Live GIS Add Project

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What gets into OSGeoLive?

Priority for selecting OSGeoLive projects to package is:

  1. OSGeo Projects
  2. OSGeo Projects in incubation
  3. Stable GeoSpatial Open Source Software being presented in workshops, tutorials, or presentations at FOSS4G
  4. Other Stable GeoSpatial Open Source Software with establish project communities

Projects need to provide:

  • Project Champion
Someone who will liaise between the OSGeoLive team and the project and ensures the application remains up to date on OSGeoLive.

Which version to use?

  • Stable, always! LiveGIS users are usually seeing OSGeo newbies and will be turned off by any software bugs.

Install Script

Each project is to write a shell script which installs and configures your stable application into the OSGeoLive Xubuntu.

All install scripts for building the LiveGIS disc shall be licensed as LGPL.

When finished, ask the OSGeoLive team to reference your script from

Scripts are stored here:

The script may be as simple as:, which just

apt-get install mapserver

Projects that haven't been packaged for Ubuntu yet are slightly more complicated:

The uDig package is a good example:

  • 3rd Party Repositories: Create an <app>.list file with your repository in sources.list.d/ in the svn, in your script copy the file to the local machine like
cp -f ../sources.list/ubuntugis.list /etc/apt/sources.list.d/

don't forget to add the repository key like so

apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 68436DDF

Packaging conventions

  • sudo: Assume the script is to be executed as root. This means that sudo is only needed if you need to execute a command as e.g. the database user.
This means that ~/ refers to the directory /home/root/, so you should use ~user/ to reference /home/user/.
Preferred method is to put the USER_NAME and USER_HOME variables at the top, so these can be easily changed in all scripts if needed.
cp package_readme.txt "$USER_HOME"
  • Called twice: Assume that the script will be executed multiple times, (as people may re-run the install process to get it right).
Make sure that nothing is corrupted if the script runs a second time.
  • No Prompts: Try not to have any interactive steps which prompt the user for an answer, as we want the scripts to be run automatically. In particular, try running the script a second time, and see if you get prompted to overwrite files.
  • /tmp: Copy all downloads into /tmp/build_<package>/
Don't delete the /tmp/build_<package> directory afterwards. If the script is re-run, then time and bandwidth is saved by not having to download large files again.
  • Icons: Where appropriate, create an icon on the desktop which loads the application. The file should be called <packagename>.desktop and placed in /home/user/Desktop/ for further processing. The icons will be sorted and the Geospatial menu will be auto-generated from here.
Install <packagename>.png icon files to the /usr/share/icons/ directory.
see for an example
  • Browser bookmarks: If the application is launched from the browser, then include the application in Firefox bookmarks.
(Todo: How do we do this?)
  • wget: When downloading large files using wget, use the "-c" continue command, as it will not re-download files if they already exist, and will continue if one is partially downloaded:
wget -c package.tar.gz
Do not use -c if there is a chance the file of that name will change on the server. Add "--progress=dot:mega" to the wget command line if the file is at all large.
Tiny files should use wget's -nv (non-verbose) flag.
  • mkdir: Use -p (create parents too) option when creating a directory, as it doesn't complain about creating the directory a second time.
mkdir -p <dir>
  • Binary files: Do not put large (>5mb) binary files into the SVN repository without asking first. Due to SVN's preservation of history, once they are added they can never be removed, and forever-more clog up the backend database. Subversion is designed to be a source code management tool, not a data warehouse. There is space for large static data files (e.g. sample data) at Just ask on the mailing list if you'd like to house something there.

.deb Packaging

While many packages are installed from a bash script, ideally, applications should be packaged in UbuntuGIS or DebianGIS repositories, or in a Launchpad PPA (e.g. available from the UbuntuGIS repository). Next would be packaged into .debs from your own Ubuntu repository. An official Debian package could be used, but we'd have to rebuild it from source (this takes time but is fairly easy; usually these are already sucked in Ubuntu automatically so it isn't an issue).

If you must build from source, building a .deb package and installing that is preferred to "make install". If you do need to "make install", please set the path prefix to /usr/local/ and ensure that your package does not introduce namespace conflicts.

In practice a number of scripts employ a hybrid approach, with as much as possible installed via official packages, and the occasional plugin compiled from source.

A base set of build-tools are already included, but if you install a bunch of -dev packages to build your app, make sure that you clean them all up after you are done.

Using "gdebi" instead of "dpkg -i" can be useful for installing .deb packages manually, as it ensures that all dependencies are also installed.


Application Overview

The Application Overview is a one page marketing page written in RST wiki format and built using sphinx. It is to be stored here:<application>_overview.rst

An example, with tips on how to fill in the overview is here: You will also need:

(An 800x600 desktop image will be acceptable, but is not the preferred, as we plan to create additional higher quality PDF files from these images)
    • Screenshots with large areas of constant color (menus, etc.) should be in PNG format, screenshots containing large areas of imagery (satellite images, shaded relief DEMs, etc.) should be in JPEG format.
    • For PNGs please run a program like pngcrush to reduce the size of the image without degrading quality.

Once finished, you can verify your reST text looks good by building using the following:

(you will have to have Sphinx installed, it's in the python-sphinx Debian package)
 sudo apt-get install python-sphinx
 cd osgeo/livedvd/gisvm/trunk/doc/overview
 make html

You can then view the results in:


Try printing the html page from the browser, and ensure that the page is less than one page long. (The less words you write, the more people will read your documentation.)

Once finished, note your documentation is complete in the project status at:

Application Quick Start

The Application Quick Start defines detailed steps, with screen shots, for a new user to run one of the application's core functions. It should be able to be run in 5 to 10 minutes.

This documentation is highly desirable for our 4.0 release for FOSS4G 2010, and will become mandatory for all projects in following releases.

Source documentation is written in RST wiki format, is built using sphinx, and is stored here:<application>_quickstart.rst

An example, with tips on how to fill in the quickstart is here:

You will also need screen shots for each major step in the quickstart, taken from a 1024x768 display, and stored here:<application>_<screen_name>.png (A 800x600 desktop image will be acceptable, but is not the preferred, as we plan to create additional higher quality PDF files from these images)

Screenshots with large areas of constant color (menus, etc.) should be in PNG format, screenshots containing large areas of imagery (satellite images, shaded relief DEMs, etc.) should be in JPEG format.

Once finished, you can verify your RST text looks good by building using the following:

 cd osgeo/livedvd/gisvm/trunk/doc/<your_language>/quickstart
 make html

You can then view the results in:


Once finished, note your documentation is complete in the project status at:

Testing procedure

Provide test steps for your application as per the Live GIS Disc Testing wiki page.

Once the application has been included into a release candidate, ensure the test steps are executed and work on the release candidate. Write up the results as per the Live GIS Disc Testing wiki page.

Packaging considerations

The criteria used to select applications for the LiveGIS follow.

Technical limitations

Space considerations

  • DVD: approx 4.2gb compressed
  • USB stick: For a 4gb persistent USB stick with some room left over for user-workspace, 3.2-3.5gb compressed. (This pretty much works out to the DVD version minus the preloaded Mac and Windows installers)
  • Virtual Machines: theoretically unlimited, but in practice 20gb uncompressed

So smaller apps (<30mb) of lesser priority may easily slip in under the ire radar, but an external project that wants to use a 25% of the available disc space would be the first to be compromised away.

Memory considerations

Both Virtual Machines, and a LiveDVD images are likely to be constrained by limited memory. So to reduce memory usage. Disk image size is not of major concern, as we can just distribute less data.

The following principles should be followed.

  • Do not start applications upon power up. (Ie, don't start deamons, allow users to start them instead).
  • Set up examples which, by default, don't depend on other applications. Less applications open, means less memory. Ie, Have GeoServer access a shapefile instead of PostGIS.
  • Try to avoid scenarios which write data to disk, as disk space in the Live DVD is stored in RAM, and is not cleared afterward.

File permissions and filesystem user IDs can get garbled during the ISO build process. Therefore a special method is used to ensure that data files which must be read-write can be accessed.

To install a writable data directory or files, change its group to "users" and set the file(s) as group-writable:

adduser $USER_NAME users
chmod -R g+w /usr/local/share/<packagename>/data/
chown -R root.users /usr/local/share/<packagename>/data/

and symlink into the user's home directory if necessary.

Setting files to have universal write permission is strongly discouraged.

Directory Structure

  1. /tmp Temporary files (e.g., downloaded archives) go into /tmp. Please create a separate folder for your project.
  2. /usr/lib application are usually installed into /usr/lib
  3. /usr/bin things that get executed by the user such as startup scripts or links to them should go into /usr/bin
  4. /etc/init.d startup/shutdown scripts for services (e.g., postgres, apache, tomcat) are stored in /etc/init.d
  5. /usr/local/share sample data and documentation goes into /usr/local/share
  6. /etc config files are stored in /etc
  7. /home/user user specific config files or working directories can go into /home/user/. However, keep files in /home/user as small as possible as this folder is loaded into memory in the Live DVD. Symlinks into /usr/local can be useful here.

  • You are strongly encouraged to use /usr/local/ and /var/local/ for storing non-packaged content.


This is how it works:

  1. check out the doc-directory from svn:
svn co
svn co
  1. Before committing files, you need commit access, described here:
  2. Add your name to the list of translators, so that we can credit you in releases: doc/translators.txt
  3. use the English files from the directory /en as templates:
  4. create a directory for your language in the directory /doc - like /doc/de or /doc/it
  5. translate the files from /doc/en and copy them to your language directory (keep the directory structure like it is in en)
    1. the plan is to translate the files in the language-root directory, then the files from standards-directory and from overview-directory and if there is still energy left the files from the quickstart-directory

Use OmegaT for the translations

  • there is a nice tool to generate the translations (here you find a good documentation)
  • apt-get install omegat
  • add the ending rst to be supported by OmegaT
    • configure: Options - file filter - textfiles - add - add *.rst
  • Create a new project:
    • Select a folder where OmegaT can write its files
    • Select your destination language, point Source Files directory to doc/en, and Translated Files directory to doc/$your-language-code. The two middle options can stay where they are in subfolders of OmegaT project folder.
    • Translate something.
    • Write files: Project > Create Translated Documents will populate doc/$your-language into SVN tree. All .rst files contain both translated and untranslated strings.
    • svn commit
  • Work on an already started translation:
    • TO BE DONE - is OmegaT able to handle contents under version control? Seems not, for me.