[GRASS5] Update from Chicago meeting

Stephan Holl holl at gdf-hannover.de
Wed Feb 8 06:15:12 EST 2006

Hello Markus,

at first, thank you for detailed description of the meeting. As you
already said, I also thing this was a very productive meeting just by
the impression I became while joined #geofoundation for about 2
hours on saturday!

Some comments inline.

On Tue, 7 Feb 2006 19:05:25 +0100 Markus Neteler <neteler at itc.it>

> Dear GRASS Community,
> after returning from the Chicago meeting I'll summarize below some
> relevant points of the meeting discussions there which were supported
> by IRC chats. 25 people attended the meeting, a peak of 50-60 people
> were listening/writing in the dedicated IRC channels. Comments from
> IRC were picked up [1] and discussed, a couple of people also
> followed via telephone.
> Here key points from the meeting:
>    * Attendees represented over 17 different groups/companies and
> over 20 different open source/free software geospatial projects
>    * Foundation name: "Open Source Geospatial Foundation" or just
> OSGeo. Domain will be: http://osgeo.org (already registered, but not
> yet set up)
>    * Initial membership started with attendees who met in Chicago
>    * Initial/Interim board elected (from a longer list of proposals):
>        - Arnulf Christl - Mapbender/ccgis.de, Germany
>        - Chris Holmes - GeoServer, Open Plans, U.S.
>        - Gary Lang - MapGuide, Autodesk, U.S.
>        - Markus Neteler - GRASS, ITC-irst, Italy
>        - Frank Warmerdam - GDAL, OGR, etc., Canada

Good mixture between geographers and coders though.
Nice to see you there :-)

>    * Adding more members and board members will be discussed shortly
>        after having set up the infrastructure.
> New "OSGeo" mailing lists and Web site will be set up shortly, also
> the minutes and results from the meeting will be posted there. This
> will take a couple days to get this together. We had 10 hours in the
> meeting room and yet very little time to actually post documents.
> For me it was a very successful and productive meeting. While being
> very skeptical before, I am now confident that the "migration" from a
> Mapserver oriented foundation to a global "Geo" foundation happens.
> Looking at the interim board, we see that various different projects
> are represented from (currently) two continents.
> Initially, I was skeptical as I wanted to avoid a Mapserver/Mapguide
> centric foundation, and only limited to software issues. The scope of
> the new OSGeo foundation is much wider and includes also GIS (not
> only mapping), promotion of Free geospatial data (for parts of the
> world outside North America) and education issues such as a GFOSS
> core curriculum. Of course these ideas are still templates which have
> to be filled by the communities.

One point I thought to put on the carta before the conference was
the free geospatial data part. Good to see that this will be one of the
focus of OSGeo (at least outside US).

> The goal is to establish the new foundation as reference point for all
> relevant GFOSS communities. It was discussed to make the new web
> server a "one stop shop" for the participating projects. This would
> help to avoid that people have to seek many different web sites etc.
> But also a sourceforge style shall be avoided.

Good idea. Supplying all relevant part for building a Free GIS/mapping
setup should be grabbed from a centralized place. However, this is not
an easy task to setup.

> An idea is to migrate projects to the foundation to homogenize the
> look and feel while getting provided all necessary infrastructure
> (Web server, Mailing lists, bug tracker, compile farm, whatever
> else). Things are inspired by the successful Apache Foundation.
> However, the new foundation will not strictly follow their principles
> which would not make much sense either. For example, a transfer of
> the copyright does simply not work for many projects and is also not
> desired by everyone. But I see many benefits in migrating the project
> hosting to a single server (network):
> - harmonized look and feel ("branding" of the GFOSS projects to appear
>   as well established and cohesive suggestion to users and clients)
> - less work at our end of maintaining the infrastructure
> - possibility to easily redirect issues/bug reports across communities
> - if possible, compile farm to generate packages for various operating
>   systems
> - more...
> However, this will certainly take time and details have to be worked
> out.
> For now, a couple of projects were suggested to be initial projects in
> the new foundation:
> - Mapbender
> - MapBuilder
> - MapGuide
> The Mapserver project is currently doing a poll in their community
> (probably to avoid the November/December problems).

Did you decide "by your own" that GRASS will to be part of the
foundation? BTW, I fully support this idea, because GRASS is a mayor
tool for "creating" data, which is needed to present them...

> Since copyrights are not touched, my suggestion is to get GRASS into
> the foundation. It plays an important role as the only complete free
> GIS. So it should become a visible part of the open source GIS
> product stack. 

full ACK.

> Unless the question appears to move
> software/communication channels to a foundation infrastructure, not
> much will change for now. But GRASS will be recognized as key project
> in this initiative. This may be a good opportunity to get out of the
> niche. Cohesion and transparency are also desired to avoid parallel
> development of identical algorithms.
> I see a major advantage in improving the cohesion between the various
> GFOSS projects out there, the Saturday meeting changed my skeptical
> opinion into a favourable one. Since I was suggested and elected into
> the board, we'll have some influence to get things into the right
> direction.

Again, nice to see you there

> There are various blogs about the new foundation:
>  http://mappinghacks.com/index.cgi/2006/02/04#osgeo-foundation
>  http://www.perrygeo.net/wordpress/?p=27
>  http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=2092&trv=1
>  http://spatialgalaxy.net/?cat=3
>  http://geotips.blogspot.com/2006/02/open-source-geospatial-foundation.html
>  ...and more...
> Images (for now still on the old server since the osgeo.org isn't set
> up yet): http://www1.mapserverfoundation.org/chicago-pics/images.html
> Hoping for comments,
> best regards
>  Markus
> [1] http://logs.qgis.org/geofoundation/
>      -> #geofoundation.2006-02-04.log
>      -> [Community] [Funding] [Governance] [Legal]

BTW, nice to read the logs, Schuyler did an amazing job on IRC.


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