Live GIS GSoC 2014

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OSGeo-Live Google Summer of Code ideas 2014


OSGeo-Live is a self-contained bootable DVD, USB thumb drive or Virtual Machine based on Xubuntu, that enables new users to try a wide variety of open source geospatial software without installing anything.

Ideally we like OSGeoLive projects to be installed from UbuntuGIS .deb files, as this enables the applications to be available and easily installable on Ubuntu distributions. However, to date (in 2014), only about half the applications are bundled as .deb files. In particular, most of the java based projects have not been bundled as .deb files.

.deb packaging of OSGeo projects

The idea for this project is to take as many projects as possible through the process of bundling into .deb files, with a particular emphasis on solving java based projects. Ideally, the generation of the .deb files will be incorporated into the project's build process, and the .deb files will also be included into main Debian by the help of Debian GIS team (which ensures automatic migration to UbuntuGIS).

This project will be a challenge for anyone game to take it on, requiring a combination of research to identify and overcome existing stumbling blocks, researching of best practices in packaging, .deb packaging, liaising with projects, likely updating java software, creating install and build scripts (probably in bash shell), and probably a few more things as well.

The hurdles that have previously been limiting factors include:

  • Most java projects have previously been built from Sun/Oracle version of Java, which could not be included in debian/ubuntu due to licence restrictions.
  • The OpenJDK version of Java, which is bundled with Debian/Ubuntu historically had limitations, which seem to have been completely (or at least mostly) resolved. (The last version of OSGeo-Live was built with OpenJDK instead of Sun Java.
  • There is a knowledge gap between Java communities and Debian packaging communities, with a lot of experience in each group, but very few who understand the requirements, processes and tools of both. To address this, we have mentors from each community to support the student.
  • Some of the optional libraries (such as JAI) used within the java communities have licensing restrictions which have been incompatible with Debian packaging. Dependencies need to be understood and the alternative libraries/options put in place.

Theoretically, all these stumbling blocks can be resolved, which will be the challenge for the student taking on this task.

Besides creating Debian packages of new software some metapackages featuring the osgeolive packages should be created using the Debian Blends framework.


  • Jerome Villeneuve Larouche <jlarouche AT mapgears com>


  • Cameron Shorter cameron DOT shorter at gm ail .com (OSGeo-Live contact), Sydney Australia.
  • Andreas Tille <tille __ d e b i a n .o r g> (Debian packaging)
  • Stefan Steiniger <sstein -at- geo> (Java GIS person)
  • Ben Caradoc-Davies <Ben.Caradoc-Davies AT csiro DOT au> (GeoTools / GeoServer person - core Java GIS projects), Perth, Western Australia (UTC+8).
  • Daniel Morissette <dmorissette AT mapgears com> (Will be sitting in same office as Jerome)

Other Contacts

GSoC Resources

OSGeo Resources

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