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

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Jun 6 13:26:56 PDT 2013

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:

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 
>> Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)
>> Comment: Using GnuPG with undefined - http://www.enigmail.net/
>> 7usAn14J539dsimRgjiPqqyxrv6IRXTw
>> =+IML
>> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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

More information about the Standards mailing list