[OSGeo-Standards] Re: [Board] Open Source and Open StandardsWhite Paper

Carl Reed creed at opengeospatial.org
Thu Apr 14 21:26:17 EDT 2011

Thanks for the comments, Cameron. Much appreciated.

Also, I understand that a new license type is developing for use with Open 
Data. Hurricane Coast discussed this during the GITA meetings this week.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Cameron Shorter" <cameron.shorter at gmail.com>
To: "Seven (aka Arnulf)" <seven at arnulf.us>
Cc: "OSGeo Discussions" <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>; 
<standards at lists.osgeo.org>; "OSGeo Board" <board at lists.osgeo.org>; "Lance 
McKee" <lmckee at opengeospatial.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 6:29 PM
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Standards] Re: [Board] Open Source and Open 
StandardsWhite Paper

> Arnulf,
> Sorry for the delayed review, and rather messy use of email in applying my 
> review comments:
> ====
> I assume that the target audience for this white paper is:
> * People who don't understand the difference between "Standards" and "Open 
> Standards"
> * People who don't understand the difference between "Proprietary 
> Software", "Freeware", "Open Source"
> * People who may understand the terms "Open Source" and "Open Standards" 
> but don't appreciate the strengths (and weaknesses) of these models over 
> the alternatives.
> As a general comment, I feel that much of this paper uses terms which are 
> only understood by seasoned developers who already understand what Open 
> Source and Open Standards are, and as such I feel that the paper is 
> "preaching to the converted". For instance, there are concepts which are 
> introduced, like the Open Sourced development practices, which are left 
> hanging without an explanation. A reader not familiar with Open Source 
> will be left wondering "so why should I care about these practices". I 
> suggest that if these concepts are introduced they need to be expanded 
> upon and describe why they are important.
> ====
> Further are some more specific comments:
> * 1st Introduction paragraph:
> This should be concise, and describe what the white paper is about. It is 
> not the place to reference source material. It needs to include a sentence 
> or two describing what the OGC and OSGeo organisations are.
> Of note: I have been at many geospatial trade shows and almost always talk 
> to a few people who don't know what the OGC is, or what OSGeo is.
> * Under "Open Standards":
> ** I feel the first few paragraphs should define what an Open Standard is 
> in the first paragraph before expanding.
> ** I feel that the section "OGC's position regarding Open Source Software" 
> does a better job of describing importance of standards than this section.
> ** The list of criteria for a standard is good. I'd like to see each one 
> of these points expanded on, and provide a description of why that 
> criteria is important. In particular, I suggest that a counter example 
> will usually benefit the description. Eg: Explain the limitations with a 
> company publishing an API then calling it a standard?
> ** After reading this section, someone should understand why it is 
> important to use Open Standards. I'd expect to see discussion of 
> Inter-Operability, Reduced cost of data processing, Reduced long term 
> maintenance cost, reduced risk due to obsolescence of products, reduced 
> risk of vendor lock in.
> ** I've recently been refuting claims (at a National Government Policy 
> level) that the ESRI REST API is an Open Standard because REST is an open 
> standard. While I don't suggest picking on this as an example, it would be 
> valuable if the reader can understand the difference between extensions to 
> a base standard, and an overlying API.
> * In "Proprietary Software", I suggest that you don't pull out "java" as a 
> specific example. It is too "down in the the weeds" for this type of high 
> level document, and will likely confuse rather than help readers. If the 
> java issues are to be explained, then much more detail should be included 
> about the specific java case, and I don't think that is appropriate here.
> * In "Open Data", I think this section requires a stronger statement about 
> what Open Data is. We should state what we believe "Open Data" to mean. 
> The Creative Commons licence should be mentioned, and note how it is 
> applicable to documents with just a few authors. We should note how Open 
> Street Map is moving away from Creative Commons due to the practical 
> limitations associated with crediting thousands or millions of authors, as 
> is often the case with geospatial data sets.
> * In "Similarities and differences":
> ** terms such as “benevolent dictator” and “rough consensus” should be 
> explained if they are to be used.
> ** IPR accronym should be expanded.
> ** I feel the discussion of the OGC "Reference Architecture" is 
> wishy-washy. We have some very clear guidelines about what is Open Source 
> and what is not (as explained above). Either say that the Reference 
> Architecture is Open Source, or don't mention it.
> * OSGeo's position regarding Open Standards:
> ** Re: "... ideally simply [standards] because they are good." "good" 
> needs to be expanded if this statement is to be made. Why are simple 
> standards good? I think this statement should be dropped, or else it needs 
> a paragraph or two discussing the pros of a comprehensive standard vs the 
> pros of a simple standard. I think the answer to this question is more 
> than "simple is the best version of a standard in all cases". I think it 
> would be closer to "it is preferable that all standards, even complex 
> standards, include a simple mandatory core version of the standard which 
> is easy to implement which leads to widespread adoption of the standard."
> * Memorandum of Understanding:
> ** I assume the 6 OGC memberships are for "OSGeo members"? If so, this 
> should be mentioned.
> * Please be consistent with capitalisation: Either ("open source" and 
> "open standards") or ("Open Source" and "Open Standards").
> On 15/04/2011 4:55 AM, Seven (aka Arnulf) wrote:
>> Folks,
>> please be so kind and give this paper a moment of your attention:
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Talk:Open_Source_and_Open_Standards
>> There is still a lot of confusion in people as to what an Open Standard 
>> is and what Open Source is. Even within the educated community of OSGeo 
>> there are very different positions wrt to standards and what an Open 
>> Standards should be. It ranges from "standards suck and prevent 
>> innovation" to "standards are the only way out of the misery of the data 
>> silos".
>> The same is true to what the educated part of the OGC community thinks 
>> about Open Source ranging from... well you know. No need to repeat here.
>> Therefore OGC and OSGeo are interested to find a common position on Open 
>> standards and Open Source and if we don't disagree too badly this will 
>> become a joint white paper. Please give it a pass and comment if you 
>> think something is seriously wrong.
>> On 04/13/2011 09:42 PM, Markus Neteler wrote:
>>> On Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM, Seven (aka Arnulf)<seven at arnulf.us> 
>>> wrote:
>>>> Folks,
>>>> as discussed on IRC we have further developed the article on Open 
>>>> Source and
>>>> Open Standards:
>>>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Talk:Open_Source_and_Open_Standards
>>>> It would be great if you could give it a pass
>>> I have done a few edits (see history).
>>> Markus
>> Thanks Markus,
>> anyone else from the board with comments? The page had 100 views in the 
>> past two days and if no one else follows up with comments I consider this 
>> to be generally accepted.
>> Best regards,
>> Arnulf.
>> PS:
>> I am sure that as soon as we publish it the usual die hards will start to 
>> scream at the top of their lungs :-) but we can probably not do much more 
>> than we did, can we?
> -- 
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Solutions Manager
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
> http://www.lisasoft.com
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> Board at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board

More information about the Standards mailing list