What's up in DebianGis?

[ Please contribute with your notes about DebianGis stuff, for drafting the regular half-year report ]








DebianGis Report Draft (to be removed after issuing on d-d-a)

Hi Debian fellows

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

During last DebConf 2007 in Edimburgh [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 actractive can be a GIS-related
Debian sub-project, say what we have done so far and what are our next goals.

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 heading Debian to become
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 feedbacks.

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 maintainance
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 continuosly 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 favor of maintainance 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. 
 * Java-related Gis applications and libraries for desktop and servers, such as uDig and Geotools.
 * Perl Geo:: modules packaging.
 * Python and Ruby modules/binding packaging.
 * Grass add-ons.
 * World domination.

What we need

Our goals are ambitious and extended, we need more interested and motivated people, possibly with some GIS experiences
in order to have positive feedbacks 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 :)


[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/

Francesco P. Lovergine
(in behalf of the DebianGis team)