[OSGeo-Discuss] Report from the OSGeo Board meeting

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Tue Sep 20 22:39:08 PDT 2011


Eli originally asked these questions privately, but his preamble
seemed to give permission to reply publicly if I so chose.
I think the questions are likely to be common (and also touch
on things Karsten raised in another email), so I'm going to give
my position here.

Hopefully I won't get in too much trouble from the rest of the board.
I speak for myself, but it is sometimes bad for board members to
speak individually.  I'm going to operate on the basis that the value
of being open is greater than the value of appearing to be united in
all respects.

On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:43 PM, Eli Adam <EAdam at co.lincoln.or.us> wrote:
> I have some similar questions in addition to those asked by Gary, but was going to give the board some time (since Arnulf said, The full minutes
> of the meeting will be on the Web soon).  In the spirit of asking good (clear, articulate, direct) questions here are a few I hope that the board addresses:
> Is there going to be a paid long-term OSGeo position?

I do not anticipate there being an immediate full time
replacement for Tyler as ED.

> How will routine work get done?

We are seeking professional support for financial aspects.
In the meantime Daniel as the new treasurer will have to handle
this aspect.

Whoever is selected as secretary will presumably be responsible
for some other routine matters related to corporate governance
and record keeping.

Beyond that I'm not exactly sure what routine work you mean.
There are certainly a lot of things that were done by Tyler,
much of it was special outreach projects of various kinds, not
routine work.

> How will OSGeo materialize a physical presence?  Who will do these?

We authorized "ambassador travel" funding to support folks
representing OSGeo in cases where a physical presence is
required.  We will have to depend on a directors and other
OSGeo supporters to be our face.  To some extent that was
already the case.

> What will be the OSGeo phone number?  Who will answer it?

An interesting question.  I'm not sure.

> What will be the OSGeo email?

The OSGeo email address is info at osgeo.org.  For the
last number of years it has gone to Tyler and I jointly and
I have responded to those questions I felt fell within my
competence and that he hadn't already replied to.  I
imagine this will need to be directed to one or two more
volunteers with a similar protocol to avoid stepping on each
other's toes.

> Who will answer it and with what promptness or follow-through?

Promptness and follow through may vary.  I'd like to think that
quite a few people over the years have found me to be fairly
prompt processing OSGeo password reset requests that went
through that alias.  Follow through on complex initiatives will
of course be much more challenging without Tyler doing the
heavy lifting.

> There is some indication that the Board will take care of
> many of these tasks.  My observations of the Board
> indicate that the Board is made up of individuals who are
> very busy and already contribute significant resources to
> various OSGeo Projects and tasks.  Action items do not
> always get accomplished in a prompt manner or ever.

This is true, but it was true even when we had Tyler taking
on many items.  There are always more things that ought to
be done than people who have the time to do them.  We
will need to prioritize and some things will certainly not get

> Do the current members of the Board think that they
> can perform better than previous Board members?

That's tough.  Let's say for the time being I won't be able
to hide behind "that being the ED's job".   But the goal is
not to beat more work out of the board.

> Can these types of Directors consistently be attracted to Board membership in the future?

I have no answer to that.

> Will Board members continue to serve for several terms providing some historical continuity?

That is unanswerable but I think we have maintained a reasonable
degree of continuity in the past while still making room for new
blood and new ideas.

> Who will provide sponsorship paperwork (receipts, bills, etc) and with what promptness?

We are seeking professional support for this aspect.  We are
still investigating options.

> What will OSGeo do to interact with organizations that
> are more formal?  Specifically organizations that only
> view other organizations as legitimate if there are impressive
> titles and suits?

I am tempted to suggest that it is the organizations who
only treat those in suits as legitimate who are broken, not
us!  That said, we will be looking at different ways of
representing OSGeo effectively.  That might include
some sort of part time hiring or if we are sufficiently
successful in hiring even something full time.  But it needs
to be sustainable and I think there are other ways of giving
OSGeo a credible face.

> From paying attention to Board traffic, it was apparent that OSGeo is maturing as an organization and would need to make changes and I suppose that I didn't really get that involved since no changes are easier to react to than significant changes.  It seems that changes like this will require a more clear articulation of a plan than keeping everything the same (which really didn't require any articulation).  Sorry for holding you to a higher standard for making changes.

I don't have a detailed plan to articulate.  To a large
degree we will be struggling over the coming months to
achieve consensus on future directions.  I also suspect
there will be some experimentation.

> Wishing the Board luck with the new direction, Eli


Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Software Developer

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