[GRASS5] GRASS Project Steering Committee and more

Markus Neteler neteler at itc.it
Fri Feb 10 12:15:32 EST 2006

Dear GRASS community,

in the Chicago meeting the GRASS project was suggested to
as one of the initial OSGeo foundation projects.

So far I only received positive feedback on the idea of
moving GRASS more formally to the foundation (while the
individual authors are keeping their copyright which is
a major difference to the Apache Foundation.)

A couple of things will have to be sorted out in the
coming months to make GRASS's membership possible (below
list is inspired by Frank's mail to the GRASS project):

o We will need to form a "GRASS Project Steering Committee"
  (PSC). Foundation projects need a formalized management
  which may be desired in any case. I would be glad to 
  receive suggestions of names for this committee. For
  inspiration, please look at the MapServer Technical
  Steering Committee as described here:


o One benefit of the foundation is some degree of legal
   support and protection for the project. The flip side of that
   is that the foundation needs to ensure some degree of
   rigor and process in how code comes into the project. One
   part of that is getting committers to sign a legal agreement
   indicating that they agree that changes they commit will
   be under the license of GRASS (GPL) and that they have 
   the right to submit the code (they wrote it, it is not
   patented, have permission from their employer, etc).

o We will have to review the existing code base (which is
   huge - more than 500000 lines of source code in GRASS 6).
   Luckily a major code review was already done for GRASS 5.
   Also the "Debianization" process was performed for GRASS
   5 and GRASS 6.

o It is suggested to move the support infrastructure for GRASS
   to new foundation systems. Stuff like CVS (maybe SVN then),
   and bugtracker and mailing lists. The web site will also
   likely appear under a foundation subdomain (ie. grass.osgeo.org)
   with hopefully the known mirror site structure as before
   with grass.itc.it, grass.ibiblio.org etc as principal mirror
   sites. If so, the web site will be migrated into a contents
   management system (CMS) in a harmonized "foundation style".
   A CMS will hopefully solve the problem to get more people
   involved in the Web site contents management.

o We hope to establish options to enable sponorship for the
   foundation - be as direct funding or for selected foundation
   projects. Details have to be worked out. My suggestion is to 
   create national tax-exempt organizations (such as the
   German GRASS Anwender-Vereinigung e.V. which already exists)
   which may offer to receive donations.

o For now we should think about nominating people with
   recognized contribution to the GRASS project, to
   free data, to whatever deems significant. A small paragraph
   describing why the candidate is proposed as member to
   the foundation is needed as well. This will be announced
   more formally soon. Please see ongoing discussions here:

(Nearly) nothing is set in stone yet.
More details will follow, a couple of official documents
are being currently prepared

Your feedback is welcome.


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