FAQ

1. What is OAX?
2. How does OAX relate to IATA standards?
3. Why did you choose a community-based process rather than a committee-based process to define OAX?
4. Why did you choose UML, XML and WSDL for OAX?
5. I am an airline. Why is OAX important for me?
6. I am a vendor. Why is OAX important for me?
7. I am an integrator. Why is OAX important for me?
8. What is SOAX?
9. What is the relationship between OAX and SOAX?

10. Why did you choose Java for SOAX?
11. How can I contribute to OAX and SOAX?
12. OAX is an open standard. Can you guarantee that it will remain open?
13. Can I modify OAX freely?
14. Can I make a commercial use of OAX? Does it impose a licensing scheme?
15. SOAX is released under an open-source license. Can it be revoked in the future?
16. Why is SOAX licensed under LGPL?
17. If I use SOAX within my airline, do I have to contribute back modifications or software using it?
18. If I sell software using SOAX , do I have to contribute back modifications or software using it?
19. My company has a "no open-source" policy. How can I benefit from OAX and SOAX?
20. Why does OpenAirlines ask for copyright transfer on contributions?
21. What is the relationship between OpenAirlines.org and the company OpenAirlines?
22. What is OpenAirlines business model?

1. What is OAX?

OAX - Open Airlines eXchanges is a free open standard for describing airline business and entitites, and exchanging data or service about them, with an initial focus on crew information.
OAX consists in:
- A standard UML model with associated documentation to define vocabulary and business entities, with their relationships.
- A standard and extendible XML schema to define airline data interchange. The XML schema allows to exchange data between applications of the crew domain in a standard way. It is extendible and allows for airline-specific information.
- WSDL definitions for common web services in the business, allowing eased integration between the different software packages making up for the whole information system.


2. How does OAX relate to IATA standards?

IATA has done an excellent job standardizing data interchange between airlines, GDS and airports in a lot of domains: schedule timetable, airport movements, etc.
However, some airline fields, such as crew management, have remained uncovered, mostly because in these domains, airlines exchange little information between them.
Yet, in these domains, there is a wealth of information that must be shared within the airlines, with their partners, with their vendors or service providers, or with official authorities. This is uncovered by IATA and is being covered by OAX.
When OAX is distributing data that make sense for IATA (for example, flight legs within pairings), OAX has aligned on IATA vocabulary and IATA standard data formats.
In addition, some SOAX open-source are actually fully IATA focused: for example, SOAX offers an IATA SSIM Chapter 6 parser.

3. Why did you choose a community-based process rather than a committee-based process to define OAX?

Traditionnaly, standards have been the result of committee-based processes. With the advent of the Internet, direct exchanges between interested parties allow a much simpler, quicker, cost-effective and transparent way to define standards. By reducing standard definition costs, one allow also smaller players to take part into the discussion. By making it more transparent, one prevents that the standard serves the interest of providers which are looking for more complexity.

4. Why did you choose UML, XML and WSDL for OAX?

UML is the de-facto standard for model description and has rich semantics to describe the modelling of the airline business, both for end users, business analysts, and IT people.
XML has become a universal language for data format description. It is ubiquitous, supported by many tools and all platforms. And above all, it is extendible, which means that airline-specific information can be added to standard information without causing any problem.
WSDL is becoming the standard for Web Services description. Consequently, we believe it is a good choice to describe industry common services.

5. I am an airline. Why is OAX important for me?

OAX has been made for airlines. OAX' aim is to solve airlines' integration nightmare by simplifying system integration, whether they are based on brand new, legacy, in-house, vendor based components, or more frequently a mix of all these.
OAX helps airline define robust models, based on the experience of many contributing airlines.
OAX helps airline organize their information system around standardized data exchanges and services.
Finally, OAX helps airline adopt and integrate vendor solutions because it provides a lingua-franca for data interchange that reduces the adaptation work.

6. I am a vendor. Why is OAX important for me?

By standardizing the domain vocabulary and its data representation, OAX reduces the vendors' efforts to adapt to each airline. It allows packages and installation to be less specific and thus easier to support.
By reducing the airlines' integration effort, it removes hurdles for packages adoption and allows vendors to provide more value for the cost.

7. I am an integrator. Why is OAX important for me?

With OAX, integrators have a powerful tool to connect systems together and provide a complete and seamless solution for the airlines, without compromising on the origin of the components.
OAX eases and speeds up the integration process.

8. What is SOAX?

SOAX - Software for Open Airlines eXchanges is a collection of java classes that ease the adoption of the OAX standard by providing an open and free reference implementation.
SOAX provides java implementations (POJOs) of the OAX model classes, parsers for OAX standard data formats and companion IATA data formats, and proxies for OAX standard services.
They allow any company (airline, vendor, etc.) to adopt the OAX standard in a very cost effective way. SOAX is relased under the LGPL license making it embeddable into commercial packages.

9. What is the relationship between OAX and SOAX?

OAX is just a standard: it proposes a common representation of airlines business entities, data formats and service description to easyly connect different IS components. OAX can be implemented freely by any piece of software.
SOAX are helper classes to deal with the OAX model and data formats (parsers, etc.). They help software developers to integrate the OAX specification and make sure that the cost to support OAX is almost nil.

10. Why did you choose Java for SOAX?

OAX is language independent and it is likely that airline will develop OAX implementation in all the languages that they use for their legacy simplification.
We chose Java for the SOAX reference implementation because it is an excellent language that is widely used in the industry and platform neutral.


11. How can I contribute to OAX or SOAX?

12. OAX is an open standard. Can you guarantee that it will remain open?

The fact that OAX is being released unde the Creative Commons - Attribute Share alike license insures that the standard will remain open. Once OAX has been released with this license, anybody is free to distribute and modify it freely. Also, any modification must be released under a comparable license, which insures that it will remain free and open for modifications.

13. Can I modify OAX freely?

Yes, the OAX license makes sure that anybody is free to modify OAX. Of course, OAX will be more pertinent if it remains a single and widely adopted standard. But we believe that it sould become so based on its merits, rather than on constraints or strict committte rules enforcement.

14. Can I make a commercial use of OAX? Does it impose a licensing scheme?

Yes, OAX can be freely used in any book, tutorial, courses, software, etc., commercial or not, without any fee or licensing constraint.
OAX does not impose any constraint on the licensing of software using it: they can be commercial or not, closed source or not. Whatever. You are fully free.

15. SOAX is released under an open-source license. Can it be revoked in the future?

No. Once a piece of software has been released under an open-source license, the released code remains free, open and available for the community for ever.

16. Why is SOAX licensed under LGPL?

SOAX is licensed under LGPLv2 to make sure that it remains free and open, and that SOAX released modifications go back to the community.
SOAX components can be freely embedded into commercial and closed-source packages to allow for the universal use of the standard.

17. If I use SOAX within my airlines, do I have to contribute back modifications or software using it?

No. Modifications are free and can be kept internally. Modification to SOAX need to be contributed back only if the software is released (see FAQ #18). Since we are using the LGPL license, the source of the software using SOAX never has to be released.

18. If I sell software using SOAX, do I have to contribute back modifications or software using it?

If a piece of software using a modified version of SOAX is released outside of an organization, the modifications made to SOAX and only them will have to be published under the LGPL license. The software using SOAX can remain closed-source in any case

19. My company has a "no open soure" policy. How can I benefit from OAX and SOAX?

OAX is just a document standard without software. As such, it does nor rely on an open-source licence, nor does it impose an open-source implementation. Commercial OAX implementations are available.
SOAX is released under an open-source licence by is also available with a commercial licence (without any of the open-source constraints) for those company feeling more comfortable with such a contract. Contact OpenAirlines.com for more information.

20. Why does OpenAirline ask for copyright transfer on contributions?

OpenAirlines is the copyright owner of OAX and SOAX. When accepting contributions from the community, OpenAirlines asks for a copyright transfer for the contribution to make sure that it can enforce the open-source license in front of a court. If the piece of software had multiple copyright owner, defending the case would be a lawyer's nightmare and would be very expensive, if not impossible.
It also allows OpenAirlines to provide commercial licenses for organizations that should need it.
This is a standard a common behaviour in the open-source industry: the FSF (Free Software Foundation), MySQL corporation or other big names of the open-source movement all do it.

21. What is the relationship between OpenAirlines.org and the company OpenAirlines?

OpenAirlines (trademark registered by Nextops) is an IT consulting company for the airline industry, specialized in IT architecture, systems integration and migration (see www.openairlines.com).
This company has launched the open-source initiative for the airline industry described in the openairline.org site.
It provides the infrastructure, website, publicity for this initiative and has provided most of the initial content for OAX, and SOAX, which it has released under non revokable open-source licences, to make them freely available and modifyable by all.
It remains the copyright owner of its contribution to allow for licence enforcement and dual (commercial) licence offering.

22. What is OpenAirlines' business model?

OpenAirlines is an IT consulting company with a strong know-how in:
- The airline operations domain (Crew mgt. and OCC in particular)
- Systems integration and legacy simplification and migration

Its business in is assisting airlines defining and implementing their future CMS or Ops information systems, with a focus on its target definition and more importantly a safe and realistic migration path.
By contributing to the industry maturity and making it easier for airlines to launch renewal projects, OpenAirlines believes it will benefit from increased business opportunities.