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From "Mattmann, Chris A (388J)" <>
Subject Re: Exploring possible contribution
Date Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:28:42 GMT
Hi Martin,

On Jul 25, 2012, at 3:10 AM, Martin Desruisseaux wrote:

> Hello Adam and all
> Thanks you very much for your encouragement, and sorry for the late reply.

No worries!

> To get peoples informed on the progress, as recommended on the OSGeo board mailing list
we posted our request to the GeoTools mailing list. They had a non-definitive vote yesterday
which resulted in 2 "inclined yes" and 2 "inclined no" (
However they mentioned in their discussion that our project started before the copyright assignment,
which could allow us to proceed anyway. Nevertheless we prefer of course to get a formal OSGeo
approval. The OSGeo board will listen to the GeoTools point of view, but we have good hope
that they will also stay in agreement with their charter, as we expected when we signed the
copyright assignment to OSGeo (not to GeoTools).

Great, yeah I understand the community good will perspective.

> The Eclipse foundation is launching a "LocationTech" group, which seems similar in goals
to OSGeo. The GeoTools, GeoServer and uDig projects are likely to join that group.

Do you have any indication as to why GeoTools, GeoServer, and uDig would rather go to Eclipse
than come to Apache? I would welcome them all here. And of course, I think a non copyleft
license like the ALv2 is the superior choice for a Geospatial toolkit compared to copyleft
licenses (that may impose downstream impacts), that's why I started the SIS project.

> Their initial plan was to make an exception to the Eclipse licensing policy in order
to accept GeoTools with its LGPL license. However our request to re-license our code to Apache
caused some GeoTools members to propose re-licensing GeoTools to Eclipse. If GeoTools makes
such re-licensing, it may facilitate our request to OSGeo since it is a similarly-permissive

That's the thing. LGPL isn't similarly permissive to ALv2. In fact they are quite different,
depending on the versions (e.g., LGPL2, LGPL3, compared to ALv2).

ALv2 is a non-copyleft license, with upstream patent termination. LGPL is a (weak) copyleft
license, with the ability to bake in downstream restrictions.

> The code that we are proposing for Apache SIS consideration is similar
in functionalities to GeoTools, which is why the first reply to our request on the GeoTools
mailing list raised the question of economical interests.

I'm not sure how economical interests play into the fold really. ALv2 allows anyone downstream
to use the software however they want. IMHO, it's extremely more permissive than the current
situation in Geospatial toolkits and APIs for Java, which by my accounts in 2010 were mostly
copyleft licenses. IME, copyleft licenses prevent commercial companies in most situations,
e.g., like IBM, Oracle, Google, etc., from contributing their developer time because the copy
can't turn around on the consumer end of the open source, and include that open source in
their commercial products without inheriting the upstream copyleft restrictions.

> But in theory, the OSGeo foundation is supposed to make the promotion of open source

Yep, I think that's a great thing for OSGeo. I would encourage them to leverage the ASF to
open source more
of their geospatial software -- I think Apache is a great home for cross fertilization of
the geospatial community
with the larger, broader technologies here at the ASF.

> We have been approached by LocationTech for joining them. We had very long debates and
feel more inclined to join Apache.

Great to hear! :)  Of course my personal interest would be to have you guys join up with SIS.

> One reason is that we are not necessarily searching for the biggest community, but rather
for a community sharing similar goals and interests. We work mostly with scientific research
institutes, which sometime have different priorities than the mass-market ones (e.g. supporting
data structured in a NetCDF-like way has significant influence on the API). While science
and mass-market are not exclusive, the issue is sometime just a matter of focus.


> However we are considering to propose hosting GeoAPI on LocationTech. If the Eclipse
foundation accepts, GeoAPI would still copyrighted by OGC under OGC license (which is BSD-like),
milestones could be released by LocationTech but normative releases would still have to go
through the OGC standardisation process. If Eclipse accepts, GeoAPI could be a glue between
OGC, Apache and Eclipse where some collaboration happen.

Cool, well up to you guys but Apache could also be a home for GeoAPI too -- but again up to
you guys. Not sure of the precise
thought process behind bringing that part to Eclipse, but it's probably b/c I lack the full

> I will come back with more information has I get some.

Thanks for the debrief and for collaborating and coordinating with us here in the SIS community.


Chris Mattmann, Ph.D.
Senior Computer Scientist
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
Office: 171-266B, Mailstop: 171-246
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA

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