[OSM-dev] [Marble-devel] NOTICE: gazetteer.osm.org being retired

Torsten Rahn tackat at t-online.de
Wed Sep 1 15:14:44 BST 2010


First of all I'd like to say thanks to Grant for providing a solution so 
quickly. :-)

Am Dienstag, 31. August 2010 12:44:54 schrieb Andy Allan:
> Secondly, remember that we're an open-source, volunteer project kind
> of thing, so have appropriate expectations! If the server had stopped
> working and nobody was interested in fixing it, then you'd have had
> zero notice. 

That is pretty clear to me :-)
However as a KDE developer I'm in the Free Software "business" since more than 
12 years now.
Of course the very same does apply to KDE or Marble (Which is Free Software as 

We do all the development in our spare time. And yes we could just do 
libraries without an API promise and without a promise that any software we 
produce will ever become stable. For stable versions of Linux we could just 
point you to companies who would customize a special stable version from KDE 
trunk and all the other linux software places.

However that is of course not how it works. And I doubt that OSM contributors 
see openstreetmap.org as a nice limited "Demo Version" of what a true Free 
Mapping portal could look like.

In Free Software projects - inspite of the fact that we do stuff in our spare 
time - we still aim for being able to give guarantees. For the same reason 
that people work on OSM: We want our stuff we work on to be successful.

So in Open Source projects we usually give several kinds of guarantees:
* API guarantees
* Binary Compatibility guarantees
* The outlook that there will be a next stable version
* The promise that security fixes will go into the next version.

Of course all this only can be made once projects have grown enough so that 
such guarantees can be made. 

I think that OSM is already mature enough that such commitments can be 
introduced. And I think that something like this could easily be communicated 
via properly announced channels.
 OSM already kind of provides such a guarantee implicitely for the tile Urls 
(at least we discussed this topic at the SOTM2008 already). It would be nice 
if this was formally publicized somewhere and extended for other services.

So yes, I fully understand that this is not in place yet. And I fully 
understand why (hey, Marble development processes aren't all rosy either ;-)

But I think there should be an aim to introduce some place where I can look up 
which services/Urls etc. are considered stable and supported and which are 
considered experimental or deprecated. And I think that it should be the aim 
of OSM to have a proper deprecation process. :-)

 > On the other hand, if you have someone who's interested
> in running the namefinder service, and have the hardware and hosting
> to do so, then you have more than the OSM project has on all counts
> and that would be great!

Yes, sure, that's why we do already have some map material stored on the KDE 
servers. But you might see why this is a bit problematic for the kinds of 
services and data that openstreetmap.org hosts. 

> The OSM project doesn't run high-availability APIs - there's no
> guarantees, and certainly not any kind of availability guarantee when
> we no longer maintain something that we used to.
> If you want to use an OSM service in one of your applications, then I
> would suggest firstly, and most importantly, that the application
> doesn't have a *.openstreetmap.org URL embedded anywhere in the code.
> It's bad practise - see

Yes, that is true. Since the server address is stored inside a xml file it 
shouldn't be too hard to check for a more recent version on usage and use that 
one if available. I had such plans at one point but so far it never got 

And thanks a lot for the great work you guys are doing :-)

Best Regards,

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