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

Seven (aka Arnulf) seven at arnulf.us
Thu Jun 6 06:45:23 PDT 2013

Hash: SHA1

well said. I agree with all you say and I would have signed the letter
- - if I had thought it necessary to stop the REST API from happening.

One more thing to add: We always think that "the OGC" does this or
that. Just like people tend to think that OSGeo has a leading voice
but can anybody tell me how an umbrella can talk? The OCG and OSGeo
likewise are collectives of sorts and as we are all habituated to
democrazy-ness we tend to perceive organizations as dual, black and
white, one opinion and one reason responsible for everything.

Coming back to the latest OGC events I ask: Can an organization like
the OGC take a political decision at all? If technically things are
doable (N.b. I do not think that the esri REST API is a technical
master piece, but it is doable), then what are the reasons to not make
it a standard? If at all it can only be stopped by a majority of
members. And even they have a hard time except arguing that there is a
lack of competing implementations (like Adrian mentioned).

Hence - if you want to get things done (or specifically not done),
then there is a hard road with lots of work to be gone within the OGC.
Opened up to five active OSGeo hackers for free. If anybody is
interested, here is the background:


On 06.06.2013 09:38, pcreso at pcreso.com wrote:
> + 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! -Peter
> -- Dr. Peter Baumann - Professor of Computer Science, Jacobs
> University Bremen http://www.faculty.jacobs-university.de/pbaumann 
> mail: p.baumann at jacobs-university.de 
> </mc/compose?to=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 </mc/compose?to=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 
> </mc/compose?to=standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org> 
> [standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org 
> </mc/compose?to=standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org>] on behalf of 
> Seven (aka Arnulf) [seven at arnulf.us
> </mc/compose?to=seven at arnulf.us>] Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013
> 3:56 PM To: OSGeo Discussions; standards at lists.osgeo.org 
> </mc/compose?to=standards at lists.osgeo.org> Subject: Re:
> [OSGeo-Standards] [OSGeo-Discuss] "Geoservices REST API" story is
> being discussed on slashdot
> Folks, 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: 
> http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/standards/2012-July/000456.html 
> (thanks to Bart) We were reminded several times, for example in
> July 2012 by Volker: 
> http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/standards/2012-July/000456.html 
> ...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, Arnulf
> 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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