[OSGeo-Conf] LocationTech FOSS4G FAQ

Andrea Ross andrea.ross at eclipse.org
Wed Nov 11 07:37:25 PST 2015

Dear All,

This is the contents of the FAQ we mentioned, copied and pasted for 
archive purposes.

I have made one change since yesterday noting that OSGeo is a member of 
LocationTech and that Anne Ghisla & Jody Garnett have both participated 
while sitting as OSGeo board members. Jody currently sits on both boards.

Kind regards,



This document is intended as a reasonably short FAQ for information 
related to LocationTech as a conference organizer for FOSS4G. 
Specifically the Ottawa and Philadelphia bid teams have chosen 
LocationTech as a PCO in 2017. This has raised questions for some 
members of the OSGeo Conference Committee. Boston chose a different 

The thoughts below are pulled from questions and concerns raised on the 
conference-dev list over the past few days. The hope with this document 
is to tease apart the questions related to LocationTech as a PCO, and 
hopefully help people feel maybe a bit better about them.

There are many logos on a conference web site, and exhibitors in an 
exhibit hall. Do they detract from one another inappropriately?

Probably not, otherwise people would never sponsor.

Someone has to organize the conference. If you acknowledge them, does it 
detract from others & especially OSGeo?

No, it's the accepted and classy thing to do. This has been the norm at 
past FOSS4G events... VTM, AGI, GITA, etc. LocationTech as an organizer 
would be acknowledged in the same manner.

Is anyone allowed to participate in a FOSS4G bid?

Under the current RFP rules, there is nothing that suggests otherwise. 
Obviously it helps if there are people with strong connections to OSGeo 
such as charter members, board members, project committers, founders, 
etc. All 3 bids for 2017 have good support in this regard. As well, all 
3 bid cities have included partners from their local, regional, or 
national communities.

Are FOSS4G bid teams allowed to pick whichever PCO they feel is best?

Yes. That's the way it works. And it's pragmatic. The people from the 
Ottawa & Philly teams are very community minded and care deeply about 
the growth and success of the open source geospatial ecosystem. They 
chose LocationTech as their PCO. Boston cares the same, and made a 
different choice that suited them, and that's totally fine.

Are people who participate in LocationTech marauders from afar, invading 
to steal our wonders?

No they are people just like you. And just like you, they have been 
involved in the OSGeo community for a long time and still are. A FOSS4G 
bid is significant undertaking and should be applauded. Having people 
participating in LocationTech as well the bid is a positive thing.

Is FOSS4G a better event with LocationTech and other non-OSGeo projects 

You bet. FOSS4G has always been much broader than OSGeo projects. That 
is an integral part of its success. Obviously LocationTech projects (& 
many others housed at neither OSGeo nor LocationTech) would prefer to go 
to one event if that’s possible.

Is LocationTech trying to take over FOSS4G?

Nope. The projects & members of LocationTech care about FOSS4G and how 
it’s run, so LocationTech gets involved with supporting bids. Again, 
rather than viewing them as outsiders, it will likely be helpful to 
consider them as long active members of the OSGeo community. If it needs 
to be said, everything related to this support was done by the book, 
following the processes as best people could, out in the open, etc. The 
people that chose LocationTech did so of their own volition for good 
reasons. Other bids made different choices, and that is not only fine, 
but to be encouraged.  A diversity of approaches is likely to result in 
better outcomes..

What happens if LocationTech is the PCO for a FOSS4G event?

We don’t need to hypothesize as we have a real life example. We can 
expect the same thing that happened in California in March 2015 for 
FOSS4G-North America:  a great conference that people really enjoyed. 
85% rated it excellent or very good. Add in those that rated it good, 
and it’s all but 1 person. For what it's worth, it had plenty of great 
visibility for OSGeo... a really good looking booth in a good location, 
logo on the website, Frank Warmerdam speaking on its behalf in the 
opening and closing plenaries (there were no board members present so 
Frank as ex-President graciously agreed to do so when Andrea asked). It 
also had some really great things like 30% women speakers & attendees.

Why doesn’t LocationTech run its own conference and stay out of the 
FOSS4G sandbox?

For the past three years, LocationTech has operated its own multi-city 
“tour” in the fall with workshops, full day events, and evening talks in 
a number of cities around the world.  These events have not been limited 
to LocationTech projects and OSGeo and other open source projects are 
invited and welcomed to give talks.  This year LocationTech also 
organized a 1-day FedGeoDay event in Washington DC.  While LocationTech 
has the capacity to operate its own one-week conference (and the Eclipse 
Foundation operates multiple annual conferences), the members of the 
organization do not feel that it would be helpful or constructive to the 
open source geospatial community to operate a separate conference.

Does LocationTech threaten OSGeo?

Certainly not intentionally, and not likely at all. Do you think the 
Mozilla, Apache, Linux, Eclipse, and other Foundations fret about each 
other's' existence? There doesn’t seem to be much evidence for this. And 
they do collaborate all the time.

OSGeo is a valued member of LocationTech. It was invited to participate. 
Anne Ghisla served as OSGeo’s board member and representative at 
LocationTech for some time. Currently Jody Garnett serves on both the 
OSGeo & LocationTech boards.

Does LocationTech help OSGeo?

It certainly tries. It has been a cash sponsor and supporter of many 
OSGeo events, including the 2015 Code Sprint and FOSS4G North America, 
FOSS4G Nottingham, FOSS4G Portland, and others.  Its members (it is a 
member organization) have participated in OSGeo at every level for many 
years. It has provided free legal IP review for OSGeo projects that they 
would otherwise not have had and they resulted in serious issues being 
fixed. It has invited OSGeo projects to participate in events should 
they wish to. It has sent speakers from its projects to OSGeo events. 
Collaboration is already happening on many facets and without any fuss. 
People shuffle back and forth across an imaginary border all the time 
paying it no attention.

Do we need an MOU between LocationTech & OSGeo?

It’s not clear what the objective would be, but LocationTech is happy to 
discuss or review a draft if that would be helpful.

What will become of OSGeo? Will it become irrelevant?

OSGeo has been around for many years, it continues to grow, and it is 
supporting lots of really good activities. It seems a safe bet that it 
will do more of the same for some time. It will adapt as it needs to and 
as it sees fit. And that's a good thing... it's needed. This is all 
independent of LocationTech of course.

If LocationTech continues to grow will OSGeo decline (or vice versa)?

It doesn’t works that way, and isn’t a zero sum outcome. The two 
organizations have optimized for different structures and funding 
models, but they share the same objectives:  support and grow a strong 
open source geospatial ecosystem.  Growing the credibility and the 
number of people consuming open source geospatial software works for 
everyone. It attracts more users, more customers, more developers, and 
so forth.  Even technology wise, LocationTech & OSGeo projects are 
intertwined with projects that share and build upon common components.

But LocationTech works with ________ (pick your scary company de jour).

LocationTech is a member organization that includes businesses, 
non-profit organizations, academic institutions and government agencies. 
  Membership dues are based on the size and type of organization.  The 
membership dues pay for full-time professional staff that carry out 
community development, intellectual property review, marketing, 
information technology infrastructure, operations, event organizing, and 
administration.  The governance structure is designed to prevent any 
single organization from controlling the actions of any project or the 
organization as a whole.  Projects as LocationTech are governed by the 
committers, which are elected by the existing committers on the project. 
  The only way to influence a project’s direction is to earn that right 
by impressing the existing committers with contributions.

I heard ____ (big scary company) runs things at LocationTech.

Absolutely not. See previous question.  There are hundreds of members of 
all sizes, and they all get an equal vote. Committers (developers who 
are individuals) get a vote too.*

On 10/11/15 23:21, Andrea Ross wrote:
> Thanks Cameron. That's a great idea. I'll do so tomorrow just in case 
> anyone has any feedback before then.
> Kind regards,
> Andrea
> On 10/11/15 21:09, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> Thanks Andrea for writing this and answering a number of questions 
>> which have been hinted at in email threads.
>> I suggest it would be worth while to cut and paste the contents into 
>> this email thread, so that it gets archived with the rest of the 
>> discussion.
>> Warm regards Cameron
>> On 11/11/2015 3:30 am, Andrea Ross wrote:
>>> Dear Everyone,
>>> I hope you don't mind. The mailing list emails can rapidly become 
>>> overwhelming so I picked through and turned information into a FAQ 
>>> related to LocationTech's involvement that I hope is at least 
>>> somewhat helpful.
>>> Please see:
>>> FOSS4G 2017 LocationTech FAQ 
>>> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/15x1Q3J9OPM95jEkeZhYlU0xB5uO9V9NCOI28g5B_Yqc/edit> 
>>> It is our hope that it makes the information hopefully a bit more 
>>> clear or easy to reference.
>>> Thank you to Robert Cheetham especially, and a bunch of other people 
>>> who helped pull it together.
>>> It is open for anyone to comment should they wish in case there are 
>>> any follow-on questions. I believe it all to be pretty solid, but if 
>>> anything looks amiss, please just let me know.
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Andrea
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Conference_dev mailing list
>>> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>> -- 
>> 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
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/conference_dev/attachments/20151111/4c71965d/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Conference_dev mailing list