location-oriented services

john jptmoore at gmail.com
Sat Apr 5 13:31:29 CEST 2008

Hi. I have been working on a D-Bus location-oriented service. I would
like to get some feedback to help direct the development and possibly
get some others involved. There are also some important non-technical
issues I would like to address.

Firstly, the D-Bus service is a server type process to look-up the
distance of other users of the system. It has a simple interface which
has been designed to be self-clocking. What this means is you need to
"ping" in location to update your local database of distance
information. One of the ideas behind this was to encourage updates
rather than be dominated by look-ups. A key feature of updating the
database in this system is that transferring the data required is done
in a very efficient manor. It actually "bit packs" the data. This
makes no assumptions about the quality or cost of the underlying

So how would this be used? Well, I need some help with ideas and
clients. A simple use case would be to match users to your contacts
list and alert when they are within a certain distance. There are
other D-Bus location-oriented projects which could be integrated or
used in some way.

Are there any students working on GSOC projects in this area?

It is my intention to release all code including server. This brings
me to the non-technical issues. Although I don't have any problems
running server processes on my own hardware etc I think there are some
issues which need to be addressed. I understand the privacy concerns
of using these types of services and want to make this as open as
possible. Releasing the server code is fine but it does not actually
mean the "real" server is some other code doing something evil and
logging your data etc. This is where a trusted third party needs to be
involved. If these server processes were run from such a source it
would be a step in the right direction. How do others feel about this?
I know some people will never use these types of services full stop.
That is fine. I know others are interested in using them. I personally
am not interested in plotting on a map where I am. I don't mind
knowing that I am approximately close to something or someone and

Anyway, I think D-Bus provides us with a good opportunity to develop
some cool applications in this mobile space. Interested in your

John (zedstar on IRC).

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