Frequently Asked Questions¶
Why is moja global using open source?¶
moja global is open source for quality and sustainability
The quality of the software is the most important reason for companies to use open source software when it is available. The quality of the open source software is mainly a result from the pooling of resources from various organisations, governments and companies who would otherwise be competing as well as the diversity of the contributors. Open source code management systems have overtaken private systems as open source code has far fewer bugs at the time the code is accepted.
Open source is a guarantee for sustainability. Once a tool is released as open source, it will remain open source. The tool has been built by various people who keep the ownership over their contribution. They only give others the right to use their contribution under the same licence (in moja global’s case mostly MPL2.0). This allows everybody to use the contribution from everybody else. Undoing this decision is not possible as the licence is irrevocable. Practically, it would also be impossible because all the small contributions from every person would have to be dealt with separately.
More info is provided in the White Paper - Governments, open source, and moja global.
Are moja global tools free?¶
moja global’s tools can be used for free
moja global tools are open source and therefore free to use.
The only obligation users have is to share all improvements they make to the software with all other users in line with the Licence.
moja global does not charge any fees nor seeks payments from users. However, for reasons of sustainability, contributions - in kind or cash - are necessary. These are always voluntary.
More information about contributions can be found in the document Who Pays?
(The misperception is that moja.global is not for free or has hidden costs)
Is moja global controlled by one country?¶
moja global is a truly global, neutral platform owned by its users
Users own and control moja global. More info on governance can be found here.
All users have the right to take a seat on the board. The strategy board decides on strategy and budget. The board supervises 2 co-directors. The chair of the technical steering committee is a Canadian national.
At the time FLINT started only two countries in the world had a spatially explicit system using integrating software to estimate land-sector GHG fluxes. Those were Canada and Australia. The strong points of each of these systems were taken on in the FLINT design process. As a result FLINT has a number of key ingredients comparable to the software being used in those two countries.
(Misconception: moja global is Australian/Canadian dominated)
How to contract moja global?¶
Financial support to moja global is possible as grants to the Linux Foundation
Direct financial support is possible through a grant to the Linux Foundation. The money is released once moja global’s board approves the expenditure.
However, moja global prefers contributions in kind. Donors can contribute by providing funds directly to contributors, user groups or countries to enable code development as well as documentation and science support.
moja global does not provide implementation support to countries. This role is provided by some parties in moja global’s ecosystem (companies, country departments, international organisations, etc.) To remain a credible facilitator, moja global should not compete with its collaborators.
More information about contributions can be found in the document Who Pays?
What licence is moja global using?¶
moja global uses mostly MPL2.0
Most moja global software has been released under the open source licence MPL2.0. This means that anybody can download, use, change and redistribute the open source tools on the condition that you share the improvements you make with all other users. This way everybody wins.
The licence is soft-copy-left: If you develop a module without using existing moja global parts, you are under NO obligation to share this module. If you do release it under MPL2.0, that would be great for others of course and very much appreciated but there is no obligation.
This allows companies to develop specific modules or services using the software for commercial purposes (e.g. FLINTpro SaaS) They are free to do so as long as they share the improvements to the open source software so everybody can profit from those improvements.
What is FLINT?¶
FLINT is a software platform to estimate emissions and sinks of greenhouse gases from land use
FLINT (Full Lands Integration Tool) is moja global’s flagship software platform mainly used for estimating emissions and sinks from land use (but in the future also for economics, biodiversity, etc).
It is a second generation software that is basically a big calculator that can manage data, keep (Carbon or other) pool values, and shift (Carbon or other) amounts between pools based on models / modules.
FLINT is building on the first generation tools developed in Canada (CBM-CFS3) and Australia (FullCAM). Those who designed these first generation tools have joint forces to design and build the second generation tool FLINT.
FLINT is a platform combined with a range of modules that are specific for a particular situation: forest modules, soil modules, litter, wood products, etc. Developing modules can be done externally and they can be connected to the FLINT platform as needed. This design option was chosen to create the flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and to make the development of modules simpler.
Since every user picks and choses its own particular modules, every user ends up with a(n almost) unique configuration. Several countries have given their national configuration a name: Kenya = SLEEK, Colombia = SEPAC, Indonesia = INCAS, etc.
What is the difference between moja global and FLINT?¶
moja global is an organisation; FLINT is a software tool
moja global provides rules and infrastructure to help users to collaborate. Its sole aim is to promote the widest possible collaboration on and use of its tools.
FLINT (Full Lands Integration Tool) is one of moja global’s open source software tools.
Can beginners use FLINT?¶
Anybody can use FLINT
The absolute brilliant thing about FLINT is that it is a sophisticated system for entry level users.
Designing a MRV system for the land sector is among the most complex things in the world. Globally there are only a handful of people who have achieved that level of expertise. FLINT is the product of these brains. In essence FLINT is a sophisticated system, designed in such a way it can be used by people at entry level. Additional skills, capacity and depth of understanding are built over time by using the software and through training.
Some level of technical understanding is necessary to run the FLINT. But there is a big difference between the level of technical understanding needed to design your own national MRV system and the technical understanding needed to run the FLINT software and understand the calculations. Compare it to a car: to design a car one needs sophisticated skills. To maintain the car you need practical technical skills. Any lay person with a license can drive the car.
Even to run the system, a user can call on the support of (or hire) other users. Users can only use their own resources , use support, or rely on software-as-a-service.
Can we continue to use our old system when switching to FLINT?¶
FLINT works with whatever is already in place
FLINT is the name for the open source MRV platform offered by moja global. FLINT is combined with science modules to develop country specific configurations. Country specific implementations make each national system unique. In Kenya, FLINT is known as SLEEK. In Canada as Generic Carbon Budget Model (GCBM). In Colombia it is called SEPAC. etc.
FLINT based systems build on the work that has already been done and data that a country has available including land cover maps, forest inventories, emissions factors, etc.
(misconception: FLINT forces users to start from scratch and competes with existing national systems)
Can one see how FLINT calculates emissions?¶
FLINT is fully transparent
The brilliant advantage of open source is that the tool is always available for review. Everybody is invited to review the code so they can see exactly what the software is doing.
All documentation about the software is accessible.
In addition most modules that can be plugged into the software are open source and have their own detailed documentation.
The aim is to improve the documentation until even those not well versed in IPCC rules can go to the tool, read through the documentation and get a fairly good sense of how the software works in a matter of days. Where documentation is not clear, feedback is used to further improve the documentation or even better, those who have questions are encouraged to suggest improvements to documentation and code.
(Misconception: FLINT is a black box)
FLINT Installation Support¶
I am trying to setup FLINT from the master branch but am running into errors. What am I doing wrong?¶
FLINT’s stable development branch is develop. develop branch is the latest updated branch and should be used as a base branch for development. Therefore, we recommend you to checkout to this branch and target your pull requests against develop branch. For more instructions on how to do this, please refer to our Git and GitHub Guide .
I use the Mac operating system. Is it possible to install FLINT?¶
Yes Absolutely! You can install FLINT on Mac using our docker installation .
What is the difference between FLINT and FLINT.example repositories on moja global GitHub?¶
FLINT is our framework for estimating emissions and sinks from land use (but in the future also for economics, biodiversity, etc) where the user has to provide the config files or data. Whereas, FLINT.example provides the user with some sample example files that the user can run to get a look and feel of FLINT’s output. Hence we recommend you to first install FLINT.example prior to FLINT.
How to configure Visual Studio for FLINT?¶
To smoothly work with C++ Development on Visual Studio, we recommend you to add
Desktop Development with C++ workload while undergoing Visual Studio installation process mentioned in our prerequisites section.
I am trying to setup the Docker installation for FLINT but am running into errors. What am I doing wrong?¶
In case of the Docker installation for FLINT, it might be possible that the Docker hardware requirements are not met. Please ensure that atleast 4 CPU cores & 4 GB of RAM has been allotted to the Docker machine.
What is GCBM?¶
GCBM is runs CBM science models on the FLINT platform
GCBM (Generic Carbon Budget Model) is a combination of the FLINT platform with the science modules developed by the Canadian Forest Service.
These are the same science modules used in the first generation tool (CBM-CFS3). Since the science and processes behind both tools are very similar, it is relatively easy to transition from CBM-CFS3 to GCBM.
The CBM-CFS3 is widely used throughout Canada and globally and its use is supported by the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada.
The next generation GCBM is currently used by the CFS with a number of partner organizations to advance the science of forest carbon estimation and to support policy analyses such as the assessment of mitigation options in the forest sector.
What is FLINTpro?¶
FLINTpro is a commercial software as a service version using the FLINT platform
FLINTpro is a cloud-based version of the FLINT platform. It has been developed by the Mullion Group. Using FLINT for commercial purposes is allowed under the MPL2.0 licence. The Mullion Group is sharing all the improvements to the FLINT platform with the open source community.