[OSGeo-Discuss] The Germans and The Brazilians...

andrea giacomelli pibinko at gmail.com
Thu Jun 12 14:33:26 PDT 2008

Daniel -

1) I can provide my personal opinion (still, built on top of almost 18
months of making an effort within GFOSS.it, and a much longer period in
thinking on how to help raise awareness on GIS and open source).

All of this reasoning spawns from the mission that we see for a local
chapter (http://www.osgeo.org/content/chapters/guidelines.html) and in the
drive to make this happen in Italy.

2) In Italy, even if you don't want to "deal with money", if you don't have
a legal entity, anything you do in the "real world" [1] in order to follow
local chapter guidelines is strongly limited.

Without a registered association you may promote activities as a single
individual, or as a "comitato spontaneo" (meaning a self-made committee).
A list of people on a web page in Italy does not qualify as an Association
or a "chapter".

However a "real" association will have a much greater "role recognition"
than the work of a group of individuals.


REAL CASE 1: An association with a formal presence can obtain "sponsorship"
by a local administration authority, and have free (as in no cost) access to

facilities with broadband access to host any event....a group of individuals
as a "spontaneous committee" may or may not be eligible for the same...a
group of individuals referenced on a wiki page will not.. ;)

REAL CASE 2: An individual or a "spontaneous committee" may be invited for a
seminar by a University Department, but an Association can create a formal
partnership with the same entity, and trigger much more structured
initiatives...etc. etc. etc.

Again: it all depends, possibly, on the peculiarities of a given local
setting, and the combination of the local chapter guidelines as suggested by
OSGEO with the vision of the people acting locally.

4) PLEASE NOTE: In my previous post I did not say that all local chapters in
any region of the globe would require a legal entity to be effective in
their mission - I was possibly stressing the fact that, while creating the
"virtual" presence of a Chapter is easy, this needs to come from an
assessment of the environmet we, as "locals" operate.

5) The other non-secondary aspect of having the "real world" entity is that
people are required to meet to make certain things happen in the operation
of the association itself.
In terms of consolidation of a community, people sitting around a table
(possibly with a bottle of their favorite drink - be it spirits or water),
will help.

6) As a result of the approach we took in Italy, following our first year of
existence, we started from Feb 08 a calendar of activities that is leading
to a substantial awareness raising process (
http://wiki.gfoss.it/index.php/To_Do#Programmazione_eventi for a partial
list...and please bear with us if we don't translate all material targeted
to local activities in English ;))

7) If you live in a country where things are simpler, we'll be glad to make
contact with you... we could set up some "FOSS advocate exchange
program"...you come for one month in Italy, and try our byzantine heritage
environment (but with lots of good food) ...and we try some simpler settings
to raise awareness and to create networking opportunities etc etc.

I hope this mail helped in expanding the picture.
I apologize if I may have taken a kind of  philosophical/post-cyberpunk
angle...and talk to you on our European AM time... ;)

Andrea, aka pibinko

[1] or let's say "off the web"...given the amount of time we spend on the
web we can't really tell which is our main "reference" environment ;) )

2008/6/12 Daniel Morissette <dmorissette at mapgears.com>:

> andrea giacomelli wrote:
>> I encourage ANY new chapter to consider this prior to opening a wiki
>> section on the OSGEO site as a local chapter (whiche does not mean I don't
>> like the OSGEO wiki).
>> I encourage ANY pre-existing local chapter that does not yet have a local
>> "formal entity" to re-consider their approach (and maybe decide that they
>> are fine without a local legal entity ;)...but as a result of a full
>> evaluation of existing options).
> Andrea,
> Could you please elaborate a bit more on the reasons why a "formal entity"
> seems so important to you for a local chapter?
> Your comment is interesting because we are in the process of starting a
> Quebec Chapter of OSGeo *without* a formal entity, exactly to avoid the
> overhead of a legal entity and since our initial goals are networking and
> sharing of expertise (in collaboration with the French Chapter with whom we
> share the French language). We figured that since we have no current plans
> to deal with money we are better build the networking tools first (wiki,
> discuss lists, regular meetings) and then get to the legal/formal stuff only
> later on if/when we really need it.
> This is the model of the Ottawa chapter which has been operating without a
> formal entity since ~2004. It was the first OSGeo chapter and the group
> existed as MapServer Users Group and Grass Users Group before OSGeo was even
> created.
> Since your experience seems to differ from ours and we are just about to
> create a new chapter without a formal entity I'd really like to learn more
> about your own experience and the reasons why we should consider the formal
> entity options.
> Thanks
> Daniel
> --
> Daniel Morissette
> http://www.mapgears.com/
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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