[OSGeo-Standards] [RESTful-Policy.SWG] Encodings and REST

Michael P. Gerlek mpg at flaxen.com
Sun Oct 21 14:16:06 PDT 2012

Even wrote:

> Finally, I second Volker on the lack of transparency of the process. It is good that
> OGC standards are open when they are finished, but it would be much better if their
> elaboration was truly open. Otherwise there is always the uneasy feeling that money
> and market considerations take over technical merit. 

The OGC operates as a membership-based organization, in which interested parties pay yearly dues to participate in the standards-making process. The dues pay for, among other things, the overhead in involved in that process. If you don't pay the dues, you don't get to participate. If they allowed people to participate without paying dues, then no one would pay dues and the organization would collapse. That OGC's business model, and it is the business model of some other standards groups as well.

This means there is certainly the opportunity for bias and influence in the standards process. If Acme Corp employee Smith happens to be a particularly strong representative on the Frobnitz working group, and if Acme can afford to pay Smith to spend a lot of time on the Frobnitz work and travel to attend all the meetings, then certainly the resulting standard might be tilted in favor of Acme's interests. It is the professional responsibility of standards committee members to try and set aside any explicit bias in favor of technical merits - but that is, admittedly, a hard line to walk to sometimes.

Arguing that OGC should be "more transparent" seems like a nonstarter to me: their entire business model is based on dues-based, closed development process. Rightly or wrongly, that's just how the OGC works.


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