Michael Barton michael.barton at asu.edu
Thu Feb 22 15:23:18 EST 2007


On 2/22/07 9:31 AM, "Hruby Martin" <hrubym at fit.vutbr.cz> wrote:

> Opening idea is that GRASS is too old fashioned to keep it in development
> in current programming style. Some people will agree, some people not. We
> just want to remake the GIS kernel and to rewrite current modules to the
> new fashion. The whole philosophy of GRASS should remain the same.
> So, this is a fork to main stream development. Or, better say, this is
> more a research. If someone wants to join, then is welcome ;-) This
> project may be a very nice experiment.

I know I promised not to add more to this general discussion, but there
seems to be some potentially serious misunderstanding here.

I'm speaking for myself, but am copying the GRASS Project Steering
Committee, because most comments from PSC members I've seen seem to agree.

If you sincerely want to contribute to making GRASS better, including
research into new code structures, this should be done within the existing
GRASS cvs, subversion server, and/or WIKI. In that way, your contribution
becomes transparent to the GRASS developer and user community, and ALL
developers with an interest in your work would have the opportunity see your
code and collaborate. From all the comments I've seen, such collaborative
work is welcomed.

However, if you want to see if you can create a NEW GIS and do NOT want to
work in the GRASS project environment, then your project should not use the
name GRASS. Beyond any murky copyright and other legal issues, this is a
courtesy to both the GRASS development team and users. There is no reason
for you to use GRASS in the name of a piece of software that has no
connection with the GRASS project--beyond telling us that you are doing it
and inviting GRASS developers to help you. This does not prevent you from
contributing code to the *real* GRASS project at any time in the
future...and I would hope that you decide to do so.

I continue to assume that you have the best of intentions to create an
applied thesis project that could potentially make a valuable contribution
to open source GIS software. However, on the face of it, it *appears* like
you are trying to hijack the GRASS name and 20+ year reputation--and some
GRASS developers if you can--to capture an existing user base and give
cachet to your startup project that has nothing to do with the GRASS
project. At the same time you offer nothing back to the *real* GRASS
project, suggesting that it simply be abandoned in favor of what you you are
planning because "it is too old fashioned to keep it in development in the
current programming style". Such an endeavor flies in the face of the ethics
of the broader open source community. If my assumption about your actual
intentions are correct, you will not want to appear to be working in this
way and I would urge you to rethink how you are approaching this.


Michael Barton, Professor of Anthropology
School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Center for Social Dynamics & Complexity
Arizona State University

phone: 480-965-6213
fax: 480-965-7671
www: http://www.public.asu.edu/~cmbarton

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