Thursday 28 February 2013

Should OGC re-prioritise Quality over Quantity?

There is a constant tension in development between doing less, but doing it well, verses doing more with less attention to detail.
Recently members of the Open Source community have raised concerns about the quality of OGC standards, which leads to reduced uptake and effectiveness of these standards. This should be of concern to sponsors of OGC initiatives, and I'd suggest that the OGC, and OGC initiative sponsors should assess funding priorities, and place a greater emphasis on quality over quantity.
Here is a sample of a few recent comments:
  • Daniel Morissette, board member of OSGeo, blogged: Don't upgrade to WMS 1.3.0 unless you have to, stick to 1.1.1.
  • Chris Holmes, a prominent OSGeo thought leader, recently said: "we've found that in recent years there are even more 'ideas' added to the specifications that have no true production ready working code against them. Past the surface accessibility this is the thing that has become clear to us as implementors - there is less quality control at the core of the standards process."
  • Chris quotes Justin Deoliveria, an experienced implementer of OGC standards as saying "... the geopackage spec makes me want to run for the hills".
In the last OGC OWS-9 testbed, LISAsoft was engaged as part of the CITE compliance program to test the WMS 1.3 client reference implementation. We are strong supporters of testing, but the scope of LISAsoft's recommended testing was substantially trimmed due to lack of budget. Consequently, the level of testing sponsored fell well short of what should be covered by a standards organisation. By acknowledging that testbeds like OWS-9 are vehicles for rapid prototyping, full compliance testing should probably be advanced into another forum.
Here is an exert of what we summarised in our wrap up Engineering Report:
The WMS 1.3 Client testing provided in this testbed is an excellent step forward, and is useful for checking integration between a specific WMS client and specific WMS server, however, the WMS 1.3 client testing falls short of providing comprehensive tests confirming that a client conforms with all WMS servers, under all conditions. As such, LISAsoft considers it inappropriate for the OGC to consider a WMS client to be certified as compliant based upon the level of testing sponsored to date.
For instance:

  • Boundary testing was not sponsored: Can the client send a query which crosses maximum latitude or longitude lines? ... 
  • Exception testing was not sponsored: Would the client perform suitably if the server provided a valid exception as a response? ...
  • Sponsorship only covered testing of integration with one WMS service (which only supported a subset of the WMS spec). Testing the rest of the client's WMS support wasn't sponsored. ...
The recommendations from our report explain steps to bring OGC compliance testing in line with  best practices. However, they could be summarised by recognising that:
  1. Quality of OGC standards is strategically important in reaching OGC goals.
  2. Greater focus on testing is required if OGC wish to reach this level of quality.
  3. Sponsors of OGC initiatives should adjust funding priorities to put a greater emphasis on quality over quantity.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

OSGeo-Live 6.5 released

Version 6.5 of the OSGeo-Live GIS software collection has been released, ready for distribution at a large number of geospatial conferences and workshops from around the world.

Release Highlights

Geospatial applications on the disc have been updated to their latest stable releases.
Increased quality
With each release, the quality of OSGeo-Live is steadily increasing. This release has seen a concerted review of OSGeo-Live quickstarts, ensuring the every step of quickstarts have been tested, and increasing consistency and readability of the quickstart documentation.
OSGeo-Live is now translated into Russian. Translations are available for: Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian (new), Spanish

About OSGeo-Live

OSGeo-Live is a self-contained bootable DVD, USB flash drive and Virtual Machine based upon Ubuntu Linux that is pre-configured with a wide variety of robust open source geospatial software. The applications can be trialled without installing anything on your computer, simply by booting the computer from a DVD or USB drive, or running in a Virtual Machine environment. An accompanying collection of lightning presentations introduces the breadth and depth of Free and Open Source for Geospatial (FOSS4G).
OSGeo-Live includes:
  • Fifty (50) Quality Geospatial Open Source applications installed and pre-configured
  • Over a gigabyte of free world maps and geodata
  • One page overview and quick-start guides for every application
  • Overviews of key OGC standards
  • Translations for multiple languages


Over 140 people have directly helped with OSGeo-Live packaging, documenting and translating, and thousands have been involved in building the packaged software.
Packagers, documenters and translators include:
Activity Workshop, Agustín Dí­ez, Aikaterini Kapsampeli, Alan Boudreault, Alessandro Furieri, Alexander Bruy, Alexander Kleshnin, Alexander Muriy, Alexandre Dube, Alexey Ardyakov, Alex Mandel, Amy Gao, Andrea Antonello, Andrea Yanza, Andrey Syrokomskiy, Angelos Tzotsos, Anna Muñoz, Anne Ghisla, Antonio Falciano, Anton Novichikhin, Anton Patrushev, Argyros Argyridis, Assumpcio Termens, Astrid Emde, Barry Rowlingson, Benjamin Pross, Brian Hamlin, Bruno Binet, Cameron Shorter, Christophe Tufféry, Christos Iossifidis, Cristhian Pin, Damian Wojsław, Dane Springmeyer, Daniel Kastl, Daria Svidzinska, David Mateos, Denis Rykov, Diego González, Dimitar Misev, Dmitry Baryshnikov, Dominik Helle, Edgar Soldin, Eike Hinderk Jrrens, Elena Mezzini, Eric Lemoine, Estela Llorente, Etienne Delay, Etienne Dube, Evgeny Nikulin, Fran Boon, François Prunayre, Frank Gasdorf, Frank Warmerdam, Gavin Treadgold, Giuseppe Calamita, Grald Fenoy, Grigory Rozhentsov, Hamish Bowman, Haruyuki Seki, Henry Addo, Hernan Olivera, Howard Butler, Hyeyeong Choe, Ian Turton, Ilya Filippov, Jackie Ng, Jan Drewnak, Javier Sánchez, Jesús Gómez, Jim Klassen, Jing Wang, Jinsongdi Yu, Jody Garnett, Johan Van de Wauw, Jorge Arévalo, Jorge Sanz, José Antonio Canalejo, Judit Mays, Klokan Petr Pridal, Kristof Lange, kuzkok, Lance McKee, Lars Lingner, Luca Delucchi, Lucía Sanjaime, Mage Whopper, Manuel Grizonnet, Marc-André Barbeau, Marco Curreli, Marco Puppin, Marc Torres, Margherita Di Leo, Maria Vakalopoulou, Mario Andino, Mark Leslie, Massimo Di Stefano, Mauricio Miranda, Mauricio Pazos, Maxim Dubinin, Michaël Michaud, Michael Owonibi, Micha Silver, Mike Adair, Milena Nowotarska, Nacho Varela, Nadiia Gorash, Nathaniel V. Kelso, Ned Horning, Nobusuke Iwasaki, Oliver Tonnhofer, Oscar Fonts, Òscar Fonts, Otto Dassau, Pasquale Di Donato, Paul Meems, Pavel, Pedro-Juan Ferrer, Pirmin Kalberer, Raf Roset, Ricardo Pinho, Roald de Wit, Roberto Antolín, Roger Veciana, Ruth Schoenbuchner, Samuel Mesa, Sergey Grachev, Sergio Baños, Simon Cropper, Simon Pigot, Stefan A. Tzeggai, Stefan Hansen, Stefan Steiniger, Stephan Meissl, Steve Lime, Thierry Badard, Thomas Baschetti, Thomas Gratier, Tom Kralidis, Toshikazu Seto, Trevor Wekel, Valenty González, Vera, Xianfeng Song, Yoichi Kayama, Zhengfan Lin.

Sponsoring organisations

  • The Open Source Geospatial Foundation OSGeo provides the primary development & hosting infrastructure and personnel for the OSGeo-Live project, and infrastructure for many of the software projects themselves.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Happy 7th Birthday OSGeo

Image Source
As reported by Jeff McKenna, The OSGeo Foundation has turned 7. And if you wish to understand why OSGeo software innovates so quickly, it is worth looking at these OSGeo statistics which hint at the size of the OSGeo community:

  • 195 mailing lists
  • unique mailing list subscribers: 19,160
  • 30,487 unique visitors for month of January 2013
  • 2720 pages, 12550 users, 17 million views to date
  • 1,350,000 google hits for "osgeo"