[osgeo4w-dev] [Board] Writing up OSGeo priorities

Tamas Szekeres szekerest at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 02:26:06 PST 2013

Hi All,

With regards to osgeo4w I think we might consider various things to make
the approach more reliable. Not sure I have a strong opinion about the
exact direction, but at least the followings should be reconsidered.

1. Packages coming from various sources being made by hand in a non-regular
fashion may cause the overall system fragile, incompatibilities between
versions dependencies may likely happen. The overall build process is out
of the control, it's quite difficult to reproduce at least the same build
without requiring the package providers to participate. We are reusing  the
same dependencies among various projects which is not necessarily be the
only way to follow.
In my opinion if we continue to go with this multi-package concept, we
could probably make it more reliable if we don't let the users to create
their packages by hand. We should provide a build environment (a dedicated
server) to provide the builds and the users should just author their build
scripts which would check out the sources and compile it regularly or the
build would be triggered by someone who is authorized to do it.

2. The current cygwin based installer is not necessarily be convenient for
most Windows users.  I consider on Windows the users would rather require
pre-bundled msi installers which would make things up and running instead
of dealing versions and sub-package dependencies in mind. Users would not
want to be in familiar with which version of zlib or curl is installed for
MapServer or QGIS to run correctly. Installers may however contain feature
selection options and further customizations according to the requirement
of the project specifically.
For example QGIS and MapServer may have similar dependencies (like GDAL)
but it not necessarily be the same version. Project may be installed into
different target directories with different versions of the same
dependencies side by side. This would let the projects provide more
consistent builds without being affected by versions of external
dependencies. Some of the projects may require further actions which could
also be included in the installers as custom actions. For example we may
probably install MapServer  with IIS registration, or bundled with a Web
server like Apache or both.
We could however aim to use the same version of GDAL between multiple
projects, but it would be essential to build the complete system in a
centralized fashion and making sure about the correct build order according
to the project hierarchies. Packages from a single project should also be
build in a single process. I doubt it is a good solution for example to
build GDAL core and the plugins or the bindings different times.

Since #1 is mostly about a build concept we could probably start with
authoring the buildsystem and then build several installer on the top and
the cygwin or the msi based packages could exist side by side.

Best regards,


2013/3/2 Paolo Cavallini <cavallini at faunalia.it>

> Hash: SHA1
> Il 02/03/2013 01:16, Frank Warmerdam ha scritto:
> > I must admit I'm not absolutely certain what the best way is
> > to move OSGeo4W forward.  Given the right person interested
> > in working on the project full time (or a substantial part time)
> > at a "scrappy" price, I'd push for funding but I'm not sure that
> > such a person exists.
> Well, I think it depends a lot on what do you mean with "scrappy": can you
> work out a
> potential budget? I'm sure we can find support from our huge Windows power
> users base.
> > There are also some technical direction issues with
> > OSGeo4W that remain open.
> >  - Should we stay focused on just 32bit or add/switch to 64bit?
> IMHO adding 64bit is important.
> >  - Should we do "complete refreshes" every could of
> >    years instead of the package by package updating
> >    that works well at the high level but not so well down
> >    in the low level packages (like GDAL).
> IMHO a continuous refresh (à la Debian unstable) is the way to go.
> > Anyways, I don't want to dive into great detail on the board
> > list, but I do think OSGeo4W is worthy of OSGeo funding
> > if the project had a clear plan how such funding would
> > work.
> Agreed fully - thanks for your thoughts.
> All the best.
> - --
> Paolo Cavallini - Faunalia
> www.faunalia.eu
> Full contact details at www.faunalia.eu/pc
> Nuovi corsi QGIS e PostGIS: http://www.faunalia.it/calendario
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