[OpenLayers-Dev] Entering OSGeo Project Sponsorship
euzuro at gmail.com
Sun Oct 19 13:45:52 EDT 2008
Super helpful, Frank. Thanks for this detailed roundup of your experience...
couldn't have asked for a more perfect response.
As we move forward with this, I think we should take these words of wisdom
One thing that Frank brings up here that I think is important and that we've
maybe overlooked is the amount of work that is involved
with getting the sponsorship going and maintaining it. I assume that among
the PSC, we should be able to get all the wikis and necessary documentation
set up, but it sounds like it would be good for us to 'elect' someone to be
in charge of managing the sponsorship program. For now, it sounds like Chris
is interested to do that and I doubt that anyone would balk at his
nomination, but it might be good to vote him in, make it an official title
nonetheless. What do people think?
The other issue that Chris brought up earlier and Frank delved into a bit
more is this issue of the credits page. In the interest of threaded email
clients, I'd like to bring up that discussion in a separate mail.
Again, thanks Frank for sharing this. It's awesome to have this experience
to draw from and but moreover the buena-vibra of a fellow project sticking
out an arm to help us out. OpenLayers has been really fortunate to have so
many big siblings around to show us the way -- we are indebted. Thanks!
On Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 7:19 PM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com>wrote:
> Paul Spencer wrote:
> > Frank,
> > In relation to OpenLayers pursuing sponsorship via OSGeo, could you
> > provide us with a brief summary of your experience with OSGeo
> > sponsorship program as it relates to GDAL/OGR? I think this would help
> > us crystalize our thoughts on how OpenLayers would like to proceed.
> I'm not sure the experience will be all that similar for OpenLayers, but
> I'll make a few observations with regard to GDAL, and perhaps editorialize
> a bit.
> First, please be aware that participating in the sponsorship program
> involves some effort. Beyond setting up initial documents, and soliciting
> sponsors, it is expected that any project that participates in the
> program will produce an annual report to sponsors summarizing at least how
> the sponsorship funds have been used over they year. This isn't onerous,
> but someone has to get this done.
> Second, I would observe that Tyler takes care of the invoices for
> and the collection of money. So generally speaking once I have a verbal
> (or email) agreement from an organization to sponsor GDAL I pass on the
> contact details, the start date, and the sponsorship level to Tyler who
> prepares the invoice, and takes care of contact with the sponsor. This is
> a huge help and without Tyler handling this professionally the whole effort
> might well be too much for me pursue.
> For GDAL it is considered allowed to sponsor for any amount of above
> $500, but the invoicing and other hassles involved in small sponsorships
> resulted in me only actively pursuing sponsorships of $3000 or more (a
> silver sponsorship). I accept smaller sponsorships (gracefully I hope),
> but I don't pursue smaller sponsors for annual renewals.
> An items that has proven a bit challenging for GDAL is that sponsors are
> permitted a logo and block of text on our sponsor page.
> It has proven surprisingly hard to get an appropriately sized logo, and
> appropriate text from sponsors. Sometimes they don't respond. Sometimes
> they give me huge or otherwise inappropriate logos. And they give me
> highly variable text for inclusion. So I've had to set fairly specific
> rules for the maximum number of pixels in the logo (I take care of resizing
> and confirm with the sponsor) and an upper limit on the descriptive text
> (50 words at silver). I still have some sponsors I've not been able to get
> the logo and text from and they go uncredited. In retrospect I wonder if I
> would have been better off with a simplier scheme - at least perhaps no
> As for actually soliciting sponsors, I have (I think) been responsible for
> soliciting all the GDAL sponsors so far. I generally don't try to hard,
> I do have to make some effort. I don't recall any stepping up and
> their interest just based on the sponsor solicitation page. I've directly
> approached a few organizations I knew were heavy users of GDAL and that I
> know well. I also will often mention GDAL and OSGeo sponsorship
> to folks when I answer technical questions about the project and related
> software if they look like they might be getting significant value from the
> software. I generally just approach companies under the assumption that
> sponsorship is pretty hard to arrange for a government organization. My
> pitch normally goes something like:
> If you find you are getting substantial value from GDAL/OGR and you
> would like to help sustain the project you might consider becoming
> a sponsor:
> Sponsorship helps us fund bug fixing and other efforts to sustain
> the project. Sponsors get some degree of priority in getting
> bug fixes, and receive credit on our credits page. Let me know
> if you might be interested, or have any questions about sponsorship.
> In a few cases I've offered to waive an hourly fee to fix some bug or
> implement some small feature if an organization would like to become
> a sponsor. I've turned what might have been a personal invoice for
> $500 into a $3000 silver sponsorship a couple times this way, though
> generally these organizations might already have been well disposed
> to sponsorship without my sweetening the pot.
> I do avoid situations where sponsors are offered specific promises
> in return for sponsorship unless it is something I'd be doing out of
> my own time. For instance I discussed possible sponsorship options with
> a large company who seemed to want to tie it to efforts to incorporate
> or do work on a particular library of theirs and I stressed that
> sponsorship would need to be distinct from any efforts in that regard.
> Well - thats the collection side.
> The other side is making productive use of the money.
> In the GDAL project we have only used the money for two things so far.
> One has been funding a contract paid maintainer position which is focused
> on bug fixing, though it also takes on some other project tasks. We have
> also used it to purchase project t-shirts handed out at the 2007 code
> We have been very lucky to have Mateusz Loskot available as our paid
> maintainer. He is a skilled self-starter and does not require much
> direction, though he has responded well to my priority setting. We have
> a written up RFC describing how the paid maintainer role works:
> My main problem so far in this regard has been Mateusz' limited
> availability, and in fact we have accumulated a significant amount of
> money in the project fund as he hasn't had enough time available to
> consume it all.
> With regard to paid maintenance I will note a couple things about the
> GDAL project.
> 1) I have deliberately kept the remuneration fairly modest for this role.
> $20/hr or so. This is for a couple reasons. First, it helps avoid a
> sense amoung the unpaid developers that someone is getting rich off the
> project. The maintainer pay isn't enough to make anyone particular
> jealous though it may still cause some existing contributors to "leave
> it to the paid guy" for some things. The other reason is I want the
> sponsors to feel that their money is being stretched fairly effectively.
> Actually, the third reason is that I like to see this maintainer role
> as a sort of stepping stone that could lead the maintainer to more
> lucrative private contracting related to the project.
> 2) I have deliberately avoided having the funding go to the existing
> core team - especially to the PSC members who actually decide on the
> dispersement of the funds. In particular, I've never taken any GDAL
> project money for myself. I've been concerned about appearance of
> self-dealing or our profiteering off the project. I'm not sure how
> reasonable these concerns are - but to me it was important that the
> money be seen going to bring additional resources to the project
> that wouldn't have been their otherwise and to avoid any appearance
> of impropriety in the handling of the money.
> Mateusz is no longer available for the maintainer role (he has accepted
> a related full time job), so now we are having to search for a new
> maintainer. It isn't so easy to find someone with good dev skills,
> a pre-apparent interest in GDAL and a willingness to work for modest
> financial returns. Our ability to find a new maintainer may well be
> a major test for our sponsorship program.
> Overall, the sponsorship program was one of the reasons I was interested
> in launching OSGeo and having GDAL join it. I wanted an orderly,
> mechanism where organizations could help fund the project development in
> a way beyond funding specific new features. I think it has gone fairly
> well though I hope for a more stable maintainer role in the future.
> I will say that I think using some of the funding for team building
> activities is a good idea. We did the t-shirts from this fund, and in
> the future I could imagine using the funds to help support a GDAL
> code sprint, or perhaps cool prizes for the best bug report, best
> patch etc.
> One other point I'll mention is that 25% of the sponsorship funds
> collected go to fund general OSGeo activities. I have not heard
> any complaints about this in the context of the GDAL project (from
> sponsors or developers) though I have heard resistance on this from
> other projects. I think it is important to see this as supporting
> the underlying infrastructure and community that OSGeo provides to
> But if you see the project sponsorship program as a way to raise
> money to fund specific new developments then this cut may seem
> painful. I do think it is important to *not* treat project
> sponorship as a mechanism for an organization to fund a specific
> development. Direct contracting with a consultant is still better
> for that sort of thing.
> I hope this is somewhat helpful.
> Best regards,
> I set the clouds in motion - turn up | Frank Warmerdam,
> warmerdam at pobox.com
> light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
> and watch the world go round - Rush | Geospatial Programmer for Rent
> Dev mailing list
> Dev at openlayers.org
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