esri
since June 2011 two years ago:
(thanks to Bart)
We were reminded several times, for example in July 2012 by Volker:
...plus there were several posts from the OGC in their regular
channels for those who care.

Has the standard been removed for technical reasons? I think not. It
was because of a backlash of the broader geospatial developer (or
rather business?) community (Nota Bene: not only us Open Source
heroes). And the reasons were fear of the market leader taking over.
Taking over what exactly?

I am still not convinced that the result of this standard would have
been detrimental to Open Source. How that? There is a good chance that
it would have opened up all current esri clients for Open Source code
because the proposed standard goes right into the underwear of esri's
ArcGIS. Having the specification in the OGC would have guaranteed that
it would not be dropped or changed in a proprietary whim. Every single
esri client would have had the chance to get some Open Source pieces
into their game, be it on the client or the server side. Then learn
that it is more stable, evolves quicker and can replace the other esri
stuff over time. Simple as that.

Chance passed, but no problem, we'll get another one.

For those unsure whether I turned bad: Nope, I didn't. I still don't
get paid by esri and I still know (not believe) that Open Source is
the better way forward and it is all happening already anyway. But
when it comes to politics and strategy we must acknowledge that things
are not black and white but come in all colors (no, not shades of gray

Have fun,

On 04.06.2013 22:41, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> The "Geoservices REST API" story has been picked up by ITNews,
> Slashdot, and Fudzilla, and is being discussed by their communities
> in the comments.
> http://www.itnews.com.au/News/345493,open-source-crusade-blocks-geospatial-standard.aspx/0
> http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/06/03/2229245/gis-community-blocks-esris-geospatial-open-standard-rest-api
> http://fudzilla.com/home/item/31581-open-sources-revolt-against-standard
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