[OSM-talk] Database Maintenance
lars at aronsson.se
Sun Aug 5 16:47:01 BST 2007
Dave Stubbs wrote:
> On 30/07/07, Jeroen Dekkers <jeroen at vrijschrift.org> wrote:
> A lot more money might help... it's hard to be "professional" on a
> shoe string, with volunteers who would probably like to be not up all
> night as they probably have to go to work at some point.
> And just to put this in perspective. My highly "professional" bank has
There's a whole lot wrong with this reasoning. It's not the
bank's (or telephone company's) money that makes them keep their
servers up. They'd rather pay bonuses to their management or
dividends to their owners, than spend money on keeping servers up.
The driving force is the competition and the bank's fear of losing
business. OSM (and Wikipedia and most open source projects)
doesn't have competition (or fear), so it can abuse its
contributors and users as it pleases.
I'm not saying that any of this needs to change. The error is not
in OSM, it's in your understanding (both guys) of these
fundamentals. If our understanding improves, we can learn how to
improve the system or we can learn to live with what we have.
JOSM's elasticity, its ability to let your edits survive a server
outage, is a good example of the latter.
One thing is certain: A million pounds alone is not going to
improve the server uptime. (Steve might use that money, not for
management bonuses, but for a permanent month-of-code, and server
uptime might still be only half good. I wouldn't blame Steve,
though. I would do exactly the same in that situation.) But the
risk of losing a million pounds might do.
Imagine a competing bank across the street that advertises "are
your bank's servers online when you need them?" and you started to
see people walking over there. You can say that this is what
happens when people are viewing the maps of Informationfreeway or
Metalabs instead of www.openstreetmap.org, but serving map viewers
is not OSM's primary function, and only a marginal source of
advertising income. Even if there was a competing project that
was attracting the volunteer community, the free licensing makes
OSM almost immune against such competition. The only "risk" for
Steve is that mass media attention would turn to the founder of
the competing project rather than him. Such a competition
situation (not based on server uptime, but on content reliability)
is what exists between Wikipedia and Citizendium, but the latter
has a very long way to go.
Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se
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