[OSGeo-Discuss] Where to, OSGeo?
Seven (aka Arnulf)
seven at arnulf.us
Sun Sep 12 11:54:22 PDT 2010
On 09/12/2010 05:12 PM, Ari Jolma wrote:
> Where to, OSGeo?
> I've seen, heard, and discussed now twice Tyler's (Tyler Mitchell, OSGeo
> CEO) presentation on OSGeo strategy. First in Nottingham in June and now
> in Barcelona. The presentation is a mind map, and it introduces the
> phases organizations go through as they evolve. OSGeo has clearly been a
> success so far with several successful conferences in a row, growing
> number of foundation projects, and a community that is recognized and
> respected. The question Tyler asks, is, where OSGeo wants to be in, say,
> 5 years from now, and how do we know if we have reached our goals.
> What I present below draws from those meetings and others and I don't
> claim that any of the ideas below is mine or even new in any way.
> Opinions are mine of course.
> OSGeo surely wants to live, and to live means to grow and evolve. Grow
> older, stronger, or bigger? Stronger, think I.
> OSGeo is mostly a voluntary organization, which relies on working
> together and openly. Sometimes this means not so efficient decision
> making and confusion. That's ok, but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't
> try to improve our institutions. For example confidentiality is
> sometimes an issue. Who receives the next Sol Katz award can't be
> discussed openly. But what if somebody comes to us and makes a proposal?
> I feel that it is the business of the proposer to make it public unless
> something else is agreed together. Board is well-defined and it has
> mechanisms for private conversations, but what if the issue should be
> taken to a committee. Committees are not always well-defined. Our
> openness needs to be communicated to others but delicate issues must be
> handled with care.
> OSGeo needs funds for its operations. Both growing stronger and bigger
> require money. Some say a lot of new support money can be found, we just
> need to try harder or be more skilled in asking for it. Some say our
> members and partners in the broad sense (subscribers to this list for
> example and perhaps companies) can give money on a voluntary basis. I
> must say I believe more in the latter (but don't dismiss the first) and
> I personally feel more comfortable with it. Another idea is to create a
> new revenue stream from events or other new products.
> The concept of "a product" is interesting, although it is business
> terminology. What is the product of OSGeo? And who are its clients?
> Currently OSGeo has, IMO, two main products: FOSS4G conference and it
> itself, and two main clients: the community (i.e., OSGeo itself) and
> donors. I point out that I don't see the clients or users of the OSGeo
> software projects as clients of OSGeo (unless they are or want to be a
> part of the community). The projects are more like clients and OSGeo
> provides service products to them. How much revenue should play a role
> when new products are considered? If OSGeo wants to grow stronger, then
> the new products should be planned and "sold" with partners, maybe OSGeo
> itself having only a small role (OSGeo members can have a much bigger
> role). This then would mean that OSGeo needs a more clear idea of what
> an OSGeo partner is (and who can be a partner) and what kind of
> contracts or memorandums to sign with them.
> OSGeo is, at least its core is, a foundation for FOS software. How much
> OSGeo should care and work for FOS data, FOS educational content, etc?
> IMO, the baseline is that OSGeo should, and it is already very much
> doing so, feel very deeply about standards-based access to data. This
> will also sometimes mean authenticated access to non-free data. OSGeo
> should also feel very deeply about FOS geospatial software having at
> least an equal footing in educational institutions, both in teaching and
> in research, and both in the sense of using software and software as a
> result of research. OSGeo should encourage going beyond the baseline,
> but that should not be in its main mission.
> On a train to Davos, Switzerland,
> Ari Jolma
> charter member 2006->
> board member 2008-2010
thanks for this! It feels so useful to me that I added it to the talk
page of the meeting  to make it accessible for further editing and to
maybe encourage more comments.
our  task is now to build on the meeting minutes, Ari's ideas and
whatever else we come up with and follow up with a constructive dialog
on where we  are going. This is definitely not crisis management or
anything like that but instead just a great chance to step back and look
sideways to get a new perspective and see where we are headed. It will
be good to break this down into several threads, parallel Wiki hacking
and so on...
 "our" in this context is not just the board or some elite group of
officers but all who consider themselves a member of OSGeo. So basically
 "we" in this context is not just the board or some elite group of
officers but all who consider themselves to have a valid stake in where
OSGeo is headed. So basically you all.
Sorry to be dense on this but I want try really hard to prevent "us"
from becoming a boring centrally driven org as any other. We are
special, or is it "spacial" or "spatial"? Ugh. Language. Whatever, you
know what I mean to say...
Exploring Space, Time and Mind
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