LocationTech/FAQ

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

Contents

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.

UPDATE!! The group will be called LocationTech. We'll announce the web site when it is up.

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 services provided by the Foundation, governance model, IP policy, license, and membership base do help.
  3. Services. Eclipse full time staff members are dedicated to supporting the community in countless ways including assistance with marketing, governance, legal issues, and more.
  4. Infrastructure. The infrastructure at Eclipse (git, gerrit, hudson, bugzilla, asterisk, mediawiki, etc.) is maintained by a professional and responsive staff.
  5. Business development. Eclipse is one of the most business-friendly open source communities and has multiple full time staff members dedicated to business development.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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, data, and education materials. The Eclipse Foundation has achieved significant success building an ecosystem of technology projects and companies. The ecosystem has focused on an open development platform and extensible frameworks. Eclipse has evolved to address the needs of specialized areas with its Industry Working Group process. This group is an example of this.

  1. The Eclipse Foundation provides five services to the Eclipse community. Full-time staff are associated with each of these areas. OSGeo provides a subset of these services on a volunteer basis.
    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.
  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 acts as an umbrella for different software, development models and licenses. OSGeo maintains a Live image with a selection of Open Source geospatial software but has no intention of producing one simultaneous release.
  4. The Eclipse Public License (EPL) is the recommended OSI approved license for this group. It is designed to be friendly to businesses while balancing the interests of the project. If you modify EPL code and re-distribute, you are compelled to give the changes back. If you do not modify the EPL code, your own code and finished product can be licensed under a license of your choice. The MIT & BSD licenses are also approved. OSGeo projects can use any OSI approved license.
  5. Eclipse is incorporated as a 501c6 not-for-profit. OSGeo has been operating since 2006 under the assumption that it will acquire a 501c3 status but has not yet received it. In 2012 OSGeo decided to apply for 501c6 status (ongoing).
  6. The Eclipse Foundation is much larger with 187 member companies and 265 projects from all areas of IT. OSGeo has 11 sponsors and 22 projects, but all from the geospatial sector.

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. We anticipate permission for Apache 2.0 as well.

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, using another license not mentioned

A: Please contact us. We may be able to get permission for hosting projects of that license. Re-licensing or dual-licensing are also options.

Q: I don't like this licensing limitation, you guys are the only ones doing it.

A: Nope. Other Foundations have similar policies. e.g. Apache

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 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.