[GRASS5] GRASS development model Was: A private conversation

mlennert at club.worldonline.be mlennert at club.worldonline.be
Mon Feb 19 09:10:05 EST 2001

First of all I'm glad that this discussion is happening in the open, since I 
believe that it concerns everyone.

I have to agree with Markus on what he said about Grass5 being a beta version. 
Noone has ever claimed something else and to me beta has always meant "use at 
your own risk".

I personally use Grass in my everyday work, and I am very happy with the CVS 
system which allows me to very quickly implement changes when they interest 
me. But I also know that I won't use the very latest version for critical 
work. I wait for a week or so to see if there are no serious problems (such as 
the make clean in beta10). I will then happily test that version (which 
generally gives me nice new features), and because of CVS I can very easily 
get corrections or improvements to any module seperately. And, yes, sometimes 
it can happen that someone just committed a change before I do my update. But 
the probability of this being fatal is quite low, and in any case, I'm not 
obliged to update the entire Grass tree, but can limit to the modules I know I 
want to update.

Now if users are defined as being people who want to use the newest features 
but in a stable environment without any risk, ideally with the software 
packaged in the easiest form possible, I can understand Richard's point of 
view, and I agree, as I think everyone does, that there has to be a feature 
freeze at one point. 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 !

As the development team is very creative, there will always and constantly be 
new ideas. And since, as far as I understand, most developpers are also users, 
they want them implemented. I often want them implemented, and am very happy 
they are. As I've said, I'm using Grass5beta11 (CVS) on a daily basis and 
would not want to miss features such as the click-closing of a monitor (which 
gives not only more comfort, but for me more stability) and the latest 
improvements Radim has brought into ps.map. I know I'm using a beta version, 
and that's ok, I don't care as long I can do the work I want to do. But as I 
said above, I use it at my own risk.

Software development, and open source especially, is always subject to debate 
between the "cathedral and the bazar". Yes, sometimes, it helps to have 
someone say stop, let's do it now, but generally I think it is the dynamic 
process of ongoing development as a result of usage that makes the best 
programs. And who defines when is the right moment to say stop, and on what 
criteria ? Is the new socket code important enough to wait, yes or no. Richard 
asks Markus to be the one to decide. Well, he has and he has decided that it 
is important enough. I respect this decision.


If you want to unsubscribe from GRASS Development Team mailing list write to:
minordomo at geog.uni-hannover.de with
subject 'unsubscribe grass5'

More information about the grass-dev mailing list