[Live-demo] Retirement and rejuvenation of past programs

Hamish B hamish.webmail at gmail.com
Mon Apr 24 16:38:46 PDT 2017

Hi all,

to document some offline discussions here are some notes on some packages
which I've maintained in the past. (ah those halcyon days when I had free
moments to work on things properly...)

GMT: In theory this should just be an apt-get install and minor tweak to
the $PATH in /etc/bash.bashrc or /etc/profile.d/.  The harder part is
providing a decent quickstart for a complicated-to-use package. Package
remains popular in the world of geophysics, open any AGU/EGU* publication,
Science magazine etc and you'll see lots of GMT-produced maps.

[*] Hi to anyone there

MB Systems:  n.b. depends/built on GMT
 - commit metrics may show few contributers but they are full time funded
programmers who act as the gatekeepers for community patches. The mailing
lists and userbase is quite active.
As a meta thing I'd suggest to add some sort of mailing list/forum activity
to the metrics as an additional indicator of project health, if possible.
Quickstart doc could be parsed for the link?
 - Sending some needed patches to the current DebianGIS package maintainers
is on my todo list. Alas build systems do not stand still.

OpenCPN: fun, easy to use, vibrant community, arguably better than any
commercial offerings in the space, lots of plugins, ... but no marketing
budget beyond word of mouth between boaties. As long as the packages are in
good shape I'd vote to keep it going.

ZyGrib: not nearly as refined as OpenCPN but fills its niche quite well and
puts weather forecasting in the hands of the people in a way that (as far
as I'm aware) no other software does. Used together with a OpenCPN's GRIB
overlay plugin there's a gorgeous gee-whiz demo available. I'll have to
prepare a screenshot to show that off.

Sahana/Ushahidi: I really like having some blatant FOSS-for-good software
on the disc, but the communities really need to step up here to maintain
them. The "geo" tie may not be as "hard-geo" as geo-format processing
tools, but at least the main work-canvas is a map and it passes any
geo-as-global (e.g. national geographic/bbc world) test.

OSM: if metrics show Merkaartor/osmosis are withering on the vine, so be
it.  Note some of the tools are part of the OSM data city-extract
production tool-chain so not much extra work to keep them around. I assume
some small background tools can be left on the disc even if a
quickstart/summary doesn't make the cut?

R: is it "geo" enough to justify inclusion/megabytes used? (same question
for Octave [does the m_map toolbox for Matlab work with Octave? FOSS-enough

Viking: I haven't been paying attention to how active it is. If new
versions are coming in from ubuntu and the install is little more than
apt-get install I'd say keep it, otherwise if it is stalled for years and
little interest I'd say dump it.

As a general thing, if projects want to stay they can send someone to help.

I'd suggest to leave GMT/MB Sys/OpenCPN/ZyGrib in my hands, and if updates
are not in place by 15 May put non-working things onto the hibernation
track as needed.

best regards from deep in the south pacific,
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