[OSGeo-Discuss] Reflections on resignations, mergers & the soul of OSGeo

Steven Feldman shfeldman at gmail.com
Tue Sep 16 01:46:00 PDT 2014

The last few weeks there have been several threads running on the mailing lists, rather than trying to reply in line to each of them I want to draw out a theme that seems apparent to me as a relative newcomer to the OSGeo community.

We are facing the challenges of success or what could be described as growing pains. 

We have recently had debates over the role of the president, the election of charter members and board members, references to factions forming and off list conversations, a discussion about the need for change in the way we organise FOSS4G’s (and believe me as a recent past chair of a LOC, we need to make this easier) and their purpose (fund raising vs community building) has somehow morphed into a row over our relationship with LocationTech and in the last couple of days a committed member of the board has resigned. These are all indicative of a conversation that we need to have about the role and future of OSGeo.

Why do we need an OSGeo (or a LocationTech)? There are loads of reasons (but not for a short mail) and we as the OSGeo community need to set out the options for our organisation, articulate a clear vision for the next few years and find a way to broaden discussion to a wider group than the small number of individuals who have been active on the lists in the last couple of months, there were over 800 people at each of the last 2 FOSS4G’s (massive respect to the 2014 team) how do we engage with them to understand their needs and aspirations. 

If we can agree on a clear vision for OSGeo including whether we want to continue being a solely volunteer run organisation or whether there is a need for some other model to deliver on our aspirations then we can work out how we can cooperate with LocationTech or if there is benefit from some closer relationship. 

Open Source engenders passion, we care about this stuff massively, and sometimes that may lead those of us with strong opinions to become critical of each other. It’s time to take a deep breath.

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