[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo/LocationTech relationship

Rob Emanuele rdemanuele at gmail.com
Sun Nov 15 15:09:20 PST 2015

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for your thoughts and words, I appreciate the effort you put into
explaining yourself.

I wanted to clarify one point, based on this text:

> 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).

I believe this is in response to what I had brought up on another thread,
and I wanted to make sure I was clear. I did not mean to say that
LocationTech does not aim to fill the void of bringing together the
business/commercial side of the open source community with the
users/developers. I took issue with your claim that *the* core goal of
LocationTech was "to promote business and give those businesses a stage."

As a project lead who's project is incubating at LocationTech and who's
participated in a number of facets of the organization, I have not once
felt the pressure of a business trying to promote themselves through my
work, or that a business was trying to use my work to take some stage. I've
only felt supported as an open source developer in an open source
community. Surely this is a goal of OSGeo as well, to have members of the
open source community feel supported; I would hope that would be in the set
of goals for any organization in our field. That does not mean LocationTech
has the exact same goals as OSGeo; they share goals but have their
differences. The example you rightly point out is that there are specific
aims towards supporting commercial friendly open source, for instance by
connecting the open source development work that is desired on the
commercial side to the support, financial or otherwise, of the businesses
that desire that work. The point in my original response was that to say
"the core" goal of LocationTech was to promote business and give business a
stage, was to imply that LocationTech was at it's core only concerned about
the commercial side's interests and not those of the developers or users. I
don't know that I'm fit to speak for LocationTech as a whole, but again my
experience as a project lead and developer who participates in LocationTech
is that the core of LocationTech is *not* about pushing business and
commercial concerns into my work or my dealings with the community. And for
me, as someone who really believes in the tenets and philosophies of open
source/libre, and who has taken personal effort to remain vigilant about
money and power as a potential poison to workings of a community trying to
operate by those tenets, when someone talks about a whole organization
being at it's core pushing the interests of powerful businesses, I get
nervous. I get scared that the organization might taint the open source
world with it's focus on bottom lines and proprietary ownership. And I
think we should all remain vigilant about the influences of money and
power, and that it's good to call it out if there's suspicion. But it's
also good to call out if an organization is being cast into a poisonous
role unfairly, which is what I've felt like has gone on a lot while reading
discussions (not just by you) on this mailing list.

This is again clarifying a response I had to something you had said
earlier, and I'm not trying to harp on something you had said and would
rather focus on what you are saying now. I appreciate your recent comments
on LocationTech and Andrea's work specifically. I just felt the need to
clarify my point a bit. Again, thanks for the work you put into explaining
yourself, and also the work you do for the community, much of which I'm
sure is very opaque to me but is assumed and appreciated nonetheless.


On Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 2:13 PM, Jeff McKenna <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
> 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
> --
> Jeff McKenna
> President, OSGeo
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Jeff_McKenna
> On 2015-11-13 4:27 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> Hi Jeff,
>> As president of OSGeo I've seen in you some admirable qualities. You
>> regularly travel around the world, talking passionately and eloquently
>> about OSGeo and Open Source. You monitor and contribute to many email
>> lists. For people "in the back row of OSGeo" you do a great job of
>> encouraging people to step forward and get involved.
>> But, in supporting other OSGeo leaders, who might have a vision that was
>> not directly derived or aligned with your own, I've found your opinions
>> to often be very obstructive, confrontational, and lacking of any
>> innovative vision to resolve differences. This is inappropriate from a
>> community leader. It is the sort of behaviour likely to turn people away
>> from a community, and have them look for another community to work with.
>> With regards to the relationship between OSGeo and LocationTech:
>> * Could you please acknowledge that Andrea is also working toward the
>> best interests of the Open Source Geospatial community, even if she is
>> using a different path and vehicle to achieve this.
>> * Could you please treat those who have a different opinion to you,
>> Andrea in this case, with respect and dignity, even if in your eyes they
>> are wronging you or what you believe in.
>> * Rather than just tell LocationTech what they shouldn't do, provide
>> some vision and leadership and suggest what should be done instead.
>> (This is much harder). You may note that Andrea has answered your
>> questions as best she could in her FAQ.
>> ---
>> A bit of background and reality check: From memory, the FOSS4G 2009 PCO
>> was paid ~ $70,000 for managing the FOSS4G conference, and OSGeo
>> guaranteed the conference, not the PCO. OSGeo was lucky in 2012, when
>> FOSS4G was cancelled [1] and OSGeo didn't have to pay cancellation
>> expenses. Based on estimates of exposure for recent conferences, this
>> would likely have been a lot over $100,000. So being paid $90,000 to run
>> and guarantee a conference is in the right ball park.
>> Year after year, after FOSS4G, there is discussion about the loss of
>> knowledge between conference organising teams. There is a clear
>> opportunity to have a PCO, or person take on a perpetual role supporting
>> FOSS4G events. For the first time, LocationTech has put a practical
>> proposal forward to fill this role, and help make FOSS4G better. This is
>> great, it would be solving a real problem. We might not accept the
>> proposal, but we certainly should not accuse LocationTech of foul play.
>> Jeff, you've dismissed my request for a vision. (I acknowledge that
>> compiling a vision is difficult, and typically involves a collation of
>> lots of ideas from within the community). Here are some questions which
>> might help:
>> * Should FOSS4G be run at minimum cost to delegates, or should it aim to
>> make money to fund OSGeo?
>> * There are many valuable activities which OSGeo doesn't implement due
>> to not having volunteers step up, or having people step for a limited
>> period. Should OSGeo hire someone to implement such activities? Eg: Hire
>> someone or some organisation to support knowledge sharing between foss4g
>> conferences, have someone manage marketing, have someone chase sponsors,
>> ... Ie. Should OSGeo act as a low capital or high capital organisation?
>> * Is there anything wrong with there being both low capital (OSGeo) and
>> high capital (LocationTech) organisations, both of which address
>> different users and capture difference communities? Both organisations
>> are running effectively now. Should they be restructured? If so how?
>> * There has been mention of a MOU between LocationTech and OSGeo. Fine.
>> But what next? A MOU is just a first step, a means to an end, and by
>> itself is of little practical value.
>> * A lot of thought was put into these questions and captured into the
>> OSGeo Board Priorities [2] a few years back. Do these priorities still
>> capture OSGeo goals? Please don't say what you don't want without
>> encouraging and ideally contributing to what you want instead.
>> * Note, if you don't articulate a practical vision to follow, it will by
>> default be determined by someone else.
>> [1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_2012_Lessons_Learned
>> [2] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Board_of_Directors#Board_Priorities
>> On 14/11/2015 12:24 am, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>> Hi Andrea,
>>> You seem to value the OSGeo community so much, so much in fact that
>>> you would smoothly court all 3 of our bidders for OSGeo's only source
>>> of revenue and publicity all year, our beloved global FOSS4G event. It
>>> is true that it is "ridiculous", from an organization that (apparently
>>> formerly) focused on commerce, to ask OSGeo to pay you (90,000 USD),
>>> to take control of OSGeo's only event (worth 1,000,000 USD), and then
>>> think that this is a fine since you offer (my answer: a polite no
>>> thank you) of handling losses for OSGeo's FOSS4G event, in maybe one
>>> of the strongest regions for attendees in the world?  If we are
>>> speaking of commerce, this doesn't make sense.
>>> I think Maxi said it well, that we all are trying to understand your
>>> motives here.  How about an MoU together, exchange of official
>>> letters, big press release, creating a working group of half
>>> LocationTech and half OSGeo board members, an exchange of talks at
>>> each others events, become the sustaining sponsor of OSGeo; instead,
>>> here we are.
>>> If you value the OSGeo community so much, why would you create a
>>> separate foundation with the exact same goals, and then later come
>>> back to the other foundation saying "no, we love you.  Give us the
>>> right to run your event".  Ha, pardon?
>>> -jeff
>>> On 2015-11-12 7:35 PM, Andrea Ross wrote:
>>>> Jeff,
>>>> It is really hard to discuss this topic because you make stuff up. The
>>>> concerns stem from the fantasy rather than reality.
>>>> The FAQ produced recently
>>>> <
>>>> https://docs.google.com/document/d/15x1Q3J9OPM95jEkeZhYlU0xB5uO9V9NCOI28g5B_Yqc/edit?usp=drive_web
>>>> >
>>>> does a pretty good job covering the situation.
>>>> In 3 years, so far as I know, absolutely no harm has come to OSGeo as a
>>>> result of LocationTech, and certainly not from any official/intentional
>>>> actions. On the contrary, there's a nice body of ever growing benefits.
>>>> Regarding your new claims:
>>>>   * The press releases & charter for LocationTech have not changed.
>>>>     They're all still up where they always were and haven't been
>>>>     modified. (seriously?!)
>>>>   * LocationTech & OSGeo have had formal relations for some time as Jody
>>>>     notes. There is all kinds of collaboration happening frequently and
>>>>     people are fine with it.
>>>>   * We gave many examples in the FAQ about LocationTech helping OSGeo.
>>>>     I'm not even sure that (positive list) was calculated necessarily as
>>>>     much as things that arise matter of course from the things the group
>>>>     does.
>>>>   * The evidence is for all to see in the bid proposals, LocationTech
>>>>     has offered to cover losses and promising payments on par with the
>>>>     best payments from past FOSS4G's. The numbers are based on a
>>>>     conservative budget. When you also factor that LocationTech has
>>>>     sponsored in which money has flowed to OSGeo, your claims
>>>>     LocationTech is setting sights on OSGeo income are even more
>>>> ridiculous.
>>>>   * As Jody & others have noted, the Tour is something that was born out
>>>>     of LocationTech. It is inclusive to any who want to participate. The
>>>>     FAQ covers why LocationTech members & projects care about FOSS4G,
>>>>     and it's very reasonable.
>>>> It's worth saying that people involved with LocationTech have also been
>>>> involved with OSGeo for some time. Your efforts to portray them as
>>>> outsiders is bogus. They are as welcome as anyone else to participate.
>>>> I'm not sure what else to say. It's such shame to have this be
>>>> needlessly misrepresented.
>>>> Andrea
>>>> On 12/11/15 21:58, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>>>> 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
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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