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LocationTech/FAQ

This page captures frequently asked questions related to the Location Working Group at Eclipse.

Q: What is the Location Working Group?

A: The group is a partnership between organizations (and individuals) that have a strong interest in Location technology.

Q: What is Location technology?

A: The group intends this definition to be broad. 4 main focus areas are key at the time of writing this:

  1. Desktop, Mobile, and Web mapping
  2. Data capture, exchange, and processing. esp. for very large data sets and real-time demands
  3. Aggregating and relating data from diverse sources
  4. Model based design

Q: What does the group do exactly?

A: The group collaborates to:

  1. Produce re-usable software components,
  2. Foster exchanges between organizations such as industrial partners, academia, community, and consumers
  3. Ensure a sustainable commercial ecosystem exists around the software components
  4. Organize events, and jointly market and promote the group, and software

Q: Will it be called "Eclipse" or "Location Working Group" or "Location Industry Working Group"

A: While it will use Eclipse Foundation staff and infrastructure, it will not be called Eclipse or use the Eclipse namespace. We'll select a good name. Then we'll create an outstanding logo and work on developing a brand people recognize and trust.

Q: Is this just Java code?

A: No, the group is equally supportive to all languages. There are projects expected in: Python, Ruby, C/C++, JavaScript, and others in addition to Java.

Q: Is there requirement to pull in/use Eclipse components?

A: No. In fact, many of the early projects involved here will be stand alone libraries.

Q: Will _________ be involved with the Location working group?

e.g. OpenStreetMap, OGC, CompanyX, etc.

A: Some already are. There are 24 organizations involved as of writing this. Many the most influential companies in the industry. This will likely grow quickly as a dozen more firms are inquiring currently. All are invited. Once the group launches formally, a list of members will be publicly available.

The group's governance allows the Steering Committee to invite influential non-profit organizations to participate without dues.

The group intends to have a symbiotic relationship with OSGeo. OSGeo has been asked to participate and will respond. A good write up of the discussion is available here.

Q: Why would a project want to host here?

A: There's a number of potential reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. Stability & growth. Eclipse has a wide and growing member & project base.
  2. Potentially more contributors & users. Nothing guarantees this of course, but the governance model, IP policy, license, marketing, and membership base do help.
  3. Infrastructure. The infrastructure at Eclipse (git, gerrit, hudson, bugzilla, asterisk, mediawiki, etc.) is maintained by a professional and responsive staff.
  4. Business development. Eclipse is one of the most business-friendly open source communities and has multiple full time staff members dedicated to business development.
  5. Community. It is easy to forget that Eclipse has a massive user base involving countless millions of users around the globe. Chances are your project has something interesting for some of these people.
  6. Re-use. Enterprise. Eclipse is ubiquitous and particularly in Enterprises. The trust of Eclipse processes, licensing, IP policies, and so forth should help grow the base for Location technologies.
  7. Strategic investment. Organizations will spend marketing dollars to reach an audience. This is good but may fluctuate. It is a whole different level of investment when an organization depends upon open source components to deliver its products and services. This is core to how the organization does business.

Q: Will this group sponsor my project, event, research, book, trip, etc.?

A: The group will decide on opportunities of value to them. The Steering Committee for the group decides on funding based on available budget.

Q: Someone told me Eclipse was very "commercial" - I'm not sure what this means.

A: Matt Asay wrote: What makes a good open source foundation? that explains nicely. The article is a few years old but frankly is still spot-on.

Q: What is the difference between Eclipse and OSGeo for example?

A: Eclipse is different from OSGeo in a few significant ways. Most prominently OSGeo is an organization specifically dedicated to geospatial software but also including data and education. The Eclipse Foundation is focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks. Recently a working group on location has been started.

  1. The Eclipse Foundation provides five services to the Eclipse community. Full-time staff are associated with each of these areas. OSGeo provides the same services but on a volunteer basis. Additionally OSGeo also engages in many other areas besides IT.
    1. IT Infrastructure
    2. IP Management
    3. Development Process
    4. Ecosystem/Business Development
    5. Conference planning
  2. Eclipse has a business model funded by membership dues that supports a professional staff of 15. OSGeo is exclusively volunteer driven, open to anyone and followes a do-ocratic approach.
  3. Eclipse has a long history of producing a simultaneous release of technology each year on time... 9 years running. This year's simultaneous release will include 72+ projects. OSGeo has a much more diverse approach and acts as an umbrella for different software, development models and Open Source software licenses. OSGeo maintains a Live image with a selection of Open Source geospatial software but has no intention of producing one simultaneous release for all different technologies.
  4. The Eclipse Public License (EPL) is the default OSI approved license used at Eclipse. OSGeo projects can use any OSI approved license.
  5. Eclipse is incorporated as a 501c6 not-for-profit. OSGeo has started under the assumption to acquire a 501c3 status. In 2012 OSGeo decided to apply for 501c6 status because the US Tax Office failed to produce any clear decision over several years.
  6. The Eclipse Foundation has 187 member companies and 265 projects from all areas of IT. OSGeo has 11 sponsors and 22 projects, but all from the geospatial sector.
  7. OSGeo has a much bigger following/community in Geospatial technology as of writing this. Eclipse is just getting started with Location as part of this initiative.
  8. Besides supporting softare projects OSGeo has an education community, a geospatial data community and a constantly growing global network of geospatial experts who build local communities.
  9. OSGeo is an umbrella for a heterogeneous group of software projects, communities, developers, businesses, public administrations and users. The Eclipse Foundation is geared more specifically towards the needs of an industry consortium.
  10. OSGeo is represented by a growing number of independent legal entities (OSGeo Local Chapters) in countries all over the world. The Eclipse Foundation is a much more centralized organization.

Q: I'd like to host my project here, but it is MIT or BSD license

A: As stated above, the EPL is the preferred and highly recommended license. We do have permission from the Eclipse Foundation board to host projects that are licensed under the MIT & BSD licenses.

Q: I'd like to host my project here, but it is LGPL license

A: Sorry, we cannot host LGPL projects. In the case of projects using LGPL components, we can re-distribute the binaries for certain components. We do have explicit permission to re-distribute Geotools, JTS, and GEOS.

Q: I'd like to host my project here, but it is GPL or AGPL license

A: Sorry, this isn't the forge you're looking for. We cannot host projects under the GPL or AGPL licenses. Our members feel strongly these licenses are not friendly to business.

Q: Can an OSGeo project also be an Eclipse Location group project?

A: We think this should be able to work. We'll update this entry when we know for certain. Eclipse project requirements are more stringent than OSGeo's. So long as a project follows the Eclipse Development and IP policies, this should work. Whether a project would want to do this is up to them.

Q: When will the group launch?

A: It is expected the group will launch in Q3/2012.

Q: Does this cost anything? / What are the dues?

A: Please see our (draft) Charter. The dues for the membership levels are set by the Steering Committee (which is made up of members).

Q: Is this just for big companies? As a small or medium sized company, won't my voice be drowned out?

A: There are two levels so that firms who wish to participate more actively and have more influence can do so. As per the (draft) Charter, fees for all participation levels are a sliding scale based on revenue.

Q: Will committers in the location group be eligable to participate in committer representative elections for the Eclipse Foundation board?

A: Yes. They are full-fledged committer members of the Eclipse Foundation, in addition to their involvement in the location working group.

Q: Will solutions members in the location group be eligable to participate in Solution member representative elections to the Eclipse Foundation board?

A: Yes. They are full-fledged Solutions members of the Eclipse Foundation, in addition to their involvement in the location working group.