[OSGeo-Conf] [Board] FOSS4G Discount for Charter Members proposal

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 15:51:40 PDT 2014

Hi Andrew,
The Washington FOSS4G proposal was very compelling, however it was not 
selected. I can't speak for all the committee who voted or for their 
reasons for selection, however I will hazard some guesses, and aim to be 
frank to help further dialogue.

When LocationTech was founded there was concern from some that OSGeo 
would become redundant due to LocationTech attracting  Open Source GIS 
mindshare away from OSGeo. While LocationTech has attracted some 
mindshare, I think many of the original concerns have not yet been 
realised, and OSGeo still remains a very effective and efficiently run 

Beyond the efficiency of OSGeo's do-ocrity approach to empowering 
volunteer communities, I suspect part of the reason OSGeo retains its 
brand recognition is the strong association between OSGeo and FOSS4G 
conferences. These FOSS4G conferences also provide OSGeo with a modest 
income which cover's OSGeo's frugal expenses.

I sense there is an unspoken concern within OSGeo voting communities 
that giving control of FOSS4G conferences to LocationTech has the 
potential to:
1. Cut into OSGeo's current primary income source.
2. Result in a loss of OSGeo's control of FOSS4G and related activities.
3. Erode OSGeo's brandname, marketing reach, and mindshare.

This is a different situation to OSGeo engaging a Professional 
Conference Organisor (PCO) to run a FOSS4G event, as the PCO is not 
competing for Open Source GIS mindshare.

If LocationTech wish to play a greater role in FOSS4G, and attract OSGeo 
trust and community votes, I suggest LocationTech put practical measures 
in place which focus on these touch points.

On 28/08/2014 11:09 pm, Andrew Ross wrote:
> Cameron,
> I'd like to start (continue?) the discussion by simply offering to 
> have the Eclipse Foundation staff run a regular event on behalf of the 
> FOSS4G community (including OSGeo projects, LocationTech projects, & 
> many other related organizations and unaffiliated projects) similar to 
> what we proposed for Washington D.C.. It was a detailed proposal so 
> perhaps a good place to start with and frame the discussion. Unless 
> I'm mistaken, much of it may be quite acceptable and help us narrow 
> what could be an overwhelming discussion down to a few key areas. Is 
> this reasonable?
> For what it's worth, I'm definitely open minded if there's a better 
> approach.
> Andrew
> On 27/08/14 16:54, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> All good ideas.
>> Anyone up for consolidating ideas into a proposal, then obtain 
>> agreement from the conference committee?
>> A start has been made at:
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook
>> In particular:
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Editing_this_document
>> It still requires some integration with the FOSS4G RFP
>> On 27/08/2014 3:54 am, Andrew Ross wrote:
>>> Thanks for the clarification Peter. For what it's worth, I agree 
>>> that a clearly defined mechanism makes a lot of sense.
>>> On 26/08/14 12:08, Peter Baumann wrote:
>>>> sorry, folks, that was not intended to go into this thread but 
>>>> another one. Now I see I have not been fast enough with ESC.
>>>> OK, another attempt to say something meaningful:
>>>> OSGeo might license its brand to conferences, and this allows them 
>>>> to send invoices even to universities. Secures OSGeo a fixed 
>>>> income, allowing LOCs to plan ahead.
>>>> -Peter
>>>> On 08/26/2014 05:42 PM, Andrew Ross wrote:
>>>>> Sorry Peter, I'm not sure I understand your comment?
>>>>> On 26/08/14 11:22, Peter Baumann wrote:
>>>>>> so back with universities :)
>>>>>> -Peter
>>>>>> On 08/26/2014 05:16 PM, Andrew Ross wrote:
>>>>>>> Very good point.
>>>>>>> A not-for-profit organizer may be a significant benefit and 
>>>>>>> simplify things quite a bit.
>>>>>>> A bunch more legal/fiscal issues emerge when you run events and 
>>>>>>> have to handle and transfer funds internationally. The number of 
>>>>>>> organizations who can handle this is fairly limited and those 
>>>>>>> that do so for a reasonable fee even more so. Continuity helps 
>>>>>>> make it worthwhile to figure this out in the first place and 
>>>>>>> stay on top of it as things change over time.
>>>>>>> On 26/08/14 10:59, Darrell Fuhriman wrote:
>>>>>>>> Amen. We burned at least two months, maybe three, working that 
>>>>>>>> out.
>>>>>>>> I think it’s actually really funny that the first piece of 
>>>>>>>> advice given to the LOC by OSGeo is “Find a conference 
>>>>>>>> organizer to help you.”
>>>>>>>> If that’s the first piece of advice, then it seems pretty clear 
>>>>>>>> to me that OSGeo should just have a conference organizer on 
>>>>>>>> contract. The benefits of continuity from year to year would be 
>>>>>>>> enormous.
>>>>>>>> d.
>>>>>>>> On Aug 26, 2014, at 07:54, David William Bitner 
>>>>>>>> <bitner at dbspatial.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> And none of this even discusses the hassles that a grass roots 
>>>>>>>>> organizing group has with finding an entity to act as a fiscal 
>>>>>>>>> agent (aka deal with the money).
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Cameron Shorter,
Software and Data Solutions Manager
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26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

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