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[DebianGIS] Bits from the DebianGis Team



Hi Debian fellows

Long time has passed since the  DebianGis manifesto [1] appeared on this list.

During last DebConf  2007 in Edinburgh [2] we defined  a few medium time
goals for our very specialized project.  One of those goals is reporting
to the  general audience of developers  what we call our  "Status of the
Map"  - with  an expression  stolen  to the  widely known  OpenStreetMap
Project without any shame :) - in  order to show how sexy and attractive
a GIS-related  Debian sub-project can be,  say what we have  done so far
and what our next goals are.

So here we go, let me start the first official report from the DebianGis Team...

Who we are
---------- 

DebianGis is a  seasoned sub-project launched at the end  of 2004 thanks
to the efforts of a tiny group  of Debian developers and users. The main
goal of DebianGis  has been since then making Debian  the best GNU/Linux
distribution oriented to serious  Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
users and applications [3].

After  almost three  years of  development we  can say  to be  currently
the  reference distribution  on that  regards, with  also some  upstream
developers who follow our main mailing list and give feedback.

Almost exactly one year ago we  presented DebianGis at FOSS4GIS [4], the
leading FOSS conference of the GIS sector.

Status of the Map
-----------------

Our main efforts have been  concentrated on packaging the mainstream GIS
applications, such as  Grass, Qgis, GDAL/OGR, Mapserver  and PostGis for
both desktop  and server applications.  We also extended  maintenance to
main  libraries and  tools  previously under  management  of one  single
developer, like HDF4/5, Proj4 and GMT. A complete list of packages under
team  responsibility/monitoring  is  available  on  our  Package  Status
Thermometer [5], along with a still long list of packages which we would
like to  see added to the  Debian archive. Our main  packages are almost
continuously up-to-date in  sid/testing and globally in  very good shape
on  the subversion  archive,  so  that many  users  are  happy of  using
Debian  as their  main distribution  also for  leading edge  development
workstations.

Recently, we moved our old information  wiki on the official Debian wiki
and  dropped our  local archive  in favour  of maintenance  of DebianGIS
packages on  Backports.org [6] for  supporting stable backports  on more
architectures and minimizing administration efforts.

Next goals
----------

 * Some specific packages such as Ossim and gvSIG.
 * Provide the tools needed for a OpenStreetmap [7] workstation
 * Java-related Gis applications and libraries for desktop and servers, such as uDig and Geotools.
 * Perl Geo:: modules [8] packaging.
 * Python and Ruby modules/binding packaging.
 * Grass add-ons.
 * Maintainance of a live-cd (we already have tasksel stuff on svn) [9].
 * World domination. 

A more  specific and  long todo  list is available  on the  wiki, people
interested could use that to start working on some nice task.

What we need
------------

Our  goals are  ambitious  and  extended, we  need  more interested  and
motivated people,  possibly with  some GIS experience  in order  to have
positive feedback  with our  upstreams and being  able of  reproduce and
fixing complicated  bugs. Many GIS-related  program are complex  and are
charming challenges for maintainers. We don't like trivial packages :)

References:
~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2004/10/msg00007.html
[2] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianGis/EdiMeetingMinutes
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gis
[4] http://www.foss4g2006.org/
[5] http://pkg-grass.alioth.debian.org/debiangis-status.html
[6] http://www.backports.org/
[7] http://www.openstreetmap.org/
[8] http://search.cpan.org/search?query=Geo%3A%3A&mode=module
[9] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianGis/LiveImages


-- 
Francesco P. Lovergine
(in behalf of the DebianGis Team)

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