[Board] Re: Motion: Support visit to meet with the emerging Vietnam Chapter with funding

Arnulf Christl seven at arnulf.us
Sat Mar 20 11:00:21 PDT 2010

Hash: SHA1

Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:
> Arnulf,
> I think it would be good to have some resolution on this motion.  Thanks
> Howard for clarifying your concerns.

thanks for picking this up again.

> Perhaps I've missed something, has there been some offline discussion or
> decision?  

Not that I know of. Last status was that Howard raised some concerns and
then me confirming Jeff to go ahead. Howard asked back whether I would
pay that from my personal account if it did not pass a motion by the
board which I confirmed. To clarify: I did this because I felt like
having committed to Jeff's request and did not want to bail out in the
last moment. This should not stress anyone. If the board comes to the
conclusion that this is not something that OSGeo wants to spend money on
that is perfectly fine by me.

> Did the trip happen?  Is there still an expectation OSGeo
> will fund this?  Last Jeff wrote was that he was going to buy tickets.
> I gave some warnings, Frank clarified, Howard shared his concerns, but
> I've seen nothing more in way of response.

Afaik this is correct.

> Arnulf, I think we owe it to both Jeff and Howard to make sure their
> concerns are at least discussed and not left in silence.  I've been in
> too many (non-OSGeo) meetings where people were left in frustration and
> hope we can avoid this here.  We can discuss it in the meeting of
> course, but I thought wrapping up this thread might be helpful.

I am not sure we can wrap this up yet, and there is a bill waiting to be
paid. So let me explain my position: On my agenda as president of OSGeo
it says: "Support OSGeo Local Chapters". My experience shows that OSGeo
"World" can really make a difference to Local Chapters. They frequently
suffer from a legitimacy problem up front, especially during their
emergence. Once an OSGeo official representative has shown up at a
conference, given a talk oder attended a meeting with local
representatives (*and* leaves a good impression :-) it is much easier
for Local Chapters to take off.

In my opinion OSGeo will grow with it's Local Chapter in the long run.
Currently -that is, the evolution of Open Source in general- now is the
time when local initiatives seem to start to emerge all over the place;
Be it with or without OSGeo. In light of building a strong brand it is
way easier to lend the OSGeo umbrella to emerging organizations early on
than it is to try to integrate and interact with them after they have
formed and settled. It is very similar with how new FOSS projects come
into being. If they start off with a code repository and general
consensus on the license, copyright and decisions processes, it makes
things so much easier...

Theses are the reasons why I would like to see more support for this
kind of activity.

> Building off this experience, I suggest we aim for a few goals:

I'll leave it at that for the time being and hope to see some more
opinions on this before looking into how we can accommodate any
expenditures in OSGeo's budget.


> 1 - Review the concerns/benefit for funding travel expenses.  The board
> has flip/flopped on this between the discussion on traveling to India
> for face-to-face meeting versus sending an individual rep to Vietnam.
> 2 - Discuss what the role of the board is in developing local chapters.
> 3 - Discuss director's roles in OSGeo generally.  We started capturing
> some of the 'duties' but I think it would help to have the board
> re-group and define a couple clear goals that issue like expenses, etc.
> can be measured against.  At this point it's not clear to me at all how
> some of these things fit into the board's direction, goals or purpose.
> 4 - Discuss what kind of policy (as per Markus' last note) the directors
> agree on.
> Directors - keep in mind that with new directors joining every year, we
> often have to 'roll back' and re-articulate the goals and purpose of the
> board.  Not a bad annual exercise anyway :)
> Miss anything?  I think if we can get through these, things will be much
> clearer in many eyes.
> Have a good weekend,
> Tyler
> Howard Butler wrote:
>> On Mar 8, 2010, at 1:39 PM, Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:
>>> Howard, do you mind elaborating on your concerns?  I don't see a
>>> vote by Chris either, I'm guessing he's away.  If it's important
>>> enough to vote -1, then I believe there are some valuable concerns
>>> you could share.
>> My problems with Jeff's request are the following:
>> - We don't have an actual budget yet - It opens up a rain soaked,
>> half-frozen, moss covered roof of a slippery slope with regard to
>> conflicts of interest - $600 is for travel costs for two people who
>> have as far as I can tell have no relation, contribution, or profile
>> within OSGeo (and are still unnamed, AFAIK) - It seems rather
>> opportunistic and frankly looks as though OSGeo's being used as a
>> convenient sugar daddy.  Why aren't we bootstrapping local chapter
>> development with hard currency (plenty of soft currency -- time --
>> though) elsewhere?  Rather, the talk has been about local chapters
>> bootstrapping *us* with hard currency!
>> Am I confident Jeff can represent OSGeo without conflict?
>> Absolutely.  Do I believe in the need for local chapters such as
>> Vietnam?  Of course.  My problem is with the *exceptional* nature of
>> this request, and it's timing in relation to our financial year.  The
>> reason we don't have policy for sponsoring board member's travels is
>> not because there hasn't been a desire for it, but rather because we
>> haven't felt we've had overflowing funds to handle requests.
>> That I'm the only dissenter possibly means I'm overreacting, but
>> where we spend our money clearly indicates our priorities.  Measured
>> against our other priorities (conference sustainability,
>> server/website continuation, administrative overhead), this one
>> doesn't rank so much for me.
>> Howard
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- --
Arnulf Christl

Exploring Space, Time and Mind
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