Topic: "Reference Implementation"

"Can we rename these?"

In the software industry, 'Reference Implementations' act as a completement to standards; such references are used for anything that is not defined or badly defined in the standard.

The CITE process adopted the name for something distinct: as an example implementation that passes the test suite. This can be seen now where CITE is thinking about having several 'reference implementations' but is not talking about the resolution of differences between the implementations. These implementations are not 'refereces' for the standards and not even really 'references' for the cite testing process.

There is significant commercial advantage to being the reference impelmentation which has led to significant jockeying over the term. This causes tension within the membership without providing any interoperability or adoption advantage overall.

Since the term is not used at the OGC in the same way it is used in the broader industry, the OGC should change its use of the term.

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Topic revision: r3 - 20 Aug 2013, TrevorTaylor
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