New Releases From GIS-Python

We're waiting until people get back to work to announce on Freshmeat, FreeGIS, and plone.org, but there is now a new PrimaGIS 0.5 release, supported by releases of ZCO 0.7 and PCL 0.10. This first release from the new project site features integration with the MochiKit AJAX library, compatibility with Plone 2.1, a users manual, and a host of other improvements.

MapServer and Autodesk 2006

Regarding the proposed MapServer-Autodesk Foundation, here are a few things I'm wishing for in 2006:

  • A reality check. Some parties need to pull their heads out and begin to acknowledge that MapServer and Tux are competing for users and mind share whether they are under the same umbrella organization or not. Insisting that there is no competition is either naive or disingenuous.
  • No name churn: conserving the MapServer project name would provide a core of continuity and stability during a big Foundation move.
  • Disclosure of financial ties between parties to the open letter would help reassure members of the MapServer community that these representatives do not have conflicts of interest. Or maybe it would do the opposite ;) Whatever, let's get this out in the open.
  • Focus on software. There is yet no common user or developer community between the MapServer and Tux projects, and, for all we know, there may never be one. The only sure common ground (let's drop the anti-ESRI nonsense) is made of mutual software dependencies: GEOS, PROJ.4, GDAL, GD, and SWIG. Looking after these could be a great way for a foundation to start.

What has been proposed to date appears to be more of a business association than a software foundation, with an undue emphasis on branding and publicity. I'll assert right here that putting marketing ahead of the software will be the end of our happy open source geospatial run.

Update: Howard has a response.

Comments

Re: MapServer and Autodesk 2006

Author: MikeD

I suppose you are right on your first point, Tux and Mapserver will technically compete against each other in that they do basically the same thing. In comments on the mailing list I emphasized that, within a foundation, an attitude of competition (the success of one project depending on the failure of another, and actively campaigning for that failure) would be a bad one. I would hope that projects can succeed or fail on their merits. I whole heartedly agree with your other three points. As for marketing, my interest in building the marketing side of the foundation is because that is where the existing projects are the most lacking. There are a large number of highly skilled programmers already doing wonderful things for Mapserver, and my paltry out-of-practice C skillz couldn't program me out of a paper bag. If I am to contribute in any meaningful way it will probably be in a non-technical area. -Mike

Antialiasing Cost

Howard asked me if I had a sense of the cost of antialiased lines. I set up a few tests using the timeit and mapscript modules, and found that the cost of polygon filling still outweights the cost of antialiased polygon stroking. Without fill, antialiasing is at least twice as costly, and increases in cost with the width of the line.

Is it Really so Confusing?

Some people still don't get the difference between open source (ala MapServer) and open standards (ala OGC). Clearly, people were clamoring in the comments on Spatially Adjusted for the benefits of open source, particularly attention to bugs. Nobody was complaining about open standards.

Antialiasing Arrives in MapServer

After a couple late nights by Steve Lime, pretty much any line or polygon outline can now be antialiased in MapServer 4.8-beta3.

Comments

Re: Antialiasing Arrives in MapServer

Author: Howard Butler

Any idea how expensive this is going to be?

Re: Antialiasing Arrives in MapServer

Author: Sean Gillies

I definitely want to find out how much this costs. We could check it out by modifying the timing tests under mapscript/python/tests/timing.

Re: Antialiasing Arrives in MapServer

Author: Brian Flood

very cool. I think the cost of rendering is something to look at but the extra cost of file size (pixel bloat) should be considered as well. It shouldn't be that big a deal but the resulting image size will definitely get larger. (note the antialiased Google Maps tiles are GIFs with an optimized palette, certainly something to think about) cheers brian

Re: Antialiasing Arrives in MapServer

Author: Guillaume

I didn't find the method to antialias from mapscript. ANy clue ?

Inside the Teepee

There have been way too many press releases, recycled and regurgitated press releases, and pages of pure nonsense about the MapServer Foundation. Today, Howard Butler takes us inside the teepee for a look at the process.

Comments

Re: Inside the Teepee

Author: Cornbread

D@mn Hobu hit the nail on the head with that post!

Open Is As Open Does

Kevin Flanders has a new editorial in Directions on the MapServer Foundation brouhaha. Like me, he's ready to give Autodesk a fair shot at joining the community. Unlike me, he blames the blowback not on missteps by the Foundation founders, but on the small-mindedness of Joe six-pack MapServer user. That's disappointing. I think a little more openness from the start would have been sincerely appreciated by the community.

Comments

Re: Open Is As Open Does

Author: James Fee

So what is next Sean? Posting about the long tail of the Mapserver Community?

Re: Open Is As Open Does

Author: Sean Gillies

I am so tired of "long tail". What is next is that I want to start meeting more Autodesk programmers, and find out what their software can and can't do. Until developers start mixing it up, the Foundation is largely hype.