[OSM-dev] lack of server coders (was: London Underground stations?)

Ben Gimpert ben at somethingmodern.com
Tue Jul 4 13:19:21 BST 2006


I don't want to chime in on *all* the complaints being raised, but I
would like to consider a couple:

I agree with Imi that the "privacy crutch" has become a bit absurd.
Therefore, I ask that the community respond to this message with a yea
or nea on their inclusion on a "white list" of those who don't give a
shit if the NSA knows they were at Starbucks at 9:37am this morning.

More formally, I hereby publicly announce that every single OSM entity I
have ever modified or contributed, and every entity I *will* ever modify
or contribute, may be freely associated with my "identity" (i.e. email
address) by anyone, at any time.

If you are also tired of the privacy crutch -- I'm talking to you, Imi
and Christopher -- please consider agreeing the statement above. My
lifestyle is just not interesting enough for me to wear an OSM tin hat.

I also agree that installing and configuring a local development server
is extremely difficult, and this is a significant impediment to more
developers working on the project.

Now, as for Steve taking down the server -- I don't mind if he shits on
and then kicks the server into The Thames without telling anyone.  Until
someone else steps forward to volunteer as OSM Systems Administrator,
the intermittence of availability is something we must to acomodate.

As for the very harsh accusation of hoarding the project, we should
remember that Steve is not the only one possibly empire building.  Over
a *month* ago, I asked for SVN commit permissions to one of OSM's sister
projects but the request has met with definitive silence.

		A black kettle,

On Tue,  4 Jul 06 @01:19pm, Immanuel Scholz wrote:
> Hi,
> Steve complained about the few coders interested in coding the server.
> Lars replied (not to specific this, but in general):
> > But if I'm the only one who feels like this, then this project is far
> > smaller than it should be.  And then we have to ask: Why is it still so
> > small, why aren't we attracting more contributors?  Why are newcomers
> > turned away?
> For me, I have to cleary say that the lack of testing and debugging
> capabilities and in the server code keep me away. I tried several times to
> change that but each time I got stopped by Steve thinking testing and
> debugging is either just fine now or not that important.
> To be more specific about my current problems:
> 1) I need a real database snapshot. Or a planet.osm containing enough
> stuff in the area I want to develop. When Steve thinks privacy is a
> problem, the author field can be randomized. However, I think now that
> Steve's concern is much different than privacy but instead he does not
> want to give out the data because someone else could "steal" his project.
> If this is really the case, I am off to a more open team. To me, OSM is
> about distributing the data and encourage people to do every possible
> stuff with it, not to gather as much as possible and then provide the
> loudest grumbler with some morsel of XML.
> 2) Debugging capabilities are important. If you never used a debugger
> (except some hacked printf-statements), then I am not suprised that the
> server code is in such terrible performance and design condition.
> dev.openstreetmap.org is nice for integration testing but it is not a
> server for development.
> 3) The setup-process of a development server was terrible, last time I
> checked. Most projects achieve a "configure && make dev" or something like
> that. The last time I checked for OSM, it was far from that away. Steve
> said it improved and several people succeeded in setting up their home
> server. I don't believe him.
> 4) The database layout and the access classes look really scary and
> overbloated to me. Last time someone suggested a clean reimplementation,
> Steve almost fall off his seat about this (not surprisingly, since it is
> his code). But if I would have to work on the server code, a major
> overlook would be the first thing to do. If Steve's attitude is to prevent
> people from doing this, few server coder will join the team.
> 5) There is no coordinated deployment process. The code goes sometimes
> magically from the subversion into the running server (usually by Steve).
> Coders are not sure what version currently runs - if the subversion is
> more current than the server code or the other way round. Although someone
> (Christoph?) said before, that this is his usual experiences from real
> life projects, I disagree. In all other project, at least the coders (or
> the ones that should become coders) are perfectly informed what runs on
> the server and most times they also knew when the next server update is
> scheduled. I think this greatly helps when just playing around with the
> code or when bug hunting a specific problem.
> A failure in any of these five points is enough reason to me to not code
> anything within the server's codebase. I like to help, but then something
> must be changed in OSM.
> Ciao, Imi
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