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

(Orkney)Toru Mori moritoru at orkney.co.jp
Tue Sep 5 00:02:42 PDT 2006

For Asian entity, time difference can be a part of the issue. Nobody wants 
to wake up until 2 to 3 am at night to attend conference calls :-)

However I think it is not so serious issue regarding "north America 
centric" subject. Many of us know that OSGeo was launched in North America 
and historically many of open source projects have been lead by North 
America people. So it sometimes looks like "north America centric" but it 
is not true. OSGeo is really open to everybody in other part of world such 
as Asia and I am quite comfortable with it except for language barrier. 
This can be very serious for those who are not capable with communication 
in English. 
To solve this problem, we have launched Japan Chapter, which enables 
Japanese people to use our native language. I believe it should work right.

The bottom-line, I don't see "north America centric" issue in OSGeo.

Toru Mori

"Gary Lang" <gary.lang at autodesk.com> wroteF
> 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. 
> Gary
> -----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
> Cc:   
> 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-
> 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.
> Jason
>   _____  
> 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?
> nick

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