[mapserver-dev] Expanding the MapServer Project

Daniel Morissette dmorissette at mapgears.com
Fri Mar 25 10:13:22 EDT 2011

Hi everyone,

As you may have guessed already, I am very supportive of this idea. We 
have several clients/users who currently use the 
MapServer/TinyOWS/TileCache combo, and a very common request/complaint 
is the trouble of managing three configuration files. This becomes a 
serious issue when you have hundreds of layers split over a number of 
mapfiles and need to apply each change three times.

So a tighter integration between MapServer, TinyOWS and mod_geocache (to 
replace TileCache) would make all those users happy.

Another selling point for the new combo is that it's all C/C++, so we 
get rid of the Python dependency related to TileCache. Nothing against 
Python, it's a nice language, but in some cases having to install 
another language engine can be an issue.

Also, once the MapServer PSC/Devs stand behind those smaller projects, 
they get an increased bus number, which increases the confidence of 
potential users and facilitates widespread adoption of the tools.

One important point that was raised earlier is the license. I agree that 
any project that joins should have a compatible license, and ideally it 
should be possible to switch the new source to use the same license as 
MapServer already uses.

This is not an issue for TinyOWS which already uses a MIT/X11 license.

In the case of mod_geocache, it is currently under the Apache 2.0 
license. Thomas: can you please confirm that (as the sole copyright 
holder) you would see no problem in relicensing the code under the same 
license as MapServer?


On 11-03-24 12:47 PM, Lime, Steve D (DNR) wrote:
> Hi All: Wanted to drop folks a note about a topic that came up over
> beers in Montreal. It has to do with expanding the core functionality
> the “project” can deliver by bring a few select external projects in
> under the MapServer umbrella. The two we were thinking about initially
> are mod_geocache (for tiling support) and TinyOWS (for basic WFS-T).
> Why? Well, beyond the technical connections to MapServer there are
> several reasons.
> For MapServer users this would provide a more complete set of
> functionality on the server-side than is currently available. Instead of
> sending folks to an tilecache or whatever for tiling, and GeoServer for
> WFS-T we could provide much of that functionality as part of the core.
> That’s not to say that folks couldn’t or wouldn’t want to use the
> external solutions but in many cases we could deliver a complete solution.
> For these external projects moving into MapServer provides a home. Both
> of the projects mentioned are relatively small and MapServer would help
> establish a user base for them and hopefully increase their level of
> adoption. I think it could also attract new developers, at the very
> least those with commit rights for MapServer. This will also promote (or
> perhaps even force) tighter integration with MapServer core. An initial
> idea is pulling mapfile handling out into a libmapfile that could be
> used and maintained cooperatively.
> Bringing projects into MapServer is not a trivial activity and would
> take some time. We’re thinking it would involve tasks such as:
> - Vetting source and licensing of incoming projects (e.g. akin to OSGEO
> incubation)
> - Source, testing and build environment restructuring
> - Integration/migration of svn and trac (or the like) environments
> - Integration/migration of websites and documentation
> Finally, the MapServer PSC would become the governing organization for
> these new pieces. As a result, it would make sense to add the project
> leads for each project to the PSC (Thomas Bonfort (mod_geocache) is
> already a member).
> This is the first significant project restructuring for MapServer, but I
> think it makes sense and positions MapServer as more than just a map
> maker. Thoughts?
> Steve
> (Note: I shared this privately with the MapServer PSC to gauge interest
> and was encouraged to bring it to the –dev list…)
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Daniel Morissette
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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