OSGeo Presidents Newsletter #1
warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu Mar 23 22:44:18 PST 2006
We are now roughly seven weeks into the existence of the Open
Source Geospatial Foundation, and I am quite excited by some
of the progress we have made. But it has also been pointed out
to me that many members of our community and supporters are not
able to "see" what is going on very clearly.
To try and alleviate that I have agreed to write a brief newsletter
intended to summarize activities within the foundation on a regular
basis, perhaps every week or two. This one may be a bit longer
than most as I try to summarize much of what has been accomplished
since our launch.
Membership and Board
At our formation meeting in Chicago we decided that the folks
attending the meeting would form the core membership of the foundation,
but it was also seen as important to reach out and expand the membership
beyond those who attended. To that ended we have completed a process
of selecting additional members and board members. We now have 45
voting members, and a full board of nine directors. I am very pleased
that we have achieved a degree of representation from around the globe,
and many aspects of our community (developers, educators, commercial
users, and hobbyists).
We are working on a formal definition of "Associate Member" (or
essentially a non-voting member) but in the meantime I consider anyone
an associate of the foundation if they consider themselves that! I
stress, you don't need to be a voting member to contribute in all sorts
of ways to the work of the foundation.
Web Site and Wiki
The Website Committee (webcommittee.osgeo.org), chaired by Daniel
Brookshier is responsible for maintaining the content, style and
technology for the OSGeo website and Wiki. The web site is intended
to be the "official face of OSGeo" and WebCom is working to flesh it
out with content.
The Wiki (http://wiki.osgeo.org) is a much more free-wheeling place, and
anyone is welcome to register with the wiki, and add thoughts to
pages, or create new pages with things they think are important. Note
that stuff in the wiki is *not* the official policy of the foundation.
Just because you see something suggested there doesn't mean we will or
won't do it. But it is an excellent environment to collaborate with
others on ideas.
WebCom has also launched a Logo Contest to develop a logo for the
foundation. This is your opportunity to fine fame and fortune!
Please consider making a submission. Details are at:
WebCom is also looking for a "news editor" for the web site. See
the announcement about this at:
On launch there were eight projects who committed to joining the
foundation as official "foundation projects". They are GDAL, GeoTools,
GRASS, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide Open Source, MapServer and OSSIM.
Early on the board decided that these projects should go through an
"incubation" process just like future projects will. The incubation
process is intended to bring projects into alignment with foundation
"culture", procedures and requirements. Part of the process is some
sort of intellectual property review as well.
The Incubation Committee is responsible for developing policy on how
incubation will work, and applying it to these projects. The committee
is chaired by me (Frank Warmerdam) and includes a representative of each
of the initial projects. On a technical level some projects are now
already appearing on the osgeo.org website proper (ie.
Details on what it means to be a foundation project are still being
discussed. One controversial topic has been what approaches are
appropriate to verify that all code in foundation projects has been
properly (ie. legally) contributed. On the one hand we want to
avoid situations where users or developers of foundation projects
are exposed to legal problems due to improperly contributed code.
On the other hand we don't want to place unnecessary barriers in the
way of contribution. We were excited to have the Open Source
luminary Eric Raymond contribute to this discussion.
Public Geospatial Data Committee
In Chicago it was agreed that data availability is a significant
barrier to wider use of open source geospatial software. To
that end, we accepted it as a goal of the foundation to promote
the availability of free geospatial data. To that end a committee
was recently formed to pursue this objective, with Jo Walsh as
the chair. See geodata.osgeo.org.
In cooperation with Jo the foundation also issued a statement in
support of the publicgeodata.org position with regard to the
European INSPIRE directive that threatened to forestall the
availability of public geospatial datasets in Europe. Jo has
reported that substantial progress was made in the most recent
revision steps of the INSPIRE directive, and we hope that the
support of OSGeo played at least some small role.
At the first formal meeting of the committee it was decided to
form three working groups. One focused on Discovery (providing
a catalog of public data sources), one focused on Packaging
(repackaging data for use, documentation, meta-data), and one focused
on Licensing (guidelines on data licensing).
Promotion and Visibility
Promotion of open source geospatial software is a core mission
of the foundation. Promotion of the foundation itself is a
necessary to collect greater support and influence for the foundation.
The Promotion and Visibility committee, chaired by Arnulf Christl, is
responsible for promoting the foundation, foundation projects and open
source geospatial software in general to the broader geospatial
This committee will be working to prepare promotional and presentation
materials suitable for use at conferences and trade shows. It will
also be coordinating an OSGeo presence at appropriate industry events.
It is planning it's first official meeting next week, and there are
lots of opportunities to contribute.
An official committee to develop a fundraising program for OSGeo has
been formed, and is chaired by Frank Warmerdam. A formative meeting
will be held soon (watch discuss list for announcements). Some thoughts
on a sponsorship program can be found at:
The goal would be to raise funds to support the foundation itself, as
well as (potentially) to support specific foundation projects.
It is expected that a committee focused on the educational community
will be officially formed this week. It would be focused on developing
Curriculum based on open source software, and well as better cooperation
with academic research projects. More on this soon.
There has been a related discussion of the possibility of having an
OSGeo Certification program, which might be associated with a training
program. More ideas on this can be found at:
There has been a variety of discussions about how to support those
preparing binaries distributions for different platforms (ie. Debian,
Red Hat, Win32, MacOSX) and whether we should have an OSGeo branded
stack of binaries. This is still in a formative stage, but more
information can be found at:
I set the clouds in motion - turn up | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush | President OSGF, http://osgeo.org
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