[OSGeo-Discuss] Hacking OSGeo

Daniel Morissette dmorissette at mapgears.com
Mon Sep 15 09:22:34 PDT 2014

Hi Maxi, All,

You raise an excellent question and the answer varies depending on what 
one is looking for. This whole discussion should help understand why 
both organizations are complementary and not really competing that much.

Jody and Rob already pointed out some similarities and differences 
related to software projects and incubation so I won't touch on that.

In my case, the motivation to get involved with LocationTech is for the 
business aspect: I am a citizen of both the software developer community 
(with MapServer, GDAL, etc.) and the business community (with Mapgears), 
and while OSGeo does a great job for the software community, it is 
lacking on the business side and I see hope in what LocationTech is 
trying to build.

Why two orgs you'll ask? Can't OSGeo do it all? Can't LocationTech do it 
all? I don't think a single organization can address all the needs of 
all people. So diversity is good and allows different orgs to have 
different and complementary priorities and strengths, and if those orgs 
work together on the parts that overlap that will be in the best 
interest of the overall community of people, businesses, institutions, 
etc who care about free/open source geo software.

So what's different in LocationTech? My opinion is that the main 
differences between the two orgs start with their different structure 
and history: the members in OSGeo are individuals and the members in 
Eclipse/LocationTech are businesses. This leads to setting the 
priorities differently and using different approaches to reach the same 
goal of supporting open source software. Essentially the result is that 
today OSGeo is more community oriented, and LocationTech is more 

Before someone says that I'm over-generalizing, I know that OSGeo has 
many businesses revolving around it (including Mapgears, and we're not 
going anyway), and LocationTech has project committers reps on its 
board, so both are not purely black or white. But the core of each org 
is very different, we need to recognize that and work on those strenghts.

BTW, on a side note, 8 years ago I would have said that OSGeo is 
software-project-driven, but I seem to have noticed a shift over the 
years towards education and community. Not that this is a problem or 
that projects are less important than they used to be, but just that the 
membership has grown with more community and academic people than 
software people, and that resulted in a small shift of priorities. Maybe 
it's also that software projects have a bit less needs now that their 
basic needs are served, and the next challenges are on the education and 
community side? I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all (quite the 
contrary), just pointing out that this shift is happening and as part of 
the evolution of our organizations (OSGeo, LocationTech and others) 
other shifts are to be expected over the coming years.

Back to OSGeo vs LocationTech: both approaches have their pros and cons, 
and no one is better than the other, they are complementary and 
LocationTech aims to fill a void for businesses that OSGeo could not 
address well due to its nature. Having both is a good thing, and if they 
can find a way to cooperate efficiently then we all win.

Having two orgs doesn't mean that people or projects need to choose a 
camp. I believe projects could incubate under both orgs to reach their 
different communities as others pointed out already, but that should not 
be a requirement, and it is also perfectly fine for individuals to play 
on both fronts as I, Jody and a few others do. For instance in my case 
as I wrote already, I am in OSGeo for the software developer network 
that it provides me, and in LocationTech for the business network that 
it is aiming to build.

For those who still don't see the complementarity between OSGeo and 
LocationTech after reading the multiple replies in this thread, think of 
the coo-petition between MapServer, GeoServer and Mapnik, or between 
OpenLayers and Leaflet. That kind of diversity is good and we treat it 
as friendly coo-petition (or most of us do anyway), and it leads to 
faster evolution, and many users use all of the above on different days 
/ different projects depending on the specific needs/features they are 
looking for. Open Source doesn't force you to choose a camp, you just 
use the best tool for the task you are working on at a given time. Why 
could it not be the same with OSGeo vs LocationTech as coo-peting orgs 
addressing different needs?


P.S. FWIW, I am not going away from OSGeo, I plan to continue to be 
involved in both OSGeo and LocationTech since they both serve different 
needs for me.

On 14-09-14 6:44 PM, Massimiliano Cannata wrote:
> As you said the final goal is the same: open source Geospatial software
> affirmation. And this is the best thing I can wish to all of us.
> Nevertheless what I just have not clear is: what location teach do
> differently with respect to osgeo? does it somehow overlap with
> incubation or not? What are the distinctive features?
> Personally I wonder why some of the most eminent person of osgeo (like
> you) decided to work into location teach? Don't misunderstood me, I'm
> not judging nor criticizing,  I'd just like to understand opportunities
> or aspect or services not found in osgeo and that experts and leaders
> found there.
> Sorry in advance for my eventual  ignorance, but I think this would help
> people better understand the discussion and the future of osgeo.
> Maxi
> Il 14-set-2014 17:05 "Daniel Morissette" <dmorissette at mapgears.com
> <mailto:dmorissette at mapgears.com>> ha scritto:
>     FWIW I'm happy to hear that there was such a face to face
>     discussion. I believe that open communication on the issues will be
>     the best way to address the fears and find ways to move forward in
>     the best interest of the overall worldwide community of people,
>     businesses, institutions, etc who have a common interest in seeing
>     free and open source geospatial software strive.
>     Keep in mind that we all come to this model of software development
>     for different reasons (business, academic, philosophical, hobby,
>     etc.), but in the end we're all working towards a similar objective,
>     so there is no fear to be had, just different means of reaching a
>     common objective, and since the result of everybody's actions is
>     better free/open source software, everybody will benefit in the end.
>     Not sure if I was able to relay my thoughts properly... maybe I need
>     a bit more sleep.
>     Cheers all
>     Daniel
>     On 14-09-14 10:25 AM, Jachym Cepicky wrote:
>         Guys,
>         as long as I understand it: "some members of the community" are
>         scared
>         of LocationTech "taking over" whatever (FOSS4G conference, OSGeo
>         projects and community). This can be based on real action, taken on
>         either site, unofficial statement, misunderstandings or personal
>         dislikes.
>         Yesterday, we had short (about 2hours) face 2 face discussion with
>         Andrew here in PDX (me, Vasile, Jeff and Gerald) and I personally
>         believe, that it is not in interest of LocationTech to "crush" OSGeo
>         or FOSS4G conference. It was clearly stated, that LocationTech would
>         like to contribute to FOSS4G and make it to better conference,
>         regarding (again) "some remarks" of "some members of the community"
>         (including myself), that the way, FOSS4G is organised, does not
>         necessary meet some of the community aspects, we would like to
>         stress.
>         I would like to note, that the discussion was very open on both
>         sides,
>         still calm and productive.
>         "To contribute" of course means "to work" and LocationTech is
>         anything
>         but volunteer driven organisation. It has been stated, that
>         FOSS4G-NA
>         next year will be organised primarily by LocationTech, but OSGeo
>         willl
>         be represented clearly and (so to say) loudly.
>         This could be one of the firsts steps towards closer cooperation
>         between LocationTech and OSGeo.
>         Everybody is aware, that on some points, LocationTech is not that
>         good, as OSGeo currently is. OSGeo is certainly failing in other
>         things. Looking for ways, how to strengthen common strengths and
>         weaken our weaknesses should have "non-zero-sum" effect.
>         We, as OSGeo shall later evaluate, whether the price for helping us
>         LocationTech with conferences (regardless if on regional or global
>         level), was too hight or quite ok. In case of disagreement, we shall
>         try to find solution for the next time.
>         In the worst case, we find out, that cooperation is not possible and
>         everybody can go it's way than.
>         I hope, you get my point(s) and that I did not misinterpreted
>         anything, what was said.
>         Thank you
>         Jachym
>     --
>     Daniel Morissette
>     T: +1 418-696-5056 #201
>     http://www.mapgears.com/
>     Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000
>     _________________________________________________
>     Discuss mailing list
>     Discuss at lists.osgeo.org <mailto:Discuss at lists.osgeo.org>
>     http://lists.osgeo.org/__mailman/listinfo/discuss
>     <http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

Daniel Morissette
T: +1 418-696-5056 #201
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

More information about the Discuss mailing list