[AstroPy] AstroPy Digest, Vol 58, Issue 16

Perry Greenfield perry at stsci.edu
Tue Jun 14 15:51:22 EDT 2011

Long afternoon meetings...

Doesn't seem that controversial to me.

On Jun 14, 2011, at 2:20 PM, Thomas Robitaille wrote:
> Maybe this is controversial, but I think that no single institution  
> should host or control the package (otherwise it would be as if we  
> are working for free for that institution, who would ultimately get  
> the credit). We should just be a collection of individuals, some  
> working in our spare time, some funded to develop software, working  
> towards a common open source project. By using a distributed  
> versioning system (e.g. git or hg) and a free hosting solution  
> (neutral territory, e.g. github or mercurial) we can ensure that the  
> project will live beyond the funding for any given institution, and  
> the distributed aspect means that if the hosting solution goes out  
> of business, moving to another will be easy. Of course it would  
> still be possible for institutions to support development of that  
> package.
I understand the sentiment but, a few comments.

> This is akin to the relationship between Enthought and Numpy/Scipy -  
> they help fund the development, but even though the primary Numpy  
> developer is now the Enthought president, the development is not  
> hosted or controlled by Enthought. So I would vote for an  
> institution-independent package on GitHub. But of course this will  
> only work if it is possible e.g. for STScI or Gemini developers to  
> move the packages to a repository not at their institutions, so  
> there are licensing/copyright/funding/political issues to consider  
> (although of course with git, one can have a full local repository).  
> Maybe the STScI and Gemini people on here could weigh in on this?  
> For example, would there be barriers to moving the astrolib packages  
> into a new repository on e.g. GitHub?
I don't think this is quite true. From what I understand, Enthought  
does host the source code repositories for both numpy and scipy  
(scipy.org servers belong to Enthought). Why, they host this mailing  
list ;-).

It is true that we fund the astrolib repository, and that it currently  
isn't a free hosting, it is hosted off of STScI machines. And it is a  
generic SVN repository which could easily be relocated should that  
commercial hosting service disappear. (We regularly backup the  
repository locally). And astrolib.org is a generic url with no  
intrinsic STScI link. Doing both of these was to try to avoid the  
institutional ownership issue that you raise.

But we will use whatever repository system people will use the most.  
If that would be git, that would be fine with us (or me anyway :-)  
It's not clear yet to me if that is git (votes?).


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