Assignment2: History, infrastructure, and demographics of the GeoNode project

Why is the project open? Is it for ideological reasons, or practical reasons, or both?

Geonode is a Spatial Data infrastucture to collect, evaluate and share spatial data. It was born as a result of World Bank (WB) quest to compute disaster risk modelling for developing countries in its international disaster reduction efforts. Costly private softwares are a huge burden to developing nations and so WB wanted to build local capacity around financially sustainable software. They decided to open source so that these freely available web-based tools could be a great means to collect and share data among various organisations.

Another key aspect why GeoNode was made an open-source was to maintain decentralized development. By dedicating their effort to the underlying open source communities, they can share the results of their work with as many people as possible. Therefore, we can say, GeoNode was born due to both ideological as well as practical reasons.

This definitely resonates with my purpose to contribute in the open source project in the first place. For eg: Geo Node uses various open-source tools like GeoExt, Django to develop a rubust platform for Geo Spatial Data management so that community can use it in the end. It is a win-win situation for everyone both givers as well as takers.

How big is the community? Where are its members located? How did you find out?

Currently, Geonode has 113 memmbers who use or develop the sotware Mailing list. They have around 55 developers who contribute to the project on Github regularly. Github link.

What kind of product is it and how is it licensed?

GeoNode is licenced under GPL (General Public Lincence). GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works. It is designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software or its source code.

What sort of infrastructure does it use? Why does it use those tools and not other options?

GeoNode uses Django server, Twitter Bootstrap for Frontend, Open Street maps for laying data on the maps and GeoExt, an open source JavaScript Toolkit for Rich Web Mapping Applications. Details on GeoNode Webpage All these tools are robust, well tested and used by many. The open-source community using these infrastructure are very active and helpful to solve each others problems. This could be the reason why GeoNode uses these infrastructure.

However, Geonode is a very specialized software where they used these open-source tools in a particular configuration like Linux OS. As a result, Geonode doesnot support many operating systems and versions. I experienced a great difficulty in installing GeoNode on my Mac. Since they do not support Mac, I installed Virtual Box for running Ubuntu OS. However, my virtual box crashed after GeoNode installation and all my work is lost. I had to re-create the whole system again. I hope that coding and development on GeoNode in future will not be that painful.

added Comments Thomas 11/6/2013 (see commit description)