[OSGeo-Discuss] Local Chapters

Lorenzo Becchi lorenzo at ominiverdi.com
Thu Feb 8 12:51:49 PST 2007

These two days have seen an active discussion about Local Chapters, 
their meaning and their future.

The discussion is mainly reported in two posts of international discuss 
that I'm pasting here below.

As Frank and Markus suggest, we've moved the discussion to this list.
There's also a wiki page reporting this two post and that should be the 
best place to define a common solution.
and definitively became:

My first post was:
Yesterday evening (GMT), on #osgeo irc channel,  we had an interesting
discussion about what OSGeo Local Chapters mean.

Here my own opinion:
We agreed that it seem not clear at all what Local Chapters mean and
they are supposed to do.
Before Local Chapters become a wide reality it would be nice to discuss
what Local Chapters are and how they would stick to Mother Osgeo.
It is natural to me that so many different approaches will just create a
chaos and a very bad returning image.

  the discussion is available on irc log:

search for "12:26:22" in the text, is more or less where the discussion
on local chapters starts.

I see a keypoint on this:
13:36:32    FrankW:     ominoverde: I do get the point that we may need
to revisit what rules we expect a local chapter to abide by to avoid
future problems. But I'm not *leading* any action on that front.

I understand that Frank cannot have time to moderate every discussion.
It would be nice if a good support will come from us, local chapters
interested people, and if we can define some more clear rules on how
Local Chapters should be.


Than Frank Warmerdam argued:



My point wasn't so much that I don't have time, but rather that I think
someone with a firmer idea of what they think we ought to do should be
leading such an effort.

Based on the discussion we had yesterday I can more clearly see some
dangers of a relatively loose approach to how local chapters are 
However, I'm still quite worried that a fairly restrictive policy will
have negative ramifications.

For me, I'm especially worried about folks forming an OSGeo chapter in
regions that already have a strong open source geospatial group and this
leading to a sort of community split of some sort.  Even if the groups
are cooperative there will be a dilution of efforts, and it is very easy
for such a situation to lead to bad feelings that would be damaging to
all our goals.

What I could imagine is OSGeo having fairly strict rules for what 
an official local chapter, but also have a looser concept of affiliated
organizations.  So, for instance, in Germany the GAV e.V. has existed 
for some
time, and has essentially the same goals as OSGeo.  Rather than have a
"competing" OSGeo chapter start there, we might instead treat GAV e.V.
as an affiliated group and refer folks interested in local action and 
to them.

So in this scenario the local chapters page might instead become the "local
organizations" page, and list both official OSGeo chapters and other 
organizations.  The chapters would be subject to fairly strict rules, while
we would just need to ensure that the affiliated groups share closely
related goals.

In this scenario I'd feel more comfortable adding some additional rules
for local chapters.  They might include things like:
   o local chapter members are automatically general members of OSGeo which
     implies we register them properly with contact info, etc.
   o local chapters would need to follow some sort of code of conduct with
     regard to handling of chapter funds.
   o local chapters who wish to have corporate sponsors would need to do so
     under a "standardized local chapter program", perhaps a bit like the
     OSGeo Project Sponsorship program (except that the money presumably
     would not be routed through the main foundation).

In places where groups don't feel comfortable with such outside interference
interested individuals could just launch a local GFOSS type group that 
use the OSGeo name for itself, and seek affiliation with OSGeo rather than
being a formal local chapter.

All the above said, I'm still somewhat ambivalent about the whole 
matter.  If
something is to happen someone who feels more strongly about it than I will
need to lead the effort.

PS. I can't help but wonder if this discussion should be on discuss since
it is of wide interest.  Having it here, while appropriate to the purpose
of the list, will tend to limit involvement in the discussion to the few
who knew to join this list.  I would have no objection to my email being
taken to the main discuss list if folks want to move the discussion there.

PPS. I'm bcc'ing fundraising and board since these discussion relate closely
to nacent discussions on the fundraising list about local sponsorship, and
because ultimately it will be the board that would have to put in rules.
But I *hate* cross posting storms so hopefully the bcc will keep the actual
discussion in one place.

Best regards,


Personally I do agree with all arguments Frank presented.
This should be the starting point to create the new rules for Local 


More information about the Discuss mailing list