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

Andrew Ross andrew.ross at eclipse.org
Sun Sep 7 10:37:04 PDT 2014

Hey Cameron,

I may be wrong in thinking so, but it seems like conflating hosting of 
FOSS4G with a comparison of OSGeo & LocationTech may make the discussion 
more complicated and confusing. It seems off-topic least in this forum, 
which focuses on conferences.

It's an interesting topic and I'm very happy discussing of course.

As a brief comment here, it seems to me the concern a group of people 
have about LocationTech is the explicit influence of member companies. 
For what it's worth, member companies like this. ;-)

The thing is, that influence is balanced by explicit requirement for 
committer representation. If it isn't obvious, it's also designed to 
explicitly balance the interests of large & small companies. Helping 
projects, the user community, & adopting companies relate and 
collaborate together is the reason the group exists so this just makes 
sense. LocationTech has guest membership today to reach beyond to 
others. I could easily see it evolving to add explicit user community & 
academic representation if that helped people feel more comfortable. 
Would that be desirable?

Kind regards,


On 05/09/14 18:53, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> 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.
> Both:
> * 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
> Differences:
> * 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
> LISAsoft
> Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,
> 26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009
> P +61 2 9009 5000,  Wwww.lisasoft.com,  F +61 2 9009 5099

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