[Board] International Participation in OSGeo

Brian Hamlin maplabs at light42.com
Sat Aug 7 10:07:54 PDT 2010

Board Members and List Subscribers..

   Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Silicon Valley, the 
international confluence is unmistakable..
I am struck by the broad international demographic of OSGeo 
participation as well..  For historical / political reasons, the 
membership among Commonwealth countries is strong I think. Adding to 
that the very strong contribution of the DACH countries, and France, 
the Netherlands, and Italy (!), a good cross section of active OSGeo 
participants can be seen...

   OSGeo is on the brink of perhaps the biggest FOSS4G to date, in 
Spain. The spanish speaking world is vast, and increasingly active in 
FOSS. Of course, the Spanish Government's investment in Geo OSS is well 
known, and bearing great fruit. However, it is not the excellent 
opportunities in the Spanish language world that I write about today.

   The largest population centers in the world are by far, India and 
China. Before I cast stones regarding the Communist government in 
China, I will confess that my own government, the United States of 
America, has at times been a powerfully bad actor internationally, 
using the largest military in the world, and a lot of cash, to shape 
the world politically.. I understand there is a lot of legitimate 
criticism there..

   However, with that said, I say emphatically, that the Red Chinese 
Government is repeatedly and obviously mining FOSS for its own ends, 
while denying the right to use and benefit from Geospatial tech to its 
own people.. I am sure there are different opinions about how to 
respond, but I doubt there is much disagreement that this is the 
case... In particular, I must speak out for the case of the Tibetan 
people, and the legitimate government of Taiwan. At any rate, enough 
about the Chinese Government.

   Which brings us to India..

   India is the home to a very substantial portion of the world's 
population, and, is regarded across the world for its scholarship, 
piety and intellectual achievements. Yet there seem to me to be 
precious few developers there active in OSGeo projects !  I do not 
understand this. If there is opportunity in India, some kind of 
fundamentals have to be addressed. I dont know that they are, or how to 
do it. But I suggest to you, the Board of OSGeo, that aside from the 
growth potential in the Spanish language world, India in particular is 
a sleeping giant.

   Although I will not be attending FOSS4G 2010 in Barcelona, I wish all 
attendees a splendid conference, great networking, and the best 
possible foundation for the crucial developments to come. In 
particular, I point out the opportunity to take meaningful action 
regarding Climate Change.

   very best regards from California

   Brian Hamlin
   OSGeo California Chapter

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