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I'm the DRI for most of these problems. Random thoughts:

I think David Ogilvy said something like "Search all the parks in your city, you'll find no statues of committees". Everyone was super keen to make OSM in to a web of committees, and this is one root of the problem from an organizational point of view. It's not super clear to me what the OSMF has done in the last (to pick a number) 5 years. (I don't regard "doing the same thing as last year" as relevant to anything, I just have a personal bias towards new things).

From a technical point of view we merged sysadmin (who inherently want stability) with development (who inherently want change) and stability won (it doesn't involve arguments or as much work, I guess). That's why the API looks the same way I designed it X number of years ago.

It's still a wonderful project, but more of a work of art than anything else. It's not like wikipedia didn't have all the same problems. Making a project that really evolves and grows over large periods of time is really hard. Like - most of the things on the S&P 500 won't be there in 10 or 20 years or something.

I think what really happens is that projects go through a lifecycle and something new comes along to replace them, rather than anything getting fixed. I'm not sure if this is a good example, but, you could try to "fix" Apache, or you could just do this new thing, "nginx". For all kinds of reasons, the new thing is more efficient. One of the few counter examples I think is going to be Amazon.

The world has moved on from making vector maps and OSM solved almost all the related problems (just not geocoding, which annoys me no end). It moved on, because of OSM! All the money and interest in maps is now around autonomous navigation, which means 3D maps and other things outside of OSMs area.




I just spent several minutes of my life trying to figure out what a DRI is, and I still don't know.

I agree with you in regards to the OSMF. There has been a lack of motivation and a lack of desire to experiment.

> From a technical point of view we merged sysadmin (who inherently want stability) with development (who inherently want change)

Agreed, operations and development are often at odds. I've done both, and there are organizational ways to solve this, but they require a great deal of work.

> It's still a wonderful project

I completely agree. A prominent OSMer just sent me a message saying how he never wants to hear from me again, but this is not me writing against OSM, but rather me getting down and dirty into exactly where I think OSM doesn't do a good job.

I can love something (especially software) and advocate for it to change.

Steve, you and I don't always agree, but I think we both agree that we want the project to succeed and are frustrated by the current situation.

> I think what really happens is that projects go through a lifecycle and something new comes along to replace them, rather than anything getting fixed.

I'd hate for this to be the case, but it seems that if the project can't move forward, this is what will happen.

It would be possible to start by stiching together data from existing libre data sources, and then using tools to augment them. I'm not a computer vision expert, but I bet much of what we (you and I and many of our bretheren) were doing tracing roads and buildings could be done better by computer.

BTW, if you're Liking my post- like the parent post, since Steve is the primary founder of OSM. I mention him in the post.


> I'm the DRI

All I can find is "Dietary Reference Intake" on https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/DRI -- what do you mean?

(I agree with most of your post by the way (except for the bit about it being art, which would mean it has no function except to be art), I'm just unclear on what you meant here.)


Directly Responsible Individual

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Coast


Oh, I see. Hello there! I never knew the founder of OSM was on HN too :)


Oh. I was going with "Dirty Rotten Imbecile", from my youthful punk days.

I can think of some cases where it would still fit. You seem okay, though ;)


My first reflex is to go to Urban Dictionary (!ud), and that's the first result.


> All I can find is "Dietary Reference Intake"

Not useful in this case, but acronymfinder.com gives 60 possible meanings. Also the intented meaning as 54th down the list.

https://www.acronymfinder.com/DRI.html


Yeah that's why I don't go for those websites, there are hundreds of meanings for each TLA and you'll rarely know which one was meant (both because you don't feel like scrolling through that many, and because more than one usually fits). I made that mistake once or twice before.


Best one is "Disco Related Injury"


> The world has moved on

...A-and we still don't have a single decent map people can use. And positively undoubtedly we don't have a single decent map people can use, that is owned by society and free in a sense Wikipedia is. I use Google Maps on a daily basis, and I hate Google.


> Everyone was super keen to make OSM in to a web of committees, and this is one root of the problem from an organizational point of view.

Oh come come Steve, you know better than me that's not true. There is one genuine committee in OSM (OSMF board, which does nothing, which is probably a good thing given how well their attempts to do something work out) and three things that are nominally committees but in reality just a small number of self-motivated volunteers doing thankless grunt work (Licensing Working Group, Data Working Group, State of the Map [conference] Working Group).

OSM is about the least hierarchical, least committee-fied project there is. Compare to Wikimedia - or, you know, any form of government - if you want to see what committees are really like.


> "Search all the parks in your city, you'll find no statues of committees"

This doesn't necessarily mean that committees did not play a vital role in various historical events, just that people don't like to make statues of them.


Agreed. While the quote has a certain elegance to it, and certainly some truth, I suspect many people who have statues were on committees of some sort.

For all their flaws committees are a primary way in which people pool their collective experience and effort which is ultimately how anything significant is built.


> "you'll find no statues of committees"

Well, maybe one or two: http://theenchantedmanor.com//wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Nat...




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