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

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Fri Sep 5 15:53:38 PDT 2014

It has been suggested this conversation be delayed till after foss4g 
when people have more bandwidth (or maybe there will be conversations at 
foss4g, which would be a good thing). Unfortunately I won't be at 
foss4g, so will provide advance thoughts here.

Lets start by comparing OSGeo and LocationTech.
* Have an incubation process for ensuring the quality of projects, and 
showing a recognised quality brand.
* Provide marketing, with an emphasis on conferences
* Offer infrastructure and development processes
* Attract sponsors

* LocationTech have paid staff, OSGeo doesn't
* LocationTech's approach is more top down (with a board drawn mostly 
from sponsoring business), OSGeo is more bottom up (with a board drawn 
from development and user communities)
* OSGeo has a strong Education community, I don't think LocationTech 
works as much in the education space

I think there are great benefits which could be gained by closer 
integration between LocationTech and OSGeo, beyond just lip service, but 
rather by putting practical steps in place.

In particular:
A. Why are there two different incubation processes? Can't we combine 
these? Or if there are fundamental differences, why not make incubation 
a two stage process, with a Level 1/Level 2 qualification. Surely that 
would be of benefit for the incubating projects and the greater open 
source community?

B. Conversations in this thread so far have focused on the global FOSS4G 
event, which has become very large and burn out our FOSS4G LOCs, but 
local events can be organised with very little overhead. Yes, drawing 
upon a paid staff member (such as employed by LocationTech) could 
facilitate knowledge sharing between regions which would be very 
useful.  Knowledge from Lessons Learned should also be collected in a 
FOSS4G Cookbook in case the staff leave. And if the Cookbook were made 
public, then it could be contributed to by the greater community, and 
also be used for regional, local and micro FOSS4G events. An initial 
version of the cookbook exists [1] and even draws upon some LocationTech 
material. If LocationTech is serious about engaging in FOSS4G I'd 
suggest that contributing to a public cookbook should be one of the 
cornerstones for involvement.

C. The OSGeo-Live project provides an excellent marketing tool for Open 
Source GIS projects, yet only a few of LocationTech projects are 
represented on OSGeo-Live. I'd suggest that in a collaborative 
engagement, we should see all LocationTech graduated projects on 
OSGeo-Live. This would probably involve LocationTech engaging in 
OSGeo-Live development.

D. Money - this is a harder issue, but needs to be flagged. It would be 
easier if sponsorship dollars were aggregated, then distributed among 
OSGeo/LocationTech priorities appropriately. I suggest this topic be 
shelved till after addressing the other suggestions.

E. Why do child projects need to pick which parent project they love the 
most? Why do sponsors need to pick which project to sponsor? The greater 
the practical integration between OSGeo and LocationTech, the better it 
will be for the projects, the sponsors, and greater open source community.

[1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook

On 5/09/2014 11:32 pm, Andrew Ross wrote:
> Thank you Steven, everyone.
> More thoughts in hopes they help:
> I sense the key concern may be profit sharing which is Cameron's point 
> #1. I say this because LocationTech projects (JTS, uDig, GeoGig, 
> GeoTrellis, GeoMesa, etc.), or unaffiliated projects (Leaflet, d3, 
> Anvil, Cesium, etc.) and initiatives are usually welcome to speak at 
> FOSS4G and the audience is definitely interested in them.
> There may be some tension between those that feel FOSS4G is a big tent 
> for any quality open source geospatial software, and those that feel 
> FOSS4G strictly == OSGeo.
> In my opinion, having been to all FOSS4G's since 2007 except one, the 
> spirit of FOSS4G has always clearly been a big tent. I also think this 
> *strengthens* the FOSS4G brand considerably, which is a good thing for 
> everyone.
> Speaking to Cameron's point #1, for FOSS4G NA 2015, we are planning a 
> fixed price per paid registration to contribute to OSGeo. This is a 
> simple paradigm that is very clear to understand and helps ensure 
> mutual success from a great event. I welcome feedback on this idea.
> Speaking to Cameron's point #2. Based on what Darrell & others before 
> him have shared, it sounds like OSGeo is already somewhat absentee in 
> terms of "controlling" FOSS4G. I noticed there are often fairly 
> significant differences between FOSS4G proposals & the actual results. 
> Sometimes considerable differences like a hike of 50% in registration 
> prices for example. I think a clear relationship with the Eclipse 
> Foundation with clear terms and strong continuity over time might 
> enable more building upon each event might be better.
> For #3, with LocationTech, Apache, Mozilla, & many others doing open 
> source geospatial, and other initiatives like Geomeetup & Georabble 
> and many others are thriving, I think OSGeo is one of many 
> organizations. This thought seems scary to a small group of people who 
> had bigger aspirations. This diversity doesn't bother the vast 
> majority of people in the community. I don't think "there can be only 
> one" is necessary for OSGeo's brand to thrive. If the OSGeo board 
> would like my help and advice with regards to brand, I am happy to 
> offer it.
> These are my thoughts and feelings. I welcome feedback and criticism.
> Andrew
> On 05/09/14 05:16, Steven Feldman wrote:
>> Cameron makes some very good points which probably articulate the 
>> concerns of many in the OSGeo community. On the other hand, Andrew 
>> sets out well some of the concerns that people like me have regarding 
>> the sustainability of FOSS4G global events and perhaps the longer 
>> term vision and growth of OSGeo.
>> There are many of us who are passionate about open source and want to 
>> help to strengthen our community and reach out to an ever growing 
>> opportunity. Surely we can find a way for OSGeo and Eclipse to 
>> collaborate that furthers our shared objectives and addresses any 
>> concerns?
>> You can consider this an offer to help if wanted
>> ______
>> Steven
>> On 5 Sep 2014, at 01:44, Andrew Ross <andrew.ross at eclipse.org 
>> <mailto:andrew.ross at eclipse.org>> wrote:
>>> 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.
>>> Regards,
>>> Andrew
>>> 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.

Cameron Shorter,
Software and Data Solutions Manager
Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,
26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

P +61 2 9009 5000,  W www.lisasoft.com,  F +61 2 9009 5099

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