Our wiki manual leads off with the following paragraphs of the Preface:
Gramps is software (packaged for several operating system computer environments and languages) designed for genealogical research. Although similar to other genealogical programs, Gramps offers some unique and features which we’ll discuss below.
Gramps is Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS), which means you are free to make copies, to customize the code, and to distribute it to anyone you like. It is developed and maintained by a worldwide team of volunteers whose goal is to make Gramps powerful, yet easy to use.
That’s ‘damn faint praise’ indeed.
I think that it is trying to suggest that:
Since the genealogical software community tries to encourage collaboration and data sharing, most tools have struggled to remain within the limitations of the standard GEDCOM file format. So they tend to have very similar basic features. And Gramps has been shaped by that same struggle.
And from the history of Gramps in the blogs, it looks like the struggle in the early years was to become ‘feature complete’ but now the hard part is staying within boundaries.
But what are the hallmarks of Gramps?
I like its flexibility. There are so many different ways of recording genealogical data. Not only in the workflow but also in how you structure your data.
You are rarely limited by some preconceived ‘best practice’ which leaves little room for the information that piques your interests and drives your research. Quite the contrary, actually.
More often, the limit is your imagination… and sometimes your ability to make firm choices about your workflow.
The customization options are nearly unlimited. The custom attributes, custom ‘types’, and custom filtering (query) system gives more options to users without programming skills. The plug-in framework allows seamless expansion in all directions.
This is all too wordy and begins to read like marketing hyperbole. The convention in FOSS seems to be underselling, not overselling. We may be taking that to heart a little too much.
What do you think should be in the Preface? Where’s the best tradeoff point between ‘hype’ and ‘shooting ourselves in the foot’?