[Live-demo] Ideas for Collaboration

Hamish hamish_b at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 16 00:21:53 PDT 2009

Alex Mandel wrote:
> It had appeared to me that the current OSGeo related disc were
> being done using remastersys,

AFAIK it is. I'm complaining that that approach does not scale and does
not lend itself to collaboration or reuse, and suggesting a new approach
for post-FOSS4G2009 etc.

> The other issue though is that much of what people might add is not
> in .debs at all and bash scripts with wget and cp commands plus
> dropping in configure files might make those easier (I'm talking mostly
> Java apps here), 

the best solution for all is to try and package these java apps as .debs
and submit them to DebianGIS for official inclusion in debian and ubuntu.
anything else is (in the long term) wasted effort through duplication.
if the packages need a lot of work before that day, work can start in the
debianGIS svn and the build script can checkout the latest control/rules
files from debianGIS svn and build .debs locally. Or just add file blobs
[or ./configure; make; make install scripts] as a included file [or hook

> plus how do you configure the user home directory on these things,

just put files in chroot_local-includes/home/user/ or if using the
current debian-gis builder script I think there is a dir called "files/"
which will get copied there. you put them into. alternatively you could
put them in -includes/etc/skel, but that is duplication.

> and permissions, I seem to recall that was a problem previously.

I will check on that, but I've had no problems so far using the above
approach. At worst, a call to chown, chmod -R in rc.local could sort that
out in a sledgehammer way. :)

> But my real concern is that I don't want to waste time building the
> iso before I know that everything is working correctly.

well you'd still have to build the ISO, but you don't have to burn it
and reboot- you can run "qemu -cdrom binary.iso" to virtualize it.

see http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive/Howto/ISO

> Every one of the discs I've tried so far has had various issues that
> you didn't really figure out until you tried opening every Geo
> application installed to see what it does.

FWIW I've been using the iterative approach, writing down problems,
after I've collected enough fixes (5-10) I rebuild the ISO. Seems to
be not horribly inefficient.

> My thought about the multiple .iso files is that people want local
> versions, in local languages

simple as adding a boot line option, e.g. "Boot with 'live locale=nb_NO.UTF-8 keyb=no' or similar to activate your language."
see  http://wiki.debian.org/DebianGis/LiveImages

boot opts to automatically append can be added to one of the main
live-helper config/ files if you get sick of typing that each time you

> with local datasets.

add/symlink into the -includes/ dir as needed before building.

> Yes overall we can have 1 generic one we keep on osgeo downloads,
> but if gfoss.it wants an italian version in italian with italian
> language it should be easy to just change the script to pick a
> different language, and wget a different dataset.

as above, it is trivial to make those mods with live-helper.

> Since the primary use seems to be people who are going to teach demos,

I've got no idea what the future primary use will be, nor do I want it
to be limited to my local imagination.

> or exhibit and not just end users directly downloading I don't think
> the speed of iso download will be a giant issue, especially if
> it's a local project where you can post or hand copies to others, or
> order batch copies made.

As it stands, I can't help test or dev the FOSS4G2009 disk due to
bandwidth constraints (at our univ staff download fees are like NZ$0.25
per MB (with a M) for international. student access is free but little
better than dialup speeds) snail mail is too slow for collaborative devel.

> But we should investigate setting up a bittorrent tracker
> or download mirrors.


rsync allows binary diffs IIRC so could be used to sync changes in ISOs
for mirrors.

there used to be geotorrent.org but AFAICT that died when ER Mapper got
bought out by Leica. maybe this is something that OSGeo could host? It
would require someone to act as a moderator to avoid illegal trash from
being added.



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