[OSGeo-Discuss] Fun Event in Victoria with mix of OSGeo/LocationTech projects

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Thu Nov 12 05:40:05 PST 2015

On 2015-11-12 7:01 AM, Jody Garnett wrote:
> I have gotten a number of private emails expressing concerns about
> LocationTech being involved in several of the foss4g bids. I guess I had
> the opposite concern last year when there was the joint OSGeo /
> LocationTech foss4gna conference. I was kind of embarrassed our behavior
> as a community - would prefer to see us as welcoming and supportive
> (especially as we had a first time organizer that could use our support).
Hi Jody,

I am very glad that you brought this up publicly.  Lately I too have 
received very disturbing direct emails, containing threats of "if this 
happens you watch" "karma you watch yourself" "if we lose you watch out" 
and direct bullying tactics, for speaking my mind on this issue.  The 
same people sending these threats will not speak publicly on this, so I 
have asked them to stop sending me these messages, but the messages 
continue, so I have stopped answering them.  These are "power-play" 
emails sent directly to me, but I will tell them here publicly, bullying 
me will not stop me from speaking openly about OSGeo's one event all 
year, the global FOSS4G. (for those not following the 2017 conference 
discussions, you would have to read a long thread to get caught up 

As someone just wrote last night on another list, likely there would be 
no one else that has attended more FOSS4G events, regional, global, 
anything, than myself. I make a point of going to a FOSS4G event, to 
help grow the local community, no matter what size of the event or where 
it is.  Lately in my FOSS4G travels I have noticed a return to our 
FOSS4G roots, where the popular events are very low cost, aimed at 
developers, users, students, researchers, and the smaller companies 
trying to make a living (a great recent example is the FOSS4G-Como event 
this past July).  Getting back to the topic of your message: I too have 
been embarrassed by recent FOSS4G-NorthAmerica events; I was shocked to 
see the 1,000 USD registration fee there.

But I was not too upset, because no one is traveling the small FOSS4Gs 
like me to see the difference, and I didn't see complaints voiced from 
the local NorthAmerican community.  LocationTech involved in FOSS4G-NA 
is a good thing, to promote business and give those businesses a stage; 
the core goal of LocationTech.

However now we are in the process for deciding the global FOSS4G event 
for 2017, OSGeo's flagship event, attended by the international 
community, and we must be very careful.  Working with foundations is 
good (hence all of OSGeo's great MoUs), and I'll use the upcoming 
example that the 2016 team is considering, giving LocationTech a 90 
minute slot in the program for their projects (and the same for OSGeo, 
UN, likely OGC, and other organizations).  This is a wonderful way for 
OSGeo's FOSS4G event to involve other organizations.  I hope that 
LocationTech will also give OSGeo a 90 minute slot in their big 
conference someday as well; this would be exactly what I see as 
best-case scenario.

On the other hand, not signing an MoU, and then just contacting all of 
our 2017 bidders, is quite a different method to get to the table. 
Instead of a long-standing MoU agreement that would foster the 
relationship throughout the years, as we have with so many 
organizations, we are faced with a decision now that involves both 
foundations and 1,000,000 USD (the annual FOSS4G event generates a lot 
of revenue, making this very attractive to professional conference 
companies all over the world, I was phoned yesterday by one from Europe, 
for example).  The money is there, huge money, and huge exposure for 
these companies.  And their jobs are on the line, in their minds.  Hence 
this situation we are forced to deal with now, and these nasty private 
messages being sent to me.

Let's try to remain positive though, as we have 3 great bids for FOSS4G 
2017, and a solid team working hard already to make FOSS4G-2016 in Bonn 
another amazing event.  OSGeo has never been so active and vibrant as so 
many initiatives and location chapters grow all around the world.

Thanks for listening, and thank you Jody for bringing this topic to the 
public lists.


Jeff McKenna
President, OSGeo

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