[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo/LocationTech relationship

Charles Schweik cschweik at pubpol.umass.edu
Sun Nov 15 15:44:01 PST 2015

Charlie Schweik

On Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 6:36 PM, Venkatesh Raghavan <
raghavan at media.osaka-cu.ac.jp> wrote:

> Jeff,
> Many thanks for the great job you are doing in
> representing OSGeo with selfless dedication
> and for sharing your vision with all of us.
> I wish you great fun and safe travel for representing OSGeo at
> the GISConf in Moscow [1] that is coming up this weekend.
> Best
> Venka
> [1] http://gisconf.ru/
> On 2015/11/16 4:13, 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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Charlie Schweik

Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dept of Environmental Conservation and Center for Public Policy and

Personal website: http://people.umass.edu/cschweik
Publications: http://works.bepress.com/charles_schweik/

Author, Internet Success: A Study of Open Source Software (MIT Press, 2012)
- see http://tinyurl.com/d3e4545

Q: Why do I try my best to keep my emails to five sentences or less?
A: http://five.sentenc.es
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