Pervasive computing is by its nature open and extensible, and must integrate the information from a diverse range of sources. This leads to a problem of information exchange, so sub-systems must agree on shared representations. Ontologies potentially provide a well-founded mechanism for the representation and exchange of such structured information. A number of ontologies have been developed specifically for use in pervasive computing, none of which appears to cover adequately the space of concerns applicable to application designers. We compare and contrast the most popular ontologies, evaluating them against the system challenges generally recognized within the pervasive computing community. We identify a number of deficiencies that must be addressed in order to apply the ontological techniques successfully to next-generation pervasive systems.