Incubation Status Report

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at
Thu Apr 13 13:03:20 PDT 2006


I and the other committee chairs are expected to periodically produce
a status report on progress and activities for the board and all interested
parties.  I have been somewhat negligent in this regard for the Incubator
but better late than never!

The OSGeo Incubator is responsible for bringing projects into OSGeo.  For
now we are thinking of software projects.  It ensures that the projects
are following a variety of OSGeo "best practices", understand their
responsibilities within the foundation, perform a review of the source code
looking for likely legal issues and generally try to incorporate them into
the foundation.

We are still very much "feeling our way" in this process.  We are roughly
basing our activities on how the "incubation" process works in Apache,
but unlike there we are starting with existing and generally fairly mature
open source projects where Apache normally starts with new relatively new

Our first eight projects are the OSGeo founding projects: MapBuilder,
GeoTools, GDAL, GRASS, Mapbender, MapServer, OSSIM and MapGuide.  We have
avoided accepting any additional projects into incubation till we get at
least most of these through, and have a definition of the incubation process
hammered out.

So far we have rough (draft) guidelines accepted for a few things:

Incubation Application Form

Code Review for Legal Issues

Incubation Mentor Guidelines

Project Status Template

We have already assigned Mentors for five of the projects, and hope to
have the remaining three covered at our next meeting.  Mentors are
intended to provide some guidance to the project leads, but also are
expected to get to know the project and help the committee decide when
a project is ready to graduate incubation.

Several of the projects have begun their Provenance review.  Basically
this involves looking over all the code in the project and checking for
any sort of possible licensing problems.

Early in the process we had expected to also seek all contributors to
sign a legal Contributor Agreement to help assure the foundation that
the code for projects is properly contributed and rightfully redistributed
by the foundation.  However, we decided *not* to require this for a few
reasons, including:
   - Getting people to sign the contributor agreement is difficult, and
     it can easily put off some contributors.
   - It was clearly not going to be possible to get all past contributors
     to sign for some long lived projects (ie. GRASS, GDAL).
   - The agreement as originally setup gave the foundation the right
     to relicense code which wasn't acceptable to some participants.

Some projects, such as MapGuide, may still require contributor agreements,
but it is not a foundation wide requirement.

One issue facing us in Incubation has been to what degree we would expect
projects to migrate to foundation managed systems, and common tools.  The
basic decision is that this is welcomed, but by no means required.  Many
projects will be sticking with their existing tools (such as Plone,
Bugzilla, Confluence, Mailman) while others are porting some or all services
to the OSGeo systems (currently mostly this means CollabNet).

Norman Vine, and Howard Butler are also working with John Graham of to setup some OSGeo systems on Telascience facilities to
fullfill additional needs.  This will include things like a build and
smoke test farm, heavy duty data distribution and web services demonstrations.

The committee is still feeling it's way through how much we expect of
projects in the incubation effort.  Ideas mooted include requirements on
new user documentation, OSGeo web styling for projects, governance rules
for projects and so forth.  I forsee it taking us some time yet to iron
out what is expected, what is suggested and what we leave open.

Given this, it is at least a few weeks out before any projects can be
expected to graduate incubation.  However, I am excited to see concrete
progress in all projects.

Well, time for me to start the easter weekend.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at
light and sound - activate the windows |
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGF,

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