[OSGeo-Discuss] Hacking OSGeo

Andrew Ross andrew.ross at eclipse.org
Tue Sep 16 08:22:02 PDT 2014

Jeff, Everyone

I'd like to try using a metaphor in case it might help.

Imagine FOSS4G as an open source library. Rather than create a new 
library that does pretty much the same thing, many feel that a single 
vibrant library in this case is the best thing for the ecosystem. 
Hopefully this is seen as pretty reasonable so far.

There are different models for open source. Some models are open to all 
& try hard to keep a level playing field. In this models people can 
comfortably contribute knowing that their efforts benefit everyone. In 
this model, it's open to everyone including parties that might be 
competitors elsewhere.

Other models are pretty unfair, such as when a company requires 
copyright assignment to the company, only allows employees to influence 
the roadmap, and uses a strong license like the GPL. Under such 
circumstances, that company has a strong advantage over anyone else. For 
one example, they are the only ones that can offer a non-GPL license 
version of the software.

For the past 10 years, different groups were welcome to contribute to 
our  FOSS4G library. After their contributions were sufficient, they got 
to participate in influencing the roadmap for the library. Some groups 
only had the capacity to contribute a little, some a lot.

I believe this is what we're talking about. LocationTech would like to 
contribute in a fair way and participate in the roadmap too, just as 
others have done. Everyone wins if this can happen. I'm very happy to 
talk about governance and how we can do things fairly, openly, 
transparently, and make sure everyone is comfortable.

If what you're telling me is that FOSS4G is not open source, but instead 
proprietary then I've made a mistake and it wasn't the FOSS4G I thought 
it was all these years.

Does this make sense?


On 16/09/14 08:38, Jeff McKenna wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> To clarify publicly, I have no problem with LocationTech, and in fact 
> I feel that its foundation plays an important role in our ecosystem.
> The issue actually boils down to OSGeo's only event, FOSS4G.  We, as 
> OSGeo, present this event each year and it is a large part of our 
> annual revenue.  It is very important to the OSGeo foundation, as it 
> is our flagship event.
> It was made clear to me that LocationTech is not interested in having 
> their own global event, and that they are in fact interested in our 
> event, FOSS4G.
> So maybe to remove this stress, or "fear", I would prefer to pull back 
> on the throttle, start with an MoU between the two foundations, and 
> then begin to share booths at events, or donate booths at each other's 
> events.  In other words, take baby steps, and build the relationship 
> slowly, as we do with every other foundation.
> I apologize for not bringing this issue to the community sooner. In 
> fact this all really came to a head in Portland, and you can see that 
> now we must deal with this all together.
> I always try to represent the entire OSGeo community well, if you feel 
> that I have made mistakes please share this here with everyone.  I am 
> here to represent you.
> The last few days have been very hard on me.
> -jeff
> OSGeo President
> On 2014-09-16 11:01 AM, Andrew Ross wrote:
>> Dear All,
>> Discussions started informally back in 2011. By 2012, there were more
>> formal discussions ongoing including a face to face meeting with Michael
>> Gerlek who was appointed by the OSGeo board to represent OSGeo. I wanted
>> to say publicly that Michael's work was extremely professional and I was
>> very impressed.
>> I believe it's fair to say reaction was similar back then. Many people
>> saw many positives in working closely together. Some asked if the two
>> organizations could be one. Like today, there were some who were very
>> fearful. Those that supported working closely together felt it was best
>> not to push too hard. Discussions have continued since then over the
>> past 3-4 years focusing on specific collaboration on a case by case 
>> basis.
>> During that time, LocationTech has sponsored and its projects
>> participated in 2 FOSS4Gs. It was asked by an OSGeo board member to
>> organize FOSS4G NA 2015. It has provided discrete feedback to OSGeo
>> projects regarding intellectual property related issues in OSGeo
>> projects so they could be fixed. OSGeo projects were well represented on
>> the 2013 LocationTech tour and again in 2014. I hope these things are
>> seen as a significant positive force.
>> I would like to draw attention to the fact that LocationTech's growth
>> has not taken anything away from OSGeo. In fairness, building upon what
>> Steven Feldman eloquently put, the problems OSGeo faces are problems
>> today were faced before LocationTech existed, and since.
>> It's fair to say there is tension to collaborate more closely since the
>> strengths of OSGeo & LocationTech complement each other despite some
>> overlap. LocationTech & the Eclipse Foundation are *offering* to help
>> solve some of the problems we've been talking about in OSGeo for many
>> years. It's been 4 years and the offer hasn't been withdrawn nor really
>> pushed despite fearful attempts to portray it as otherwise.
>> Andrew
>> On 15/09/14 20:28, Venkatesh Raghavan wrote:
>>> On 9/16/2014 10:48 AM, Richard Greenwood wrote:
>>>> I don't get it, and my question is moot at this point in time, but 
>>>> why do
>>>> we need a new foundation? Why couldn't OSGeo have provided what
>>>> LocationTech purports to provide? Was there any discussion, or 
>>>> awareness,
>>>> in the OSGeo board prior to the formation of LocationTech?
>>> Very pertinent questions form Rich. I hope we will receive some lucid
>>> answers.
>>> Best
>>> Venka
>>>> Rich
>>>> On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM, Jeff McKenna 
>>>> <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Arnulf,
>>>>> I definitely agree that both foundations fill a role and need to 
>>>>> exist.
>>>>> The point I am trying to make is that we have the power to change 
>>>>> OSGeo,
>>>>> if we feel some needs are not being met well.
>>>>> I used too strong of words again, I am sorry.
>>>>> -jeff
>>>>> On 2014-09-15 2:59 PM, Arnulf Christl wrote:
>>>>>> Hash: SHA1
>>>>>> Jeff,
>>>>>> I believe that Daniel is actually right in what he says - given 
>>>>>> that I
>>>>>> understand the point he is trying to make. There are differences
>>>>>> between OSGeo and LocationTech and trying to talk them away will not
>>>>>> get us anywhere. And its not "bad" or "goo" either way, we just
>>>>>> operate differently.
>>>>>> The point is that in OSGeo you cannot move anything at all as a
>>>>>> business, not directly. In LocationTech you become a corporate 
>>>>>> member,
>>>>>> pay money and in return have influence over certain things and get
>>>>>> support. Directly geared towards your specific needs. OSGeo does 
>>>>>> none
>>>>>> of those things.
>>>>>> As an individual (with or without business) you can become the
>>>>>> committee chair and an OSGeo officer with absolutely no 
>>>>>> preconditions,
>>>>>> no money needed, no organizational backing and no other hierarchy.
>>>>>> Just because othes think you are doing a cool job and have 
>>>>>> accumulated
>>>>>> enough merit to go ahead as a leader. This would not work in this 
>>>>>> way
>>>>>> in LocationTech.
>>>>>> Both ways have reasons to exist and are good. Right?
>>>>>> Cheers.
>>>>>> Arnulf
>>>>>> Am 2014-09-15 10:45, schrieb Jeff McKenna:
>>>>>>> On 2014-09-15 1:22 PM, Daniel Morissette wrote:
>>>>>>>> the members in OSGeo are individuals and the members in
>>>>>>>> Eclipse/LocationTech are businesses
>>>>>>> Daniel this statement is not true, regarding OSGeo. OSGeo members
>>>>>>> are made up of all walks of life, and many are running private
>>>>>>> businesses all around the world.  I have visited their
>>>>>>> organizations/offices myself in my FOSS4G travels throughout the
>>>>>>> years.
>>>>>>> However I cannot change how you feel.
>>>>>>> This part is unfortunate, these strong statements made publicly,
>>>>>>> which I feel are made to divide our community.
>>>>>>> Let me reinforce: our OSGeo community and our FOSS4G events (of
>>>>>>> all sizes) are geared for everyone and anyone, with no sole focus
>>>>>>> on one type of community.  And as the President of OSGeo, I am
>>>>>>> happy to represent all of the members, of any kind :)
>>>>>>> -jeff
>>>>>>>   _______________________________________________

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