[Board] Board Meeting Minutes and Tasks

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at wheregroup.com
Fri Jan 11 05:34:58 PST 2008

I have been quite quiet for some time. 

One reason for reduced activity is my general failure at finding good reasons to explain to my business partners *why* I am spending (any) time on OSGeo. They cannot see any return on investment and blandly questions the worth in it. People find OSGeo through the WhereGroup but the WhereGroup has not made one cent through OSGeo's existence. Unfortunately this is a fact. In part this can be seen as a lack in marketing (call it promotion and visibility or whatever) which is why I tried to further this before but always with limited success. Since reforming the committee (which already wasted mpg and myself as chairs) there has been very little activity. Yes, we are making some progress with marketing but if you check the Wiki list of members there is Tyler, Jeroen, Daniele and myself - thats it. 

So what to do? 

I don't know and will keep on brooding over it until I either have a burst of energy and just do something or at least have a good idea at what to do. Just don't take my silence for signs of burn out or disinterest, it is just that I am currently not very helpful. 

If you have a cool set of arguments why I should engage in OSGeo as a volunteer if at the same time I get paid really well to do some useful work - please let me know. I am not trying to be cynical, this is a real interest. You know that I said that I am sick of volunteers and that everybody who does something for OSGeo should managed to get paid by someone to do so. 

I have carefully followed the discussion in FOSS Business Models and I think that this is a core issue to resolve. But it is in no way related to spatial but only to business in general, so there is no reason to do it with/in OSGeo. The only spatial aspect is the globalization of business which in turn promises success by negating location. Intriguing idea, but Seven would say that (unfortunately) it is irrelevant. 

>From my perspective the most important achievement of OSGeo is the continued growth of the local chapters and the grass roots effect that it has on individuals. The broader the base the better. Maybe we have to step down a bit and look at OSGeo from that position and check our priorities against that perspective. Take a closer look at individual membership and start to understand how to leverage from there. 

>From that perspective it makes a lot of sense to attend to inward communication and make people understand how they should go about doing FOSS(GIS)((Business)). Engaging people in understanding how money can drive FOSS is still highly undervalued. Volunteers are great but money in itself is not bad either and it greatly helps to allow for continuity. This is a strange perception because we rather more often experience money as many zeros from large corporations used to squash smaller corporations to make more zeros for the large corporation. This is where my current line of thought ends, maybe you can understand why I am not contributing much right now. It wouldn't help a lot... 

Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:

> TO DO:
> * Frank to present SPD improvements to discuss list for community input

It does not make much sense to put this on Franks plate alone. Please relax on this one and lets not rush it because it seems that it is instrumental in causing trouble. I definitely have underestimated the effort that it will take to get this done straight. OSGeo is stubbornly refusing to get involved with monetary things, we first have to educated OSGeo why and more so how it can be a good thing. 

> * Marketing and Web Committees (via Arnulf and who?) tasked to create 
> budgets for their portion of the 2008 budget, for Finance Committee

Yes, sure, will do sounds really interesting and even more important. Once committee activity is > nil we will attend to this. 


Talk to you later. 

Regards, Arnulf. 

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