[OSGeo-Discuss] The OGC: clueless, uncaring, and still rocking to Prince.

Adrian Custer acuster at gmail.com
Sun May 12 22:46:54 PDT 2013


What a decent mail. Thanks.

All these topics sound good but each is worth its own detailed 
discussion. Some might be fascinating and they would then take a while 
and getting each started productively would be hard. Face to face, it 
might be different: quicker, easier to skip ahead, possible to find the 
interesting bits. Probably, I'd learn a lot. Unlike you, I doubt we 
disagree about that much on the technological side; more likely, we are 
considering different target audiences, with different restrictions, and 
have a different vision of the solution space.

But then, I would rather spend that time elsewhere, like on trying to 
address issues with an existing OGC standard. Also, it would be hard for 
me to figure out effective language in response to so many paragraphs 
starting with the first person pronoun and setting up confrontation 
rather than building room for exploration. So perhaps face-to-face 
someday, where it would be possible to see if we could discuss 
productively, but not now and by text. Thanks for the offer.

The personal offense is minor, not worth dwelling on.

Your vision of the OGC is still puzzling but really I don't care. The 
OGC will make lots of mistakes, write lots of crummy standards, and so 
on. If adopting ESRI's pet standard destroys the OGC and all open 
geospatial standards with it, then so be it; they were too fragile to 
begin with. But I think it won't. Whatever happens, the OGC will 
survive, open standards are still needed, and life will go on.

Ultimately, the OGC is just a bunch of people trying to get a good basis 
for agreement down on paper and then a bunch of organizations voting on 
whatever is produced. The people do their best; the organization vote 
their interests. That kind of setup lives or dies by the quality of the 
people in it. Thankfully there are some good people so there is some 
stuff of good quality in the mix.

So, to the crux of your vent, it actually turns out that many are aware 
of most of the issues you mention, and several are actually trying to 
address them. So before throwing out some solution and spewing about why 
the OGC hasn't adopted it already, it might be more productive to ask: 
'hey this problem seems kind obvious to me, have you all seen it and 
figured out how to tackle it?' Then, it might even turn out that there 
is work being done at the OGC, at a particular scale and pace due to the 
circumstances of that work. But the 'someone should do something the way 
I want it done already' doesn't really work in much of the world I have 

hoping our paths do cross someday,


On 5/12/13 10:45 PM, rburhum wrote:
> Dear Adrian,
> I recently saw a reply that you made to a blog post I wrote recently.
> Although the criticism were meant to be directed to the *OGC* as an
> *organization*, I can tell by your comments, descriptions and overall tone,
> that you felt *personally* attacked and offended. You have my sincere
> apologies if you felt that way. This was never meant to be a personal
> attack.
> I would be happy to elaborate, with far more detail, each single one of my
> comments/points. We can do this either publicly or in a private e-mail
> exchange (whatever you feel is best).
> Based on your responses though, I have to admit that we have fundamental
> disagreements in several aspects – and some serious ones at that.
> - I would be happy to discuss XML vs JSON vs MessagePack conversations and
> why the first of those is (lately) not adopted by any modern API. JSON is
> the real winnder nowadays (for good reasons). In terms of serialization
> frameworks, MessagePack has implementations in
> Ruby/Python/Perl/C/C++/Java/Scala/PHP/Lua/JavaScript/Node.js/Haskell/C#/Objective-C/Erlang/D/OCaml/Go/LabVIEW/SmallTalk/etc.
> I dare to say it is “somewhat” supported.
> - I would be happy to discuss why security is more than certificate exchange
> or username/password submission during requests.
> - I would be happy to discuss why complexity of specifications hinders
> adoption.  There are technical reasons why geojson and mbtiles are gaining
> traction without much effort and GML is not. (Much love to all my friends
> that were involved with GML – I apologize if this offends you).
> - I would be happy to discuss why I think SQL (SQL:1999, or SQL:2003, or
> SQL:2008 or SQL:2011) is a better choice for an API than a full fledged OGC
> query language that tries to abstract querying. As a side comment, you are
> correct at thinking that my reasoning here came from experience. Around 10
> years ago I was sitting at my ESRI office and a co-worker came into the
> office and asked me for help since he was in charge of implementing one of
> the OGC WFS version specs. The nicest thing that I can tell you is that “it
> was painful and unreasonable in many regards” and that it ended up requiring
> to hire an “OGC consultant” to try to implement the spec as close as
> possible (to *explain* – not to implement)
> - I would be happy to accept the fact that OGC does not have “reference
> implementations”. That is, of course, as soon as the OGC itself stops using
> that those terms. I think there was a misunderstanding with the reference
> implementation licensing comment. Let me just say that there is plenty of
> Open Source that is BSD or Apache licensed (for example, AFAIK, *everything*
> from the Apache Foundation http://projects.apache.org/indexes/alpha.html).
> But please, let’s leave licensing talks for the end.
> - I would be happy to explain the different between a stateful and a
> stateless architecture and why websockets are a paradigm shift for the web.
> If you want to implement the same concepts of a spec without “being tied to
> the web” or “web browsers” feel free to take “web” out of “websockets” and
> just use sockets. The same stateful vs stateless architecture argument
> remains.
> - I would be happy to explain why SPDY is not “another protocol” but one of
> the inspirations/guides for httpv2. We are still talking http here.
> - I would be happy to explain WebSQL even though it died. Why you may ask?
> Because there was only one implementation of the standard (sqlite) and the
> standards organization (W3C) refused to make it a standard without a
> competing implementation. I hope the irony of this situation doesn’t escape
> you.
> - I would be happy to explain why the OGC doesn’t have to fully re-invent
> the wheel when it comes down implementing a Spatial DVCS. The fact that it
> is “spatial” doesn’t mean it needs to be completely different. I would talk
> to the GeoCouch guys that have a perfectly good replication model that works
> or would also look at things like Git, Mercurial, PostgreSQL, MySQL or even
> the ESRI Versioning and replication system. Replication/versioning is a
> solved problem. We just don’t have a *standard* that defines how everyone
> should implement it. Ironically, I can point out a couple of OGC members
> that are experts in this field.
> - I would be happy to explain why perhaps, after all these years, it is time
> to stop ignoring temporal datasets and addressing some of the not so “low
> hanging fruit”.
> - I would thank you for calling me young! Although I am not sure I am
> confused all the time. Well, perhaps 70% of the time I am!
> In all honesty, I have to admit though, the original post was written as a
> quick reaction to another set of e-mails I received in regards to some OGC
> decisions as of late.
> The truth is that, until last week, I equated the OGC as a standards body
> that was meant to be equivalent to the W3C (except, of course, for GIS).
> Sadly, this also means that I would expect a similar behavior/quality of
> decisions from the OGC (maybe this is a mistake on my part?). If you look at
> the working groups for the W3C,  http://www.w3.org/Consortium/activities you
> will notice that the W3C is working on several standards for technologies
> that do *not* exist or have not been implemented uniformly across the
> various browsers (Device APIs, Web Events, Web Notifications, etc). Hence my
> argument of “working for the future”.
> The W3C doesn’t simply exist to ratify the format of a particular vendor as
> a standard so the vendor can slap a logo that says “[x] standard” and be
> able to check a box in some RFP (Request for Quote) somewhere. Now please,
> don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that is why the OGC exists (that was not
> the original intention), but among the GIS community there is a sentiment
> that a couple of the last standards that have come out from the OGC may have
> not been thought-through well enough.
> Let me get the elephant out of the room. I am explicitly talking about KML
> and GeoServices REST as OGC standards. Although some people may
> (voraciously) disagree with me, I cannot think of those as more than
> standards that are politically motivated.
> Why? Because I cannot see the merits, from a *standards* point of view.
> Do I think the Google API is well designed? Yes I do! It is AFAIK, the most
> widely used API in the world (stats from Google). Do I use it? I actually
> do. I love it.
> Yet the concept of having the OGC ratify Google’s Map API (or an OGC Bing
> API) seems ludicrous. Do you see any resemblance with a GeoServices REST API
> spec in this analogy?
> Again, don’t get me wrong. I work a lot with ESRI software (I used to build
> it) and with Google APIs (I use them all the time for consulting jobs). I
> love combining technologies from these two vendors with Open Source stacks.
> I always get amazing _practical_ results. Unlike many people in the OSGeo
> list, I love using the ESRI APIs because I know them well and I see the
> merits that they have in their particular use-cases.
> And yet I believe standardizing (or going through process of attempting to
> standardize in the case of GeoServices REST) is simply a credibility
> harakiri. That is committed a second time.
> I would love to hear the arguments that support KML and GeoServices REST as
> OGC standards.
> To me, it is simpler.
> Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
> http://xkcd.com/386/
> Again, this is meant to be taken as a criticism of the OGC – and not you
> personally (although the message was obviously directed to you).
> With Best Wishes,
> - Ragi
> --
> View this message in context: http://osgeo-org.1560.x6.nabble.com/The-OGC-clueless-uncaring-and-still-rocking-to-Prince-tp5052757p5052787.html
> Sent from the OSGeo Discuss mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

More information about the Discuss mailing list