[GRASS5] GRASS development model Was: A private conversation

Markus Neteler neteler at geog.uni-hannover.de
Mon Feb 19 10:06:22 EST 2001

On Mon, Feb 19, 2001 at 03:10:05PM +0100, mlennert at club.worldonline.be wrote:
[... useful comments from Moritz]
> But I do believe that the force of OpenSource is just 
> that: no market pressure to oblige the development team to bring out the next 
> version. It is exactly this pressure that creates the bugs !

I just want to stress this point: beta10 and beta11 have been published
under such pressure as 

 - "why don't you release the stable version?" (because the BUGS file 
    is not empty yet) and 
 - "why does it take so much time to get a new version?" opposite to 
 - "why again a new beta something?"

We can't help everybody.

But we have learned from beta10 release:

 - change of Makefile system was required to prevent the kill of
   /usr/local/bin [implemented, error free now]
 - have a pre-test phase

and from beta11 release:
 - don't apply changes during pre-test phase [will do for next release]
 - have a two-fold pre-test phase including binary package test [will do for
   next release]

Everybody should accept that we try to learn. And: We are glad to receive
comments on the development model (therefore I have put this (again) into

GRASS is not proprietary software and follows the Open Source development
idea. This *is* different to other products. And, if you consider the
"history" of GRASS 5: Fixing bugs takes often less than 24h. This seems to
be somewhat faster that the bug releases of proprietary software products.

Please believe in us that we still have some potential to learn and to
improve the GRASS development model. However, more testers are required and
more programmers who can take over some specific tasks (e.g.: need a software
engineer to clean up the G3D library and modules).

Most of us are using GRASS in daily production. You can be sure that
here at university teaching GRASS with GRASS being broken would be
impossible! However, several bugs have been found by my students and fixed
by team members. That's a sort of users' contribution which is very helpful.
GRASS is no banana-product (ripes at customer's office), we definitly
want to publish the stable version as soon as possible. But it *must* be
stable - the last beta's have shown severe problems. So the announcement
of GRASS 5.0.0 (stable) would have become a desaster.

I expect the sockets thing to be the last to be finished for 5.0.0. Hope
no other major bugs are left. The new compression seems to be running
perfectly (as it's in use for some time now).

Those being involved are working hard to "finish" the 5.0.0 and to stabilize
the new features most users don't want to miss.


 Markus Neteler

PS: Volunteers wanted to
    - migrate all vector modules to new 5.1 vector lib
    - set up new automake system for 5.1
    - build shared libraries
    - ...
    -> http://www.geog.uni-hannover.de/grass/grass51/index.html

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