[OSGeo-Discuss] Distributed Computing

Mateusz Loskot mateusz at loskot.net
Fri Aug 21 13:38:25 PDT 2009

Henning Lorenz wrote:
> Hi all,
> Mateusz's email about his unused MacPro brought another question to
> my mind (again): Is there interest in a distributed computing 
> infrastructure for OSGeo.

I would take a risk and say that there is no interest but a need or even
demand of bringing a usable farm to FOSS4G developers.

The distributed nature of FOSS development requires larger
teams to stick to principles of "Continuous Integration" [1] because
it is crucial to keep work moving smoothly, with assurance of
decent quality of final product that makes all team members happy
and motivated to move forward, stay with in the team project and
support community. All these aspects are crucial to make a project
healthy and sustainable, so successful.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_integration

Without an efficient and reliable development infrastructure, it's
really hard to achieve these goals.
Many of big & healthy projects like Boost C++ Libraries, GCC,
PostgreSQL have used compile farms, distributed
regression test jobs, etc. We (OSGeo) have found Buildbot very helpful
once we've got used to use it.

So, for myself personally, no question about benefits of such solution.
The only problem I see is that we need more machines that are
connected "24/7" to make the whole solution usable and powerful
enough to serve all our projects.

> For us Mac users it's rather straight forward with XGrid if someone
> can host the server in an environment that allows for it (see
> OpenMacGrid at MacResearch.org), for other unices one would need a
> person with a good understanding of these things.

Yes, but this is a technical issue that can be solved by "investigate,
learn and solve" approach, IMHO.

> So lets collect some basic information (reply to this thread if the 
> answer on a question below is yes): - Would you like to contribute
> your "waste CPU cycles" to a grid aimed for OSGeo purposes? (what
> hardware, operating system)

Yes, as soon as my Mac Pro is plugged in.

> - Would you utilise such a grid for OSGeo purposes? (what operationg 
> system requirements do you have)


> I myself have lot's of spare CPU cycles on my MacPro (now used by 
> OpenMacGrid) that I can contribute, but I won't become a user.

Thus, you may want to plug it into our Buildbot or equivalent for Java
(I apologise Java camp for my ignorance, but I don't know if OSGeo has
anything setup in that area, I only know Buildbot that serves C/C++ camp).

Best regards,
Mateusz Loskot, http://mateusz.loskot.net
Charter Member of OSGeo, http://osgeo.org

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