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Re: Dedicated Geolocation List and Channel

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2008 10:24:16 -0400
Message-ID: <48455410.6010007@w3.org>
To: Web API public <public-webapi@w3.org>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

Hi, Ian-

Ian Hickson wrote (on 6/3/08 6:04 AM):
> On Mon, 2 Jun 2008, Doug Schepers wrote:
>> Matt Womer and I have started a new email list for discussing 
>> geolocation. The new list, public-geolocation [1], will be archived, and 
>> the intent is for it to be the public list for the planned Geolocation 
>> WG:
>>   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-geolocation/
> Could we please keep the discussion to this group? It seems like most 
> people on this group agree that the work should happen in this group,  
> and it would be very confusing to have to move stuff back and forth, 
> especially if the charter proposal for geo fails, as seems likely given 
> several browser vendors have requested that it stay in this group.

I appreciate that sentiment, and I see the browser vendors as a vital 
constituency in a successful Geolocation API specification.  However, 
they are not the only stakeholders.

To make this a truly open and universal API with broad uptake, we want 
to cultivate the participation of other industries in addition to 
browser vendors; camera manufacturers, GPS vendors, car makers, mobile 
phone operators, other standards bodies, etc.  While some of them may 
have no direct interest in an API, they are likely to have insight into 
other aspects of geolocation that will inform an effective API.  Many of 
them have shown interest in this in the past.

 From an IPR perspective, in order for a large company (or other 
organization) to get involved in the WG, they would have to do a 
wide-ranging (and lengthy and expensive) patent search.  To join the WG, 
the company's patent search would have to cover *everything* that the 
WebApps WG is doing, not just geolocation.  As you know, geolocation 
itself is a very mature technology, and there are hundreds of patents 
regarding its minutiae; if it turns out that the work we do ends up 
being contentious and spawning a PAG (Patent Advisory Group), it is 
better that it be isolated and not slow down the work going on in the 
rest of the WebApps WG.

In addition to this, the vast majority of topics and emails on this list 
will not concern these other folks at all; it is rather overwhelming to 
get involved in such a high-traffic (and frankly contentious) list, 
especially if you aren't already in Web standards culture.

So, regardless of where the actual deliverable ends up, it is therefore 
better to have a dedicated mailing list, for exactly the reason you 
state: it's confusing to have it move around, and keeping it on one list 
devoted to the topic will be much easier to track.  If it happens that 
the Geolocation WG chartering fails, then the list can simply be 
attached to the WebApps WG.  Easy.

There is no additional burden on the WebApps WG participants to 
subscribe to one more list (or join one more WG), and there is a 
substantial burden on other interested parties in monitoring the public 
WebApps list.  Seems like a clear choice to me.

So, I'd respectfully ask that geolocation topics be conducted on 
public-geolocation, rather than slowing down the technical discussion by 
debating where we should be doing the work.

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG, CDF, and WebAPI
Received on Tuesday, 3 June 2008 14:31:31 UTC

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