Fwd: [OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo

Bruce Bannerman bruce.bannerman.osgeo at gmail.com
Sun Oct 4 18:42:10 PDT 2009


You make a very good point as to the value of marketing.

Thinking back to the early '90s when I was a MicroStation / Intergraph / GDS
user, the factor that attracted me across to using ESRI software at the time
was their marketing approach.

Where Bentley and Intergraph were focusing on technology and the benefits of
the latest widget, ESRI Australia were quietly selling their software by
focusing on how it was being used to solve real world problems. The people
managing the organisation at the time encouraged organisations to show how
they were solving their day to day problems (oh, and by the way, we used
product 'x' to do this). In Australia, ESRI AU appear to have now reverted
to focusing on the technology.

Perhaps that is something to try, demonstrating how the application of the
technology has solved problems, rather than focusing on the OSGeo technology

In addition to the other good suggestions to come out so far, I'd like to
see a good consistent and integrated Architecture developed for OSGeo

It can be rather daunting for someone new to FOSS4G to understand how the
various pieces fit together and what application or library should be used

It would be particularly helpful to Enterprise Architecture types to
understand and feel more comfortable with a 'quality' integrated OSGeo
applications stack.

I know that Paul Ramsey has put together a few documents and I have some
mind maps (tracing applications and high level features) that are getting a
bit dated. Perhaps we can get a few of us together in Sydney to discuss this

Bruce Bannerman

> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Peter Batty
> Sent: Saturday, 3 October 2009 12:32 AM
> To: OSGeo Discussions
> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Next 5 years for OSGeo
> A good discussion and one which is important for OSGeo's
> future. I agree with Cédric's initial statement that "The
> OSGEO is very developer centric and probably need more input
> from management, end user, marketing etc..." and I think that
> the responses to this thread reflect that. Most developers in
> my experience are skeptical of the value of / need for
> marketing (in the open source and closed source world), and
> we've seen a lot of that in the responses. I used to think
> that way too, but over time have come to appreciate the value
> of marketing more. Unfortunately the software business has
> many examples where a company became dominant despite having
> software that was inferior to its competitors, Microsoft and
> ESRI being two of these.
> Ultimately I think that a primary measure of the success of
> OSGeo has to be in the number of people using its products,
> and it is surely in the interests of developers to get more
> users too - which should result in more funding for further
> development, etc. I think that improved "marketing" would
> actually have much more impact in terms of getting more
> people using OSGeo products than anything we can do on the
> development front - there is always a long list of things to
> do, of course, but in general the current functionality of
> most OpenGeo products is very competitive, the main thing
> holding back broader usage is just that most people in the
> broader geospatial industry don't know about them (and/or
> they have misconceptions about open source software, etc).
> And thinking of marketing as taking people to fancy events
> etc is wrong (in this context at least) - I would say that
> better terms for what OSGeo should be doing in this area
> might be outreach and education (in various senses).
> One thing we are weak on in general is documentation on user
> projects / success stories. For example, last week I talked
> at the AGI conference in the UK and afterwards got an email
> from an attendee which said:
> "During your talk you mentioned that you use PostGIS a lot
> and I was wondering if you could let me know about your
> experiences with it? At the moment we have our data on
> different servers and in different formats and I'm trying to
> get it all into one place.  We have recently got SQL Server
> 2005 so I don't think we will be going for the 2008 spatial
> version for a few years.  Therefore I have been looking into
> PostGIS which seems to be the perfect solution.however, I'm
> struggling to find people who have used it on a regular basis."
> We need to make it easy for people to connect with existing
> OSGeo product users, not a "struggle".
> When I chose to use PostGIS for my startup a couple of years
> ago, a critical factor in that decision for me was attending
> FOSS4G and talking to others who had used it. I think that
> the direction that FOSS4G goes in is another key decision in
> terms of OSGeo's marketing strategy. I know there are people
> in the community who want to keep the event small and
> intimate and focused on the existing development community.
> There are others who think it is a great opportunity to
> expose more new people to OSGeo products (me included), and
> that we should do more to grow the conference (and I think
> there are ways we can do this and meet the concerns of the
> development community, as we talked about in the Denver 2010
> proposal).
> I think that programs to encourage greater use of OSGeo
> products in universities would be a great idea too - ESRI
> dominate in this area at the moment, but this would be
> another way to get the word out to a broader audience.
> I think that all these things I have mentioned are better
> done at the OSGeo level than the project level.
> So anyway, I don't believe that marketing is evil, I think
> it's really important if you want reasonable numbers of
> people to use the cool software that you're developing, and I
> think it's important that OSGeo continues to work on this
> area. And that the type of marketing we are talking about is
> really outreach and education, which hopefully are more
> acceptable terms to most :).
> I will sign up to the marketing committee as Tyler suggested,
> and encourage others who are interested to do so too.
> Cheers,
>     Peter.
> On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM, Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo)
> <tmitchell at osgeo.org> wrote:
>       "Jacolin Yves" <yjacolin at free.fr> wrote:
>       > Hello Cédric,
>       >
>       > I think more people think same as you relating this
> point of view :) :
>       >
>       > Le Wednesday 30 September 2009 16:28:20 Cédric
> Moullet, vous avez écrit :
>       >> The OSGEO is very developer centric and probably
> need more input from
>       >> management, end user, marketing etc...
>       Thanks for the great discussion,
>       I can relate to Yves and Cédric's comments.  Cédric's
> comment is the primary
>       feedback I get from end users, local chapters and
> developers alike.  They
>       ask for more information and material to share with
> others at events or
>       meetings, etc.  They don't tend to point out technical
> barriers to their
>       projects success, they already know and love a project
> and just want to tell
>       others about it.  Of course we all have our software
> feature wishlists of
>       functionality but I don't think most of us expect OSGeo
> to be the venue for
>       developing them.  Like Frank says, don't tell the
> projects what to do ;-)
>       Not to say there aren't some powerful synergies to be
> gained at more
>       technical levels through OSGeo and some projects are
> certainly getting used
>       to depending on OSGeo services, but aside from requests
> to our systems admin
>       group, I rarely hear end users, advocates or even
> developers say OSGeo needs
>       to do anything further at a technical level (except
> maybe more benchmarking,
>       live demo disks or binary package development).
>       I'm sure there will be some more good discussion over
> the upcoming months as
>       to focus and effort.  I see the education side as an
> obvious common goal,
>       and marketing as well, but I'm curious to hear more
> about some of the more
>       'developer centric' ideas people have in mind. I'm keen
> to hear further
>       ideas along Cédric's line of thinking too.
>       By the way, the Marketing Committee has a mailing list,
> all are welcome to
>       join to share ideas and volunteer.  It's been pretty
> quiet lately, so don't
>       be shy and come and share your thoughts:
>       http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/marketing
>       Best wishes,
>       Tyler
>       _______________________________________________
>       Discuss mailing list
>       Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>       http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> --
> Peter Batty - President, Spatial Networking
> W: +1 303 339 0957  M: +1 720 346 3954
> Blog: http://geothought.blogspot.com
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