[OSGeo-Conf] Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Aug 16 13:59:46 PDT 2012

I think you are spot on regarding the importance of conferences (and 
FOSS4G in particular) to OSGeo, and as such I think you are right that 
the board does need to give conferences much of its attention.

However, I think that it would be better to suggest a slightly different 
management structure.
Rather than moving conference activities to the board, I'd suggest that 
board members should take a more active role in the conference committee.
There are a few people who are not on the board now, but who I would 
strongly welcome participating in a conference committee, due to their 
depth of experience with foss4g conferences and wise advise. (Hello 
PaulR). By watering down the importance of the conference committee, I'd 
expect to see less activity on its lists, and then less volunteers 
stepping up to help. And of all places, I think the conference committee 
is the place we most need more volunteers.

This should be matched by documenting the key decision criteria that we 
think is important for a foss4g conference, and following through on 
these criteria. (In particular, documenting such criteria as under what 
conditions should the conference committee 1. award a conference 2. act 
as a financial backstop 3. cancel a conference)
The documentation should be the start of a FOSS4G Cookbook, and I intend 
to give it some of my attention in the near future.

On 17/08/12 06:13, Andrew Ross wrote:
> Jeff,
> For what it's worth - historically FOSS4G has been a source of revenue 
> _and_ outreach, hasn't it? There's considerable evidence that a well 
> run event drawing many people and excellent sponsors tends to be 
> successful on both counts.
> A major conference like FOSS4G is a significant financial activity. 
> One that carries considerable risk. One sentiment I've heard many 
> times on lists and in person is that people are comfortable trusting 
> the board to make the right decision for such matters. They elected 
> them to do so.
> Andrew
> On 08/16/2012 03:59 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>> Hi Paul,
>> It all comes down to the basic purpose of the FOSS4G event.  Is it a
>> revenue generator that in fact is the major source of revenue for OSGeo?
>>   Then for sure, I can see your points.  Is it to promote Open Source
>> geospatial around the world?  Then there is no doubt in my mind Charter
>> members should be involved in this decision.
>> -jeff
>> On 12-08-16 4:45 PM, Paul Ramsey wrote:
>>> Jeff,
>>> Your suggestion moves in the opposite direction Dave is proposing.
>>> Dave says the problem is that the conf. committee is relatively
>>> removed from the strategic concerns of the foundation (like financial
>>> issues) and that the board should take a stronger hand. Handing the
>>> decision to the charter membership moves the decision to a population
>>> even further removed from those issues than the conf. committee.
>>> P.
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Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Solutions Manager
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

Think Globally, Fix Locally
Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source

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