[OSM-talk] [Osmf-talk] Funding of three infrastructure projects : Nominatim, osm2pgsql, Potlatch 2

John Whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 2 00:04:02 UTC 2020

Working on old code is always difficult. IBM got to the point of 
removing a bug to their mainframe operating system on average introduced 
a new bug.

Then you get into the testing side of things.

The flash side of potlatch is one that given the number of editors using 
it and alternatives available to them today may not be a good return on 
investment and I think that should be weighed up.

Nomination I think is essential and if it can be expanded so much the 

osm2pgsql is not something I have direct experience with but I suspect 
it is one of the infrastructure things that many other things depend on.

The learning curve on old code is steep and if you have someone who 
knows the code then I think use them if you possibly can.  I've seen a 
consultant been brought in to make a change and on half way through the 
second day one of the programmers walked up to him and asked him what 
the change was.  The consultant was pointed to the line of code that 
needed to be altered and it took a few seconds to make the change. The 
consultant was trying to understand what the entire program did before 
making any changes in case it had an impact which was the correct thing 
for the consultant to do but experience with the software makes things 
much faster.

Oh and I've seen someone say we can do that in half the time and half 
the cost.  Problem was they didn't understand the problems involved or 
what needed to be done.  They were fired a week later when it didn't 
work but that didn't solve the program problem.

Have fun

Cheerio John

Frederik Ramm wrote on 2020-08-01 19:40:
> Hi,
> nice to see you rescue a few worthwhile things that have fallen through
> the cracks of the Microgrant programme.
>> During the Microgrants process, there were proposals that didn’t make
>> it, but would together be a good pilot for a “OSM infrastructure”
>> process,
> Are you planning to take the funds for these projects out of the
> "Pineapple Grant" money, or out of the regular budget?
>> The OSMF Board wants to fund a limited number of projects proposed by
>> trusted long-term volunteers whose work we know and enjoy.
> I think that "trusted long-term volunteers" is key here, and somewhat of
> a weak point at the same time.
> I notice that all three proposals are very short on hard deliverables;
> what they mostly promise is working a certain number of hours on a
> certain thing but there is no guarantee that, or to what extent, the
> thing is going to be achieved. Richard's proposal is the clearest here
> ("The result will be a version of Potlatch 2 that can be run on Mac and
> Windows laptops"), whereas Jochen and Sarah only commit to working on
> something, not to actually achieving it. This means we'll pay them no
> matter what.
> Now this is all fine because we have reason to believe that every one of
> the three proposals will be a good investment and even if a goal could
> not be achieved, the money would at least land with people who have done
> a lot of volunteer stuff for OSM in the past. But the criteria are fuzzy
> - why do we trust these three people that if we give them money to work
> on something it will be worth it? Assume someone came along saying wait
> a minute, I can do the same for half the money! And then we would say,
> err, umm, sorry, no, we don't trust you in the same way we trust these
> "trusted long-term volunteers".
> Looking forward, it might become necessary to define deliverables more
> clearly and make payment conditional on results having been achieved,
> rather on time having been spent. But if you're lucky...
>> In the long term, we want to re-activate the Engineering Working Group
>> (EWG) by making it a place for decision making, project guidance and
>> budget management for such projects.
> ... the EWG can take over that job ;)
> Bye
> Frederik

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