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

Andrew Ross andrew.ross at eclipse.org
Thu Sep 4 17:44:48 PDT 2014

Dear Cameron,

I'm grateful for your comments & insights.

After the vote was settled, multiple people approached me, apologized, 
and explained they felt bullied to vote against the D.C. bid. The fear 
you speak of is a powerful thing. I would like to help address it if I can.

Would do you suggest we do to address these concerns?

To address your more general comments. There are good people at the helm 
at LocationTech and they're interested in building great technology & a 
vibrant ecosystem. The group has consistently made decisions in the 
spirit of collaboration and mutual benefit.

Whether it's sharing Legal/IP analysis of OSGeo projects so they can fix 
problems, sponsoring events, inviting OSGeo projects to speak at events, 
using staff to help organize FOSS4G-NA 2015, and more. These are 
tangible useful things from LocationTech that benefited OSGeo & the 
wider community.

There is no us & them. We're all part of the same community that 
transcends organizations/projects/initiatives. Different areas of the 
community take different approaches which are fine and complementary. 
Who says it has to be a zero sum game?! What if there's nothing to be 
scared of? Be prudent, but not fearful.

People who have good reason to know have been saying for some time that 
the status quo with FOSS4G is not sustainable. The issues are still as 
of yet unaddressed. Many of the problems are things the Eclipse 
Foundation and LocationTech can address. This isn't the only path 
forward, but I sense one that is more open & collaborative has a higher 
chance for mutual success. That's the spirit of open source.



On 04/09/14 18:51, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> 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 
> organisation.
> 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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