Re: Geolocation framework threatened



Hi Neil,

That's great news! Thank you all for your work on this and keeping me updated. 😊 I hope there is a permanent solution possible.

On Tue, 4 Jun 2019, 20:34 Neil McGovern, <neil gnome org> wrote:
Hi all,

Just an update on this. Mozilla have increased the limit on the API so
things should be working correctly again now. We also have a contact
within the MLS service who we're talking to, and they're talking to
Mozilla legal etc to work out a longer term fix on how they can better
support distributions and projects.

Neil

On Tue, 2019-05-14 at 11:06 +0100, Allan Day wrote:
> Hi Zeeshan,
>
> Thanks for getting in touch about this, and thanks for the detailed
> report - it's very helpful.
>
> The board discussed this issue during our meeting yesterday, and the
> Foundation is going to do some research to see what our options are.
> You can track our progress and participate in the discussion here:
> https://gitlab.gnome.org/Teams/Board/issues/97
>
> Unfortunately, there probably isn't a quick or simple fix for this
> issue, so do continue to work with the rest of the community to
> handle the situation, and do let us know if there are any further
> developments.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Allan
> --
> GNOME Foundation Board of Directors
>
> On Thu, 9 May 2019 at 15:41, Zeeshan Ali <zeeshanak gnome org> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > As you know I maintain Geoclue, our geolocation framework, in my
> > spare
> > time (which I don't have a lot of). GNOME currently makes use of
> > it,
> > not just in various apps but also for the very important feature of
> > automatic timezone update. Since GNOME is very popular on machines
> > that typically do not have a GPS receiver, our most reliable method
> > of
> > locating the users has been and still is through WiFi. This method
> > needs a service that geoclue can send a list of WiFi networks it
> > sees
> > and their signal strengths and the service informs geoclue where
> > these
> > networks are expected to be. The service we used for this, is
> > Mozilla
> > Location Service (MLS).
> >
> > Mozilla lost its own interest in this service when they dropped
> > their
> > mobile plans some years ago. They've been keeping their service
> > instance running and that's very nice of them but the code and
> > service
> > are unmaintained. I've spoken and written a few times over the
> > years
> > about the threat to our platform from this but things have mostly
> > been
> > working fine until very recently. A lot of users are reporting that
> > MLS is blocking them due to some limit being reached for "geoclue"
> > API
> > key. This issue was reported on the MLS list but no one from
> > Mozilla
> > seems to be available to comment. Unfortunately, this only reveals
> > one
> > of the many issues we could be facing in the future, with the
> > service
> > going down being the worst and not-so-unlikely one.
> >
> > I'm writing to you nice folks to inform you about this and ask if
> > there can be anything done to save geolocation-requiring
> > features/app
> > on GNOME. If we have the will and (especially) the means, it would
> > be
> > awesome if we could fork MLS.
> >
> > There are three challenges here:
> >
> > 1. The MLS service code itself being unmaintained for years. This
> > one
> > needs a developer but it doesn't have to be a full-time person. The
> > service code is not very complex and just maintainance (no new
> > development) would require 1 day/week of 1 developer at most
> > (probably
> > even less) once the person involved gets completely familiar with
> > the
> > code. I'd guestimate code familiarity to take 2 weeks max for an
> > experienced developer.
> >
> > 2. Running the service instance itself. This is all about infra but
> > I've no idea about the volume of requests the service will receive.
> > Mozilla folks should be able to provide such data.
> >
> > 3. Service is nothing without data. Mozilla folks made use of their
> > large userbase across the globe to collect WiFi data for them and
> > they've a pretty huge amount of data. If Mozilla could be convinced
> > to
> > hand over their data (assuming that's legally possible), that would
> > be
> > a huge help.
> >
> > However, we'll still need a way to gather data once our service is
> > up
> > since people move around and take their routers with them so the
> > existing data expires rather quickly. Mozilla's android app
> > (MozStumbler) could be reused I hope and if we could convince
> > Mozilla,
> > the app could simply submit data to our instance instead from now
> > on.
> > This should be a trivial change to the app I think.
> >
> > I'd be very grateful if you folks could look into this. If you need
> > any information from, please don't hesitate to ask. :)
> >
> > --
> > Regards,
> >
> > Zeeshan Ali
--
Neil McGovern
Executive Director, The GNOME Foundation



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