[OSGeo-Discuss] Is OSGeo North America-centric?

Gary Lang gary.lang at autodesk.com
Mon Sep 4 22:25:37 PDT 2006

The time of day we meet is a pretty common in International companies. We could do it earlier, but programmers are pretty unhappy about meeting at 6 AM. 

The only board members who really get poor calling times are the one(s) from Asia, which is poor Venka right now. When I'm in China or India, I just accept the requirement to do conference calls at weird hours as part of doing business. 


-----Original Message-----
From:	Jason Birch [mailto:Jason.Birch at nanaimo.ca]
Sent:	Mon 9/4/2006 10:19 PM
To:	discuss at mail.osgeo.org
Subject:	RE: [OSGeo-Discuss] Is OSGeo North America-centric?

That's an American date convention, not a North American one :)
I can't see where dates are shown in a mm/dd/yyyy format on the main page.  If you see any of these in the content of the site, please let WebCom know and we'll fix them.  There are some that are in an MMM DD,YYYY but I think that this is less subject to confusion.  
One area where I can see problems is committee meeting times.  It is very difficult to schedule meetings at a time when everyone in the world can reasonably attend.  This is partially dealt with be setting the times based on committee member locations, but it definitely discourages participation if you'd rather be asleep.  I'm not sure that there is an answer to this, other than having two meetings, or alternating times week-by-week.
Language might also be a problem?  English has pretty much been the default language for many international organisations like this, but perhaps we should be putting more effort into encouraging other language interaction.  Part of the problem here is that most North-Americans are language disabled, but that's not much of an excuse.  If there are language groups that would benefit from their own discussion lists that is something that should really be supported, but cross-fertilization also needs to be encouraged.  The current website has limited translation functionality, but the Drupal framework that we are currently evaluating is much stronger in its internationalisation capabilities, and we will be pleading for translation assistance as that effort moves forward.
I really have difficulty seeing any of these issues as show-stoppers though.  Is this because of my North-American (Canadian) perspective?  I agree with Gary.  The reach of this organisation after seven months in existence is incredible.  The foundation started in an American venue, and as such I guess that it can be seen as starting with a North-American focus.  I don't think that this has proven to be detrimental to our "global" focus though, and the barriers to entry are pretty low.  Actually, I know that many committees would love any additional help that they could get.  I see the international reach of the organisation spreading considerably with this year's FOSS4G conference, and I would see great value in its placement somewhere in Asia in the following year.  Perhaps rotating continents could be established.  Antarctica would be another good choice; they've been discriminated against for too long by equatorial-centric projections.
Frankly, I'm more concerned about gender representation, but that problem seems to be somewhat endemic in the open source world.  I'm hopeful that this will change though, as I have seen it generally change in the geospatial industry over the last fifteen years.  I'm actually a bit worried; a few more like Jo and we'll be at a severe disadvantage. ;)
As an aside, I watched Canadian Bacon (John Candy, etc) the other night, and started wondering if Canadian OSGeo folks should start worrying about taking the fall for any perceived bias.  After all, there are more than enough grounds for conspiracy theory here...
Hmm.  I don't think it's a good idea for me to write emails this late.  Please don't take offence.  I think that this is an issue that we need to take seriously, but my personal take is that it will work itself out as we mature and expand.


From: nicholas.g.lawrence [mailto:mainroads.qld.gov.au]
Sent: Mon 2006-09-04 8:58 PM
To: discuss at mail.osgeo.org
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Is OSGeo North America-centric?

> Would love to hear more thoughts on this,

The date format on the OSGEO website definately has a
"north american focus". The dates are month/day/year,
and I, for example, am used to day/month/year.

Perhaps if the month was displayed as a word, instead
of a number, this would be more internationally friendly?


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: winmail.dat
Type: application/ms-tnef
Size: 5124 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20060904/66bc16ae/attachment-0001.bin>

More information about the Discuss mailing list