[Proj] Migrate to github?

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Mar 16 20:22:26 EST 2015

On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 1:11 PM, Roger Bivand <roger.bivand at nhh.no> wrote:
> I apologise for pruning, but am posting via Gmane. As you'll have gathered,
> I don't think that things are this simple.
> One reason is that we really don't want outside contributors or hip
> developers without insight into the history and traditions of actually doing
> projections on computers making random changes. The level of specialist
> expertise needed is considerable. I know that I don't have it, but I'd be
> very concerned about pull requests bazaar style becoming the norm


I wanted to stress a couple points.

1) moving to github.com does not mean anyone can make changes in the
main code stream.  They can propose a pull request, but someone
responsible (an approved commiter) still needs to review and merge the
changes.  In this regard it is not much different than folks offering
patches via Trac though the process is perhaps more streamlined.

> Another is that there is no agreement that all projects are suited by a
> decentralised model for repositories.
> Yet another is the consideration that some jurisdictions may block a domain
> for whatever reasons. Currently proj is hosted on osgeo.org for everything,
> but if the code repository is elsewhere, will the releases also be hosted
> elsewhere?

My expectation would be that release tarballs would still live in the
usual location on downloads.osgeo.org.

> I agree that it is probable that the fashion for github will recede in some
> years. Maybe git will continue, it isn't unuseful, but seems better suited
> to front-end work.
> I believe that many scientists rely on proj to deliver research results of
> importance, results that can be predictably reproduced from securely run and
> archived repositories.
> I don't think that I'm being unnecessarily critical - finding and resolving
> the init bug #229 and the uoff bug #239 show that I've been trying to track
> where changes in proj break stuff in its use in R, and I'm grateful for the
> resolution of these issue. However, I don't think that a quick shift to
> github will solve the longer term problem of managing the project. Does
> MetaCRS still exist? Should its PSC help decide? Could you put up an RFC
> with a time line? Just getting handwaves on a list is too ad-hoc - I've seen
> it happen before and it wasn't a constructive experience.

I believe Howard ought to propose a migration to github (also
explaining trac, and wiki migration) as an RFC to the MetaCRS PSC.

I certainly see the MetaCRS PSC continuing to consider RFCs and final
releases and approving new commiters (ie. those allowed to merge pull
requests or commit to the osgeo organization github organization).

> If you believe that this has to be done your way, it also implies affirming
> your responsibility for the project in the long term, which, given your
> other major commitments, is maybe over-generous.
> My conservatism is also driven by a feeling of responsibility, in my case
> for many students and researchers using sp and rgdal in R, and through them
> proj4, for handling spatial data. Just keeping things running is plenty of
> work.
> In any case, I guess everyone will follow a lead, we certainly will.

I quite agree that github is no panacea.  I am concerned it will lose
a few folks who were tracking svn and understood that flow.  In fact,
I stopped tracking MapServer trunk when it moved to github.  But it
will still be accessable to anyone who wants to make an effort, and it
will be more natural for many others already on github (a transition I
have now mostly absorbed).  If Howard wasn't keen on it, I'd tend to
leave well enough alone for a while, but given his huge contributions
to PROJ.4, and his generally good instincts on this sort of thing, I'm
happy to be supportive of a transition.

Best regards,

I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Software Developer

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