[OSGeo-Board] Some whining from the outside

Michael P. Gerlek mpg at lizardtech.com
Sat Aug 12 08:01:37 PDT 2006

I happy to see responses to the specific issues I've raised; next week I will to follow-up with a summary of what I see the action items / resolutions are, to be sure I understand (for example, my question about Lisa is now fully answered and resolved, and I thank you).
I realized after Markus' reply that I had one more issue I've seen raised:
- We seem to be moving to telascience to host our "big" data, and it is great to have John Graham and that resource.  However, at least initially, it seemed we had only an informal understanding with them and real no assurance of continuity or anything; are they a formal hosting service, or..?  What we're asking them to do is not as 24x7 critical as the main osgeo.org host, obviously, but I'd like to better understand what the nature of our relationship with them is.


From: Markus Neteler [mailto:neteler.osgeo at gmail.com]
Sent: Sat 8/12/2006 1:28 AM
To: OSGeo-Board
Cc: Michael P. Gerlek
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Board] Some whining from the outside

Hi Michael, all,

On 8/12/06, Gary Lang <gary.lang at autodesk.com> wrote:
> GL> below
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael P. Gerlek [mailto:mpg at lizardtech.com]
> Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 2:08 PM
> To: board at board.osgeo.org
> Subject: [OSGeo-Board] Some whining from the outside
> > Dear Board:
> >
> >  I'm writing this note because I'm becoming increasingly concerned about
> >  our foundation's ability to "get stuff done" -- and, perhaps more
> >  importantly, I'm starting to hear (privately) grumblings from others.  I
> >  know I personally am starting to stall out, wondering if this is all
> > going to work.

It is very good to have such feedback, thanks for that!

> >  Some questions and issues currently floating around include:
> >  - What is the status of getting an Executive Director?  Several weeks
> > ago at the F2F some consensus was reached, and some candidate names were
> >  mentioned, but we have not seen any action on this.
> GL> Based on the F2F meeting and budget we came up with, as per the
> above, I went and got that money approved. Now the board is revisiting
> this decision. I would like to move forward so that we could support the
> projects.

Well, the majority of the board members are pro-ED.
Personally, I was asking how to hire an ED without job description.
Jo earlier drafted a Wiki page for that, but it's still no decided description.
I hope that this will happen in the next few days.

>>  - What is the status of doing a binary stack?  Again, this was discussed
>>  at the F2F but I'm not sure what action has been taken.

I am also clueless about the infrastructure status, asked around but still
have no clear idea:
What's the timeline to have *access* to the infrastructure?
Some months ago I offered to generate geodata as part of my
GeodataCom involvement, so far I cannot start. I am talking about
number crunching here. My tools and data are ready, I "just" need
the machines to launch it.

Same thing for the EduCom Books Wiki: asked some weeks ago,
still not available. It would be helpful to get regular updates from SAC.

> >  - What is the process for approving a move to the new Drupal-based site
> >  Jo and Tyler are working on?  It appears to be the right move, and
> > people are putting time and effort into it as we speak, but I'm not sure
> >  this has been "blessed" yet.  What needs to be done?

I think that this develops well. Again it is related to the (non) available

> >  - It appears that the board only posts minutes to the Wiki, but no real
> >  summary of what is transpiring (not everyone reads the Wiki updates or
> > watches IRC or subscribes to the board list, for example)  This gives
> > the appearance of either inactivity or behind-the-curtain activity,
> >  neither of which are desirable.

100% agreed.
There was a single "president's newletter" which is something in this
direction. Since the president is pretty busy, I propose to change this into
a (semi-)official BoD blog. Like this we can all work on this and get
important things communicated regularly oand probably with less
effort. Blogrolls will then communicate these notices around the globe.

> > - Did we ever formally announce when the next board will be elected?  At
> > least one person has (privately) suggested the current board is not
> > optimal anymore.

There was a decision at the last F2F meeting that the BoD will be in
place for one year. Again, this should be posted on the suggested
BoD blog.


> > Obviously there are a lot of good things going on: our "name" is out
> > there now and being recognized; the geodata committee is getting noticed
> > in lots of interesting places; we have a number of local groups coming
>>  together; and the development projects continue doing great development.
> > But, I fear we have not made much progress on doing the actual work that
> > will bring value to the OSGeo "brand" -- things like creating a central
> > portal we can all work under, providing a 24x7 hosting and builds
> > service, designing a download site and populating it.
> GL> These are my concerns as well.

This is again related to the infrastructure.
Dear SAC: please, when will the telascience.org or whatever servers
be available? I have many ideas to be active, but I need hardware
for that.

> > We are a volunteer organization, which makes it hard to make Big
> > Decisions.  The Benevolent Dictator model is easy in that one person
> > directs things; if others disagree, they can fork and life goes on.
> > OSGeo doesn't use that model, which means that those empowered at the
> > top need to be able to act collectively and decisively -- and delegate
> > clearly.
> I think that the immediate hiring of an Executive Director would do
> three important things:
>   - show our members that we are moving confidently forward
>   - provide a mechanism for the board's agreed-to high-level goals and
>     wishes to be acted on
>   - provide a mechanism for the foundation's lesser goals and everyday
>     needs  to be acted on swiftly

Agreed: Eg. in the GRASS project it is clearly visible that people expect
one person to lead. All my attempts to establish a PSC driven decision
model didn't (yet?) succeed. But the ED needs a clear description of hte

Other open stuff:
OSGeo Newsletter (let's do the BoD blog first, this could be available
in 1-2 weeks). GRASS offered several times to donate the material of
the upcoming 4th GRASS Newsletter, I think that the GRASS people will
use it soon and drop the idea to donate it (because their authors get



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