[OSGeo-Discuss] a question about speaking out for, or as part of, the Foundation

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Mon Mar 13 23:36:24 PST 2006

dear Frank, thankyou for your consideration of this,

On Mon, Mar 13, 2006 at 08:46:39PM -0500, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
> >- Would Markus be empowered to sign our letter, in his capacity as a
> >  board member of OSGeo? 
> Markus can certainly sign the petition.

Sorry if i was unclear, i meant the more specific open letter we are
also sending to MEPs, on top of the bigger public petition, which i
would be *shocked* if Markus had not already signed, in his capacity 
as a concerned private individual. The letter would be a lot higher
profile, one of just a few names/orgs in question, and so the terms of
your judgement call below would definitely apply.
> He could sign "as a board member" without further approval I think.
> Signing on behalf of the foundation is more questionable, and would
> generally require an act of the board.
> An unanimous vote of the board by email would be fine to authorize
> him to do so on behalf of the foundation.

Okay, this makes complete sense to me. 
> >- More generally, if one of us has a message that would travel better
> >  if it was "on behalf of OSGeo", is there a process for deciding on
> >  whether the message is a good fit? Is this a situation where the
> >  board collectively is the only authority empowered to speak out?
> I am personally of the opinion that we need to be fairly conservative
> about the foundation taking official positions on things, and anyone
> speaking "on behalf of the foundation".
> Note that projects or committees (such as the free/public geodata
> group at OSGeo) are a reasonable place to develop statements of
> support, or other policy.  But they likely ought to be forwarded to
> the board for approval.

I can understand, especially when the foundation is still finding its
foundation, that there is a strong need to be 'on-message'. 

The publicgeodata message about INSPIRE is a weird case because it can
seem controversial, it is addressing something directly 'political', 
and it's only loosely connected to the OSGeo core.

'What constitutes a policy statement', especially WRT licensing
options for software and for data, is probably a question that i
should leave for a quieter time ;)


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