[OSGeoLive] OSGeoLive v14 ISO and VM -- Call for Input

Brian M Hamlin maplabs at light42.com
Wed Oct 21 10:24:23 PDT 2020

All Stakeholders, Project Leaders and OSGeo members :

/I trust this email finds you and yours well at this challenging time.

   Please consider this upcoming situation -- *What is the content of 
the OSGeoLive 2020 4GB ISO*, and *what other delivery formats are 
important to you and your user and developer communities*.


   Yesterday at the weekly *OSGeoLive IRC meeting*, the upcoming 
OSGeoLive 'Focal' 2020 LTS Linux distro was discussed. We face a disk 
space challenge, as usual, but this year it seems that the entire 
collection of default apps and specialty apps, has grown in size. The 
disk space on a 4GB ISO is full and now overflowing. *There is not 
enough disk space to fit on the ISO 4GB format,* even with clever hacks 
and careful pruning, as we have done each year.

    In the past, we always ship a Virtual Machine format [1] along with 
the ISO, for convenience.  The cloud is increasingly important each 
year, since the massive increase in raw data, common now in all sciences 
and especially geophysical sciences, requires the cloud to access.  It 
is widely known that the launch of remote sensing satellites has 
accelerated, and the data they provide has accelerated.  Cloud-ready 
environments using Docker (not preferred) or other toolchains, are 
important for a wider audience. At the same time, I believe we need to 
support desktop computers for individuals, with or without the Internet.

  So, *the ISO format is the natural solution for desktop computers*.  A 
Virtual Machine format is useful, but suffers from very long download 
times (3 hours on residential DSL at 300K-per-second) -- an "all or 
nothing" you could say.  Docker images or other cloud-ready toolchains 
are increasingly important in geophysical science, because huge, current 
data is only practical using a cloud infrastructure.

   A second Point of View.   What are the uses of the OSGeo projects ?   
Desktop Applications like QGis, only make sense on a desktop computer.   
Server software like Geoserver or Mapserver, have always been hosted 
across a network, and fit easily into the cloud model.  Command line 
utilities (GDAL), programming libraries, and others are somewhere in 

   If the purpose of the ISO disk to to "showcase all OSGeo Projects", 
can we leave Geoserver or Mapserver out of the desktop ISO ?  Is this 
consistant with the mission of OSGeoLive ?   This is a community 
decision and I open the discussion with this email.

   Does OSGeo have the resources, time and energy to supply cloud-ready 
toolchains using the formats and plumbing required ? Will that change 
over time ?  Personally I believe we have to look at the core, long-term 
success of various other FOSS software, to understand what has worked, 
what is consistent with community values, and what is practical going 

   Lastly, I want to highlight one set of projects that is not OSGeo, 
but is transforming education at the university level -- Jupyter, 
JupyterHub and Binder.  We have shipped "decent" Jupyter support since 
it was called iPython, at OSGeoLive. We can continue to do this.  
However the cloud-nature of the Jupyter Notebooks cuts to the center of 
this discussion, because Jupyter is easily accessible for education, is 
certainly a network-centeric deployment, and is a common and practical 
interface to cloud hosted massive data resources.  People probably know 
that all the major cloud providers have supported some version of hosted 
Jupyter Notebook support in the past four years. The Jupyter brand is 
strong, we have a lot in common with the inclusive, educational mission 
at Jupyter, and Jupyter Notebooks are easily and naturally useful in the 
geophysical sciences, modelling, data science and other current topics.

   thanks and best regards from Berkeley, California    --Brian M 
Hamlin  /  MAPLABS  /  OSGeoLive PSC

[1] This Virtual Machine format is an image that is recognized by the 
major common Virtual Machine host software, and can run in the cloud or 
on a local piece of hardware. https://live.osgeo.org/en/download.html

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/osgeolive/attachments/20201021/cccba9c0/attachment.html>

More information about the osgeolive mailing list