[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo/LocationTech relationship

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Sun Nov 15 13:03:16 PST 2015

Hi Cameron,

Thank you for this message.  I too think it will help, and am going to 
print it out now to see it and think on it more.  I think there are lots 
of parts that can be edited and changed, and analyzing if a vision fits 
the organization, fits a situation, and maybe can explain why some 
things are happening now.  It's a good process to have gone through 
today, and like you said, this can help the OSGeo community and the 
board build.

(now will try to relax, ha)

Talk soon,


On 2015-11-15 4:19 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Hi Jeff,
> Thanks for articulating your vision. I anticipate it will be very useful
> in moving forward, and will help provide a basis from which the OSGeo
> community and board can contribute to and build into a collective
> vision, and then extend into a practical implementation of it.
> Warm regards, Cameron
> On 16/11/2015 6:13 am, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>> Hi Cameron,
>> Thank you for your message.  It is very refreshing to speak on this
>> topic openly here, as others would rather send me strong private
>> messages questioning my sanity, and making threats.  I realize that
>> many cannot be open on this topic for various reasons.
>> Let me assure everyone here that I only have one agenda, which is very
>> rare these days, and that is to help the OSGeo foundation.  I am not
>> muzzled by fear or threats, and I will stand up for the OSGeo
>> foundation whenever that is required.  If by standing up for OSGeo's
>> only event all year, FOSS4G, means that I am called "confrontational"
>> and "obstructive", then yes you are fully right.
>> Some may not know this by reading this thread, but I have always been
>> a big supporter of LocationTech.  I was involved in the beginning of
>> LocationTech, involved in the sense of being one of the first
>> subscribers to their mailing list, and I even have had many chats
>> inside their #locationtech IRC channel, even answering questions from
>> new LocationTech community members (technical readers will find it
>> interesting to join their IRC channel now on freenode and see the
>> first message that is displayed when entering their channel
>> "LocationTech: location aware open source software friendly to
>> commercialization.").  I have followed the development of that
>> organization right from the beginning, where they smartly filled a
>> void by aiming at the business/commercial side of Open Source
>> geospatial (of course, recently they publicly pointed out to me, even
>> questioned my sanity, that this was false, I am dreaming, that they
>> have always focused instead on the same goals as OSGeo, but readers,
>> do a google search for LT and press release, and you will see their
>> early visions).  Which is why I asked now to hear the vision of
>> LocationTech (I was not answered, but someone else pointed to an FAQ
>> just made).  In any case, no I am not insane, I have always followed
>> LocationTech closely.
>> I do travel to many OSGeo local chapters around the world, constantly,
>> and especially to developing areas that are just becoming interested
>> in Open Source.  In a few days I will again take 3 more planes and
>> represent OSGeo at a growing community, again putting life on hold,
>> including my health, my money, and my life in general, to go help grow
>> the OSGeo community.  In this event I can bet that I will speak
>> personally to over 100 developers, students, decision makers, and
>> researchers; I bet I will personally talk to over 20 businesses
>> looking at OSGeo. Those who know me well know that this is why I make
>> those trips (I don't go for presentations etc.), it is that face to
>> face representation that is so very important, especially in the long
>> run.
>> As the leader of the OSGeo foundation, part of my role is to listen to
>> all of the criticism about me; and I realize that the negative words
>> you've used about me here for everyone to read, are not the first
>> negative ones used at me in years past, nor will they be the last. In
>> the big theater room that is the community, there will always be those
>> that disagree with me, and I value their opinion as well.
>> Few in this community see me being so involved behind the scenes. New
>> committees, new MoUs, FOSS4G local committees, all just pop up on the
>> scene and grow, but few see me behind the scenes helping them form
>> initially, and I am ok with that.  The core community members in the
>> OSGeo foundation know that I support them in every way that I can.  I
>> often am actively working 2 or even 3 years in advance of a FOSS4G for
>> that region, talking with those regions members, getting them to think
>> of the possibilities, years before the release of the call for
>> hosting.  To you and others it looks like I have no innovation, no new
>> ideas, I don't work with community leaders, because you don't see me
>> working behind the scenes for OSGeo.  I am ok with that.  You can keep
>> going on in thinking this way of me, but I am very proud of what I do
>> for OSGeo, what I constantly try to do for OSGeo.  Long-time members
>> of OSGeo know how I have failed in several proposals to past OSGeo
>> boards, and to this day those so-called "failures" are my most proud
>> moments.  But yes, you can always argue that I am not innovative and
>> do not help OSGeo.
>> I am also not wired to think of "money" first.  I follow my heart and
>> I try to do the best I can for OSGeo, for the OSGeo foundation,
>> always, even if it doesn't make sense for me personally or for my
>> career.  I do it, for the love of OSGeo.  I also realize that it is
>> this fact, of how I am wired, that causes conflict with others
>> (another example is my father, who constantly says I should go get a
>> real job and earn the money I deserve, he sees me struggle financially
>> and it drives him crazy).  Instead of money, my goal in life is to be
>> happy and do well for society.  I feel OSGeo and its local chapters
>> fits in perfectly with my own personal goals, and I give to OSGeo
>> everything I can, every ounce of my being.  It is, what I do and what
>> I enjoy.
>> Ok back on track again:
>> I truly feel that Andrea is doing a great job for LocationTech, always
>> has.  We have known each other for a long time, since back when I was
>> the MapServer users group chair in Ottawa and she first attended.  I
>> have always treated Andrea and LocationTech with respect.
>> (before you say how false that is, I will now go into my vision for
>> OSGeo)
>> Vision For OSGeo
>> ================
>> (I should first state that I have called a face to face meeting with
>> the OSGeo Board members to work together on topics such as vision and
>> the goals of OSGeo, and how to achieve those goals, and that meeting
>> will be in January, attended by all members of this new OSGeo board)
>> "My vision is for OSGeo to be the Open Source geospatial community all
>> across the globe, everywhere and anywhere, and have fun doing it.  The
>> OSGeo community is special, we are unique, we do great things for the
>> world, we are open, and we have fun.  We accept anyone into our
>> community and will give them the spotlight, to help their local
>> community and the world share its spatial information.  We are OSGeo."
>> Many have seen me speak about "community" all around the world since
>> about 2008, and it is OSGeo's community that is so valued. This vision
>> puts our community in that spotlight, and is something that I already
>> know that we all follow in our hearts.  It is the OSGeo spirit that
>> drives us all, that some may not understand, but we can teach them and
>> help them share their geospatial information openly, and, show them
>> how fun it is.
>> How to get there
>> ================
>> Focus on Developing Regions
>> ---------------------------
>> Over the next 5 or 10 years, various developing regions ("developing"
>> in the sense of in-progress of becoming world leaders in open) across
>> the globe, not known globally for their OSGeo chapters yet, will be
>> given the OSGeo spotlight.  These are important regions of the world,
>> extremely active locally but not as well known globally for their
>> efforts in Open Source geospatial.  Some possible examples are South
>> America, South Asia, Russia, China, Middle East, North Africa, and
>> India.  OSGeo will help give them the world stage for Open Source
>> geospatial.
>> Local Chapters
>> --------------
>> All of the fun happens locally, it is through local chapters that
>> OSGeo can grow Open Source geospatial software, learn, share, and have
>> fun. We currently have about 30 official chapters, and about 30 in
>> formation, but we have so much more work to do to help chapters grow
>> in other communities.  Let's help them! :)
>> Projects
>> --------
>> OSGeo projects and those in incubation are very stable and have
>> vibrant communities.  OSGeo must help these projects grow, and also
>> help incoming projects find a home in our community.  We must be
>> accepting to changing trends and styles in the global industry.
>> Charter Members
>> ---------------
>> OSGeo charter members will drive the formation of the Open Source
>> geospatial community.
>> Diversity
>> ---------
>> OSGeo must from now on have 50% women on its Board of Directors. This
>> year's board has the first women ever on its board, but for 2016/2017
>> and beyond, women will again be strongly represented at the board
>> level of the OSGeo foundation.  This will help provide strong
>> leadership from OSGeo throughout the world.
>> Education and Training
>> ----------------------
>> OSGeo will continue to spread Open Source geospatial to students and
>> educators around the world, through the GeoForAll initiative. Focus
>> will also change from post-secondary institutions to
>> secondary/high-school, getting the young minds excited and interested
>> in sharing and being open.
>> Professional Service Providers
>> ------------------------------
>> OSGeo will begin to focus on its service providers, and give them the
>> spotlight they deserve, for choosing to operate their business around
>> OSGeo projects.  Focus will not only be placed on the larger
>> businesses, but for the first time ever, small businesses will be
>> given the spotlight from OSGeo.
>> (in my travels, I estimate that 90% of OSGeo's service providers have
>> <10 employees, yet we are not giving these businesses any spotlight)
>> ------
>> OSGeo's hugely successful yearly event, the global FOSS4G, will
>> continue to travel around the world each year.  The goal of OSGeo's
>> global FOSS4G event over the next 5 to 10 years will be to expand to
>> new areas, plant the OSGeo seed locally, learn, share, and have fun.
>> The goal will be to share this passion as much as possible, by having
>> low-cost FOSS4G events.  Regional FOSS4G events will satisfy local
>> needs, in however the local chapters desire.
>> Code Sprints
>> ------------
>> OSGeo will actively promote its ability to support all code sprints of
>> any size, no matter if there is only one project being enhanced.
>> Working with other organizations
>> --------------------------------
>> Working closely with other organizations will continue to be important
>> for OSGeo.  MoUs with organizations encourage communication, and
>> usually have the 2 leaders of the parties sit down face to face once a
>> year and talk (which is really priceless in the long-term for the
>> commmunity) and review the agreement. Admittedly these agreements are
>> not liked by the business-types, for not offering any firm details up
>> front (like financial benefits), but in the long term these agreements
>> help change opinions, give momentum to both parties, and end up
>> creating jobs in the industry.
>> Standards
>> ---------
>> Standards in geospatial software and data will continue to be one of
>> the core parts of every OSGeo project.
>> Financial Focus
>> ---------------
>> OSGeo has never been about generating revenue.  OSGeo is and will be
>> about being the Open Source geospatial community, sharing, learning,
>> and having fun.  OSGeo will continue to be lean, earning enough
>> funding to help its annual FOSS4G and other events, maintain OSGeo's
>> infrastructure, and other critical needs.  The OSGeo foundation will
>> continue to be volunteer driven.
>> Discussion
>> ==========
>> In terms of what I would do to foster working with LocationTech, I
>> would work with Andrea directly to develop an MoU agreement draft, and
>> then take that draft to each of our Boards.  To formalize this
>> agreement, I would call for a "Summit" to be held around March of this
>> year between the LocationTech Steering Committee members, and the
>> OSGeo Board of Directors.  This would be a one day meeting, in person,
>> and not related to any other existing event (not added to an existing
>> program/event). This would allow the OSGeo Board to meet in January,
>> establish their goals, and then to sit down prepared with LocationTech
>> Steering Committee in March.
>> I do feel that the LocationTech/OSGeo relationship needs to be
>> examined slowly, and this is why I made a stand here this/last week. I
>> apologize to Andrea if I have offended her, or disrespected her in any
>> way.
>> About the above vision, I am aware that this was likely asked of me
>> now, so that some can point out faults in my thinking, how I am wrong
>> etc. That is ok, I accept that, and I also accept that I most likely
>> made mistakes in writing this vision today, and I am sure the other
>> OSGeo board members will help clarify this in January.  I feel the
>> process of creating a vision, and following through with that, should
>> involve each and every OSGeo member, so I feel that I have nothing to
>> hide and everything to gain.
>> I would like to thank everyone, for again, being you, sharing the
>> OSGeo passion, doing what you can, whether it is by teaching, writing,
>> developing code, managing a business, learning something new, or just
>> following along, your help and smile is what gets me through these
>> challenging times.
>> I would also like to deeply thank those who reached out to me this
>> week, during this hard time on me, I will tell you that twice I was
>> brought to tears sitting at my computer here reading the small thanks
>> for representing them, sent from some far away country by a local
>> leader.  I do this for you all.
>> Yours,
>> -jeff

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