[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo/LocationTech relationship

Massimiliano Cannata massimiliano.cannata at supsi.ch
Thu Nov 12 13:54:59 PST 2015

Thanks Jeff or this mail. It explains a lot to me and confirms my vision of
the situation.
As a board member i suggest not to have any official relationship with
LocationTech untill the f2f board meeting. There we could discuss a lot of
topics and come out with official positions and view.

Il 12/Nov/2015 21:58, "Jeff McKenna" <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com> ha

> Hi Cameron,
> I am also glad to speak of this publicly, this is a very important topic.
> I have been thinking more and more about Rob's response (thank you so much
> Rob for taking the time to speak with me on that).  I will speak honestly
> here again, and I don't mean to offend:
> I am now left with a realization that, what I always thought of
> LocationTech as created to help commercially-friendly geospatial software,
> is wrong.  I always just assumed that they filled a nice hole in the
> equation, by focusing on business needs.  As was pointed out to me today,
> their goals now are in fact the exact same as OSGeo's.  In fact, I have to
> really dig now for the LocationTech's former tagline of
> "commercially-friendly.." on their website, but I found the initial press
> releases for LocationTech and there it is in the second sentence, and then
> entire paragraphs on that goal.  Did something change there that I missed?
> So now, yes, I am confused.
> And no wonder that, from those initial 2012/2013 press releases from
> LocationTech, fast forward to 2015 and they are contacting each of our 3
> bidding teams for FOSS4G 2017, I'm left with a sense of surprise and
> shock.  The overlap exists, we are the same foundation, and, to make
> matters more pressing, LocationTech has politely declined any interest in
> creating their own global event for their community, and set their sights
> on OSGeo's only real source of revenue and global publicity, our yearly
> FOSS4G event.  Now the pressure is on, as this 2017 discussion involves
> huge money, finances, brands, people's jobs, two communities, and our
> beloved FOSS4G event that we have painfully built to be a global brand.
> And yes passions are flowing, strong words of "fear", "bullying", "muck"
> are being dropped, and I have no doubt someone soon will say "inclusive" or
> "exclusive", and then "code of conduct", oh let's not forget "trademark"
> and even "lawyer" (to be honest, in the past week I've heard each of these
> words about this topic).  It's all an absolute mess, if you ask my opinion.
> My vision is to work with foundations and organizations all around the
> world, locally or globally.  OSGeo has done a great job on this, through
> our (admittedly slow process for some people) of MoUs, and building those
> relationships through designated committees or special sessions at FOSS4G
> events.
> This sudden thrust of LocationTech, by contacting each of our 3 bidders
> for 2017, is very calculated on their side, but on OSGeo's side, this is a
> hard pill to swallow so fast.
> I actually don't think it is OSGeo that should be the ones talking now.
> We haven't changed, we have always put on FOSS4G each year, moving around
> the globe.  We put community first and foremost, our community is very
> strong.  I think our community is what attracts LocationTech to OSGeo, why
> they strategically contacted each 2017 bidders, but I'd love to hear it
> from their mouths.
> So I don't believe it is OSGeo that should be the ones explaining
> ourselves now.  I think this is the time for LocationTech to explain their
> vision, how it has changed over the years, and how it sees itself in the
> ecosystem, because OSGeo has been around now a long time and their is no
> confusion about OSGeo.
> In regards to the current situation, I wish we could start with an MoU,
> work slowly on building a relationship, do not strategically contact
> bidders or groups on either side, but work together on building this
> ecosystem - maybe offering each other a "topic talk" extended session at
> each of our events, maybe discussing becoming a sustaining sponsor of each
> other's foundation, maybe having a shared "working group" on this involving
> both LocationTech and OSGeo board members.
> I've done a lot of writing the last couple of days.  I hope this at least
> helps explain what is on my mind.
> Oh, as some privately enjoy writing to me and saying I am wrong, well yes,
> I am often wrong, but at least I am speaking publicly, and trying so hard
> always to make sure that OSGeo and FOSS4G are properly represented.
> -jeff
> On 2015-11-12 4:04 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> Hi Jeff, Venka, Jody, Rob,
>> Thanks for initiating this discussion and starting to put ideas out for
>> public discussion.
>> Jeff, Venka, I get the impression from your emails that you are
>> concerned that LocationTech might "steal" community mind-share, and in
>> particular take control of key OSGeo tasks such as FOSS4G and in the
>> process change focus of FOSS4G into a more commercial event, which
>> increases prices, and looses core community driven focus. Am I right? Or
>> could you please clarify.
>> For the record, at the time I was disappointed at the time that Location
>> Tech was created, and the functionality of Location Tech didn't get
>> created under the umbrella of OSGeo. However both organisations exist
>> now, and I can see that in moving forward that both organisations can
>> exist successfully together and complement each other. (+1 to Rob's
>> comments).
>> A few years back, when both Jeff and I were on the board, we co-authored
>> "Board Priorities" [1]. (Ok, I did a lot of writing, but the board did
>> contribute and sign off on it).  Prior boards have similarly outlined
>> OSGeo's priorities which have been embedded in our official documents.
>> The "Board Priorities" include focus on OSGeo acting as a "low capital,
>> volunteer focused organisation", and acknowledge that a the role of the
>> "high capital" business model is better accomplished by LocationTech.
>> Jeff, Venka, Jody and others on the board, what is your vision for
>> OSGeo's future direction, and in particular, what is your vision for a
>> future relationship with Location Tech? Should OSGeo revise our focus
>> and goals? It might help to start by being specific. What should OSGeo
>> take responsibility for? What should Location Tech take responsibility
>> for? Are the organisations appropriately structured and resourced to
>> take on that responsibility? If not, what should change to make that
>> happen?
>> With regards to private (and threatening emails), I suggest replying
>> with something like:
>> "Thanks for your comments, you have some valid concerns. I'd like to
>> respond to your suggestions publicly so others can join in and we can
>> deal with your suggestions appropriately. Is it ok if I do so?"
>> If you don't get the ok, don't deal with the suggestion. But I suggest
>> refrain from implication of bullying as it implies that LocationTech is
>> playing dirty tactics, which reflects badly on LocationTech and OSGeo as
>> it suggests that the two organisations are unable to resolve issues
>> professionally. (I'm hoping that mentioned "bullying" is just a case of
>> some people getting a bit more passionate that maybe they should).
>> Warm regards, Cameron
>> [1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Board_of_Directors#Board_Priorities
>> On 13/11/2015 3:53 am, Rob Emanuele wrote:
>>> Hi Jeff,
>>> You are right, commercial-friendliness certainly does play a part in
>>> LocationTech. The way I've seen that enacted is by the use of the
>>> Eclipse Foundation's legal department to ensure that the projects
>>> which are supported by LocationTech are declared by a legal team to be
>>> free of proprietary or wrongly-licensed code. In this way, commercial
>>> entities can use the projects with some assurance that they will not
>>> be sued down the line for code that was not actually open in the way
>>> they thought it was.
>>> Also, there is a steering committee that makes decisions about how the
>>> budget will be used. The budget mainly consists of member company's
>>> dues. The members of the steering committee are decided by membership
>>> level (large membership gets representation on the steering committee)
>>> as well as a lower-membership level elected committee. There is also
>>> representation by the developers, who vote independently of any
>>> company and are there to represent the committers on the project. For
>>> more information, you can read through some links here:
>>> https://www.locationtech.org/charter
>>> https://www.locationtech.org/election2015
>>> In practice, as a maintainer of an open source project and developer,
>>> what LocationTech has meant to me is support for my project in ways
>>> that are not centered around business. To me it's been a place where
>>> I've gotten to collaborate with similar open source projects and have
>>> my project be promoted through events and other channels; for instance
>>> I participate in Google Summer of Code and Facebook Open Academy as a
>>> mentor through the Eclipse Foundation. Perhaps these are needs that
>>> can also be served by OSGeo, but they have in practice been met by
>>> LocationTech. From my perspective as a project lead and open source
>>> developer, that there are multiple channels that can potentially
>>> support me and my project is a great thing and signs of a healthy domain.
>>> I did not start LocationTech. So for me it's not a question of, why
>>> should LocationTech be created when there is already OSGeo;
>>> LocationTech already exists, and I don't think it's up to me to
>>> question it's existence. Nor do I think it's a useful exercise to
>>> question the existence of something that clearly has support and is
>>> supporting others. I can only decide which organizations I believe in
>>> and support, and what I can get out of those organizations as far as
>>> them supporting me. So on a personal level, my thoughts are that both
>>> OSGeo and LocationTech are good organizations. I'd like to find ways
>>> to support both organizations, and find ways both organizations can
>>> support me and my project.
>>> On a more general level, I'm against centralization. Having diversity
>>> in governance structures, funding models and support channels is a
>>> good thing, and I don't want there to be only one "true" organization
>>> that I can look to for support. However, like I mentioned, the ideal
>>> would be that those organizations could figure out how to use their
>>> difference skill sets to work together on making the community as a
>>> whole move forward. And that is what I am hoping OSGeo and
>>> LocationTech can do (as well as any other related organizations).
>>> Jody did a talk at FOSS4G NA 2015 on some of the differences between
>>> LocationTech and OSGeo, I recommend it:
>>> https://youtu.be/sdpEa6XdQEo
>>> Best,
>>> Rob
>>> On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:54 AM, Jeff McKenna
>>> <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com <mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>>
>>> wrote:
>>>     Hi Rob,
>>>     Thank you for your very thoughtful response.  You summarize the
>>>     situation very well.  I think talking openly like this on this
>>>     topic, is the only way to make this all work.
>>>     It sounds like I am wrong about LocationTech's goals; at the same
>>>     time then, if that is the case, that LocationTech is not about
>>>     commerce (doesn't "commercially friendly" encourage business
>>>     interest?), then what was the need to create a separate new
>>>     foundation, also focused on growing Open Source geospatial software?
>>>     I hope we can speak openly here Rob, I do not mean any disrespect
>>>     to you personally or to LocationTech (some take it personal).
>>>     Please share here the reasons you see to have 2 foundations
>>>     focused on the same goal.
>>>     Thanks,
>>>     -jeff
>>>     On 2015-11-12 11:37 AM, Rob Emanuele wrote:
>>>         Hi Jeff,
>>>         I'm sorry to hear you are being bullied in private messages. It
>>> is
>>>         perhaps best to bring in the Code of Conduct committee to help
>>>         handle
>>>         this; direct threats and private bulling tactics seem in
>>>         violation with
>>>         the CoC, and there should be steps taken to ensure that our
>>>         community
>>>         doesn't have bulling in our midst that goes unaddressed.
>>>         I'm disappointed that you take LocationTech's core goal as "to
>>>         promote
>>>         business and give those businesses a stage". Your point of
>>>         view and
>>>         behavior on the lists makes more sense knowing that, though;
>>>         if you
>>>         believe that LocationTech is really about promoting the
>>>         businesses, and
>>>         not the greater community, then having LocationTech involved
>>>         in the
>>>         FOSS4G conferences would diminish the non-business community
>>>         members'
>>>         role in the conference, which would be a Bad thing. However,
>>>         as a member
>>>         of the LocationTech PMC and someone who was/is involved in the
>>>         FOSS4G NA
>>>         2015 and FOSS4G NA 2016 process, as well as someone involved
>>>         in the
>>>         FOSS4G 2017 Philadelphia bid, I want to assure you that is not
>>>         the case.
>>>         There is real focus and real work being done at LocationTech
>>>         to help the
>>>         community of developers and users of FOSS4G. In this instance
>>>         I'm using
>>>         FOSS4G for what the acronym actually means, Free and Open Source
>>>         Software for Geospatial, not referring to the conference that has
>>>         captured that name. Both LocationTech and OSGeo exist to
>>>         support FOSS4G,
>>>         and the greater community (greater then both of those
>>>         organizations)
>>>         that use and develop FOSS4G. There are differences in the
>>>         organizations
>>>         for sure, and I think highlighting those differences and really
>>>         understanding how they serve the community in different ways is
>>>         important. The ideal scenario that I see is that both
>>>         organizations
>>>         would use those differences to collaborate and have a
>>>         sum-greater-than-it's-parts type of support system for FOSS4G.
>>>         Instead,
>>>         we have a situation where there's distrust, finger pointing, and
>>>         political "power plays" against each other. We have the
>>>         president of one
>>>         of the organizations characterizing the core goal of the other
>>>         organization in a dangerously wrong way. We have decisions and
>>>         discussions about a million dollar revenue generating
>>>         conference focused
>>>         on that million dollars, rather then how to ensure that
>>>         conference does
>>>         the best job possible at supporting and pushing forward the
>>>         community.
>>>         We have the precious resource that is the energy of volunteers
>>>         being
>>>         spent on political infighting rather than on collaboration
>>> towards
>>>         serving the community. I'm not sure the best path forward for
>>>         this, but
>>>         I want to declare that the situation as I see it is bad for the
>>>         community, collaboration between OSGeo and LocationTech would
>>>         be good
>>>         for the community, and I hope as a whole we can move towards
>>>         that better
>>>         future.
>>>         I hear your concerns for the price of the FOSS4G NA tickets,
>>>         though I'll
>>>         point out to people who are following along that it's not as
>>>         simple as a
>>>         flat $1000 dollar rate. I encourage you to look at the
>>>         registration
>>>         pricing breakdown when it's published for FOSS4G NA 2016, be
>>>         sure to
>>>         apply for a non-corporate pass if you will not be reimbursed by a
>>>         company, and to apply for a scholarship if the cost is still
>>>         too high.
>>>         Also, if you are giving a talk, registration is free, so
>>>         please submit!
>>>         The Call For Proposals is now open
>>>         (<https://2016.foss4g-na.org/cfp>https://2016.foss4g-na.org/cfp
>>> ).
>>>         Jeff, your presence was missed at FOSS4G NA 2015 and I hope
>>>         that you can
>>>         come to Raleigh for FOSS4G NA 2016.
>>>         Best,
>>>         Rob
>>>         On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 8:40 AM, Jeff McKenna
>>>         <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
>>>         <mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>
>>>         <mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
>>>         <mailto:jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com>>>
>>>         wrote:
>>>             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
>>> http://osgeo-org.1560.x6.nabble.com/Call-to-discuss-FOSS4G-2017-proposals-prior-to-voting-td5234235.html
>>> ).
>>>             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
>>>             --
>>>             Jeff McKenna
>>>             President, OSGeo
>>>         http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Jeff_McKenna
>>> _______________________________________________
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