[Incubator] New Application: GeoToolkit

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Tue May 26 14:15:19 EDT 2009

Martin Desruisseaux wrote:
> However this raise an other concern that OSGeo may need to adress. Given 
> that it is so easy to clone a DVCS, put a few (trivial or not) changes 
> in it and release that, how a compagny (like Geomatys) which put a huge 
> amount of energy in the development of that toolkit can be credited for 
> their work? The thing that can scare Geomatys to the point of staying 
> out of OSGeo would be that someone else takes Geotoolkit code and push 
> their modified flavor of it as if they were the main author (they don't 
> need to said that explicitly - I have meet last automn developers of the 
> gvSig project who were convinced that the GeoTools referencing module 
> has been wrote by an other compagny), getting contract at the expense of 
> Geomatys.


I'm not too sure what to say about the above.  I will note that
Autodesk did not place any special credit requirements into
FDO or MapGuide, nor did Refractions do so for PostGIS (which
has applied, but not been accepted yet into incubation).

To a large extent "open sourcing" means giving up the degree of
control that might be necessary to avoid such situations.  It is
customary for leading developers to depend on their reputation to
give them a strong position on getting contracts related to an open
source project.  I'm not sure what guarantees could be offered.  If
this is very important to Geomatys it might be best if they trademarked
"GeoToolkit", and managed the project more as a corporate open source
project.  This would give a degree of control over the GeoToolkit name
and allow credit control while still operating under an open source

>> I also expect project to be able to produce blessed releases which
>> they believe represent a reasonably solid and vetted level of readiness.
> We plan to perform mountly releases, starting at the begining of June. 
> The code is actually splitted in two repositories:
>   - geotoolkit, which contains code that I ported from GeoTools or 
> elsewhere
>     after cleaning. Large part of that code has been running for a while 
> (in
>     a different form) in GeoTools.
>   - geotoolkit-pending, which contains every else.
> My "dictatorial control" applies actually only on "geotoolkit"; I'm not 
> doing anything on geotoolkit-pending. As time allow, I pickup 
> "geotoolkit-pending" code that I move to "geotoolkit".

Well, this certainly can ensure a carefully reviewed and vetted release.

>> The reason I raise the issue is that I am still unclear on what
>> governance model is proposed.  I'm also not so clear what committer
>> means in the context of a DVCS or what a "blessed release" means in this
>> context.
> I have (for now) dictatorial control on the "geotoolkit" repository 
> which is hosted on hg.geotoolkit.org web site - only on that repository. 
> I said "for now" because I would be happy to leave control to other 
> members, providing I'm confident that they have a wide vision of what is 
> in that repository, a good understanding of concepts that I consider as 
> mandatory for being allowed to play in that repository (e.g. affine 
> transforms and the principles published in Josh's book "Effective 
> Java"), they agree with some principles that make Geotoolkit distinct to 
> some other projects (e.g. alignment on OGC/ISO standards, exactitude of 
> data more important than prety pictures even at the sacrifice of a 
> little bit of performance if we can't avoid to). I may wish to wait 
> longer before to give write access than what we did in GeoTools.

I am getting the impression then that committers will be those who
can update the "master" repository - named geotoolkit in your case.
It seems then that things don't really work that much differently than
the version control approaches I'm accustomed to other than that there
is nicer support for alternate branches without a central location.

In that case - for me - the committer/DVCS issue is essentially answered.
The outstanding issue is primarily once of how governance will work.  For
instance, how will new committers be selected.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

More information about the Incubator mailing list