[Board] Sol Katz award

Ravi Kumar ravivundavalli48 at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 12 20:29:38 PDT 2012

The Sol Katz award is given each
year, and has little to do with the person being there or not, or even
what event it is at.  We didn't create this award so it can be given in
some years and not in other years.
Ravi Kumar

 From: Jeff McKenna <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>
To: board at lists.osgeo.org 
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Board] Thoughts on FOSS4G
Hello Peter and the Board,

I feel I must comment on this, so my comments are line below:

On 12-07-12 11:35 AM, Peter Batty wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am aiming to attend the board meeting today but have various other
> commitments that I'm trying to juggle. In case I don't make it, and just
> to get the ball rolling, here are a few thoughts on follow ups from the
> FOSS4G cancellation.
> I think we should put out some sort of communication from the board
> about this - we can decide the exact forums, at least something to OSGeo
> lists and on the OSGeo web site, probably get it to some media outlets
> too. Unless someone else wants to volunteer, I'd be happy to draft
> something based on discussion at today's meeting and any input anyone
> else sends, and send that round for review.

I agree, in fact I did send the LOC a public response right away.  It is
important to not be negative at all, and thank them for all of their
effort in this.

I am also working with Venka (who is also a professor at CUMTB
university in Beijing, his influence is strong there as well) and Dr.
Song, both LOC members, to make sure we continue the FOSS4G passion there.

> A few points I would probably include something along the following lines:
> We are disappointed but not surprised that FOSS4G Beijing has been
> cancelled. We have known for some time, as has anyone who follows the
> OSGeo conference or board public mailing lists, that the local committee
> was facing various challenges. But we wanted to give them the maximum
> chance to try to pull together an event.
> FOSS4G has been successful being a truly global conference, taking a
> major event around the world with most of the work done by local
> volunteers. We've had great success with this approach, with great
> events in Sydney, Cape Town, etc. But this approach has its risks too,
> and we'll review our strategy in the light of what happened this year to
> see what we can do to mitigate those risks. (I can see various ways of
> approaching this section, definitely open to suggestions).

The same negative thoughts circled before such amazingly successful
events such as Sydney and Cape Town.  Yes there are risks, but we must
take risks to spread the FOSS4G passion to other areas of the globe.

> But FOSS4G remains strong. The 2011 event in Denver was the largest yet,
> with 900 people from 42 countries and great reviews. And plans for 2013
> in Nottingham are already very advanced, we have a very strong team
> organizing that and are looking forward to a great event there.

Indeed the FOSS4G brand has never been so strong.  It is really all
around the world.

> FOSS4G has also evolved into multiple regional events in addition to the
> global one. We have had multiple successful FOSS4G events already this
> year with NA and CEE, and Japan to come (include some info on number of
> attendees etc).

The FOSS4G-Japan event was a great success this year, it happened last
month.  FOSS4G-India plans are in the works as well.  Really great times
for the FOSS4G brand.

> A few thoughts that are probably outside this external communication:
> I think we should review our future strategy for FOSS4G in terms of
> location rotation, global versus local, how it is organized, etc. But I
> don't think there's a huge rush on this. We have a solid plan for the
> 2013 event, we need to get something worked out by first part of next
> year before we start the selection process for 2014 (if we decide that
> we need any changes - we may decide not). I think we should focus first
> on short term communication and other immediate issues.

I could not disagree with you more here.  The process has been setup by
the Conference Committee and that process is working great.

The only changes I see needing is possibly dedicating resources to
assist in the FOSS4G continuity each year (such as my last year's FOSS4G
advisor role, funded or not).

> Second, there have been questions on what to do about the Sol Katz
> award, and suggestions of presenting it at some other event. I'd like to
> suggest that we consider NOT doing this as it risks diluting the award
> to me. It's a great tradition to recognize leaders in our community.
> However I think an important part of that is being recognized at a major
> meeting of the community. If we present it at some other event where
> there isn't a large attendance from the global open source community we
> risk losing that. And we put pressure on the winner to make a trip
> potentially to the other side of the world for an event that they may
> not have gone to otherwise.
> So I'd suggestion we consider deferring the award to Nottingham in 2013.
> There could be a few variants on this. We could give the committee the
> option of making two awards at that event if they wanted to (or just
> one). We could also announce an award winner this year, but make the
> presentation next year. Or we could just skip an award altogether this
> year and resume next year. I don't have super strong opinions on this,
> but just wanted to throw out this option for discussion.

Again this is totally wrong.  The Sol Katz award must be given each
year, and has little to do with the person being there or not, or even
what event it is at.  We didn't create this award so it can be given in
some years and not in other years.

> Hope to talk with you all later, otherwise catch up via email afterwards.

I am glad to be able to share my thoughts here, even though I am no
longer on the Board.

Talk soon,


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