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

Stephen Woodbridge woodbri at swoodbridge.com
Thu Jun 6 13:53:56 PDT 2013

There is nothing wrong with competing standards, they exist all over the 
place and for different reasons. Some of those reasons are technical but 
others I feel cross the political line by couching it in technical terms.

VHS and Beta come to mind, BlueRay Vs standard DVD.

Both Beta and BlueRay were technically better in many ways, they were 
also a power play to get a lock on the industry and would require 
licensing fees to a single vendor.

These confused the market place and delayed the ultimate adoption of the 
more open standard.

I'm not an expert on this so feel free to disagree, but my point here is 
that there are a lot of things the can be done technically and might 
even be better technically, but if the primary benefit is not to the 
overall community then this has to also be weighed in the discussion.

So unfortunately, while I would like to decide what is best based on its 
technical merits, I also feel we have to consider all the aspects of a 
potential standard and include who does it benefit, how much damage does 
it do to the market place, is the potential damage worth while because 
of significant down stream benefits, etc.


On 6/6/2013 4:26 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Arnulf,
> There were technical reasons for objecting to the GeoServices REST API,
> based upon its quality - which could have been fixed. However my primary
> objection, which was much harder to fix, was that Geoservices REST API
> did not address the true definition of a standard because it was
> directly competing with existing, established standards. I've quoted
> government purchasing guidelines from around the world in order to
> explain this statement here:
> http://www.lisasoft.com/blog/will-ogc%E2%80%99s-standards-meet-government-purchasing-guidelines
> On 07/06/13 05:33, Daniel Morissette wrote:
>> Arnulf, and all,
>> I am also of the opinion that ESRI's decision was probably not solely
>> driven by the OSGeo letter and that some journalists got a bit carried
>> away in their "open source wins over proprietary" interpretation.
>> However I also believe that the OSGeo letter added some weight in the
>> balance.
>> And BTW I did sign the letter for what I think are good technical
>> reasons that I expressed on this list a month ago and unrelated to the
>> open source vs proprietary divide. At least in my mind this was not a
>> political move, purely technical, even if maybe for some people it was
>> political.
>> FWIW I invite you to re-read my reasoning expressed here a month ago:
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2013-May/011618.html
>> """
>> What the geospatial community needs is an organization that provides
>> direction around a consistent set of standards that guarantee
>> interoperability between interchangeable software components.
>> The suite of WxS services built over the last 10-15 years is somewhat on
>> the way of achieving this, even if some pieces still do not interoperate
>> as smoothly as we wish. Is OGC trying to tell the world that it no
>> longer believes in WxS?
>> OGC and its members need to decide whether they want the OGC logo to be
>> perceived as the "guarantee of interoperability", or just as a
>> rubber-stamping organization with a large portfolio of inconsistent
>> standards.
>> Whether your source is open or closed is out of the question here, so I
>> am not sure that a statement from OSGeo matters unless it is to point at
>> this obvious slippery slope in which OGC is falling (a movement which
>> started with KML a few years ago).
>> """
>> Oh, and you're right when you say that we should not talk of "the OGC"
>> using the 3rd person (which is what I did above), and that we should
>> instead ask ourselves what we can do to help. However my plate is too
>> full already and I'll have to pass on this one and hope that others
>> with more time available can help (out of the 100+ people who signed
>> the letter and obviously care about standards).
>> Cheers all
>> Daniel
>> On 13-06-06 9:45 AM, Seven (aka Arnulf) wrote:
>>> Hash: SHA1
>>> Brent,
>>> 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:
>>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/OGC_Membership
>>> Cheers,
>>> Arnulf
>>> 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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