[OSGeo-Discuss] What's wrong? (was Re: Proposed process for selecting OSGeo charter members)

Howard Butler howard at hobu.co
Mon Jun 23 08:51:00 PDT 2014

On Jun 23, 2014, at 10:16 AM, Michael P. Gerlek <mpg at flaxen.com> wrote:

> I’ve not been following this issue closely, so I just went back through the old mails and I’m still left with this rather basic question:
> What is the problem that we are trying to solve?

OSGeo's membership process is completely adhoc, and it prevents people who wish to be members from doing so. Seemingly, the only two benefits of membership are 1) able to vote for board and 2) able to trumpet to world you're a member. A paid membership doesn't doesn't really change that, but it does help OSGeo in a number of important ways:

* Our organization would look pretty much exactly like all the other similar professional organizations to the IRS
* It smoothes out our revenue and provides a floor for things like infrastructure, accounting, insurance, etc which are things a proper org needs but OSGeo often lacks.
* Anyone who wants to be a member can pay the fee, get the tshirt, and be a member. 

> What started this movement?

I don't know that there's so much a movement, but rather a realization by some that the membership process is a bit broken.  To simply let any/all who want to be an OSGeo member has the board-packing concerns brought up during the inaugural organization meeting. 

> What in our organization is “broken” that needs to be fixed?

* The CRO's administration of the board vote and membership rolls is a hard, thankless job that ends up suffering the brunt of OSGeo's broken membership process. 

* People who wish to be members of OSGeo can't simply sign up.

* OSGeo's purported revenue model of soliciting large donations from private organizations does not match its real revenue model of harvesting income from the FOSS4G conference. 


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