[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo/LocationTech relationship

Rob Emanuele rdemanuele at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 16:59:05 PST 2015

I think there's two narratives that are at conflict in this entire thread.
I'm going to try to try to spell them out as I see them:

A. LocationTech is a newer-than-OSGeo organization that is trying to make a
name for itself, capture market share, promote it's brand, in general act
in a way that makes itself grow. The intention behind LocationTech's
actions in offering services as a professional conference organizer is
mostly for it's own gain; LocationTech wants to smoothly slide into
becoming a part of OSGeo's annual conference for the profit and promotion
of itself, to the potential loss of OSGeo. For that reason, it is best for
the OSGeo community to protect itself from LocationTech, keep measured
distance between the organizations, not allow it to become part of the
FOSS4G international event, or at least to be suspicious of it's stated
good intentions in offering itself to be PCO. The real story is that
LocationTech's intentions are primarily about the profits and higher
visibility it will gain from being part of FOSS4G, and the help it is
offering plays a secondary role.

B. LocationTech is an organization that was created out of intentions to
help parts of the community that were perhaps not best served by OSGeo at
the time. It has it's own governance and ways of doing things, which
include being backed by small and large companies looking to contribute
financial support to the open source community, which allows for things
like paid staff. The model is different than OSGeo, the structure is
different than OSGeo, and the aims are similar but have differences. One
differences is that it's parent organization is the Eclipse Foundation, who
have professional conference organizers on staff and a lot of experience
running successful conferences. Seeing this is a valuable thing that the
open source geospatial community can take advantage of, LocationTech offers
it's services as a professional conference organizer to the FOSS4G NA
regional conferences, and now has offered it's services to the
international conference in 2017. While certainly not eschewing the
increase in visibility in the community that being part of the conferences
would afford LocationTech, that plays a secondary role to the earnest
desire to help the open source geospatial community.

Have I captured these narratives correctly or incorrectly? They are based
on impressions and implicit opinions that I've tried to understand from
these conversations. I think perhaps explicitly stating them would be
useful, so if I have failed to do so correctly please correct me.

I obviously have a preference for believing that narrative B best fits the
reality of the situation. Self promotion surely must play some role in
LocationTech's actions, but is it naive to think that the intentions of
LocationTech are for the community first and itself second? Perhaps. I
don't think so though. The alternative is certainly not how I operate when
I participate in LocationTech.

I prefer the narrative of openness and trust vs the narrative of mistrust
and suspicion that sounds like bad politics. I hope that this community
that I choose to participate in is not such a political mess that breeds
that sort of selfish market share power plays, and instead it is a
community of people and organizations that take actions based on how they
can contribute to an overall good.

On Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 6:23 PM, Mateusz Loskot <mateusz at loskot.net> wrote:

> On 16 November 2015 at 23:11, Jody Garnett <jody.garnett at gmail.com> wrote:
> > If I was to sum up the difference in outlook between the two
> organizations
> > today it would more be along the lines of LocationTech being "developer
> > focused" and OSGeo being "user focused'. I think that is more a
> reflection
> > of where the projects involved are in their incubation process that any
> > strategic difference.
> Jody,
> I have to admit, to me as OSGeo member as developer (+SAC supporter),
> this whole thread has not clarified almost nothing.
> As much as I appreciate (and carefully read through) all your inputs,
> that summary leaves me with even more questions.
> And, BTW, I agree with you about the FAQ, it also reads naive and silly
> (e.g. comparing Apache vs Mozilla, two different scopes, to
> LocationTech vs OSGeo,
> two with clear overlap).
> Putting all the emotional cream whipped so far aside and objectively,
> clearly, that it is all about potential, capacity and market share.
> OSGeo has proved its potential, it is capable to paddle its own canoe
> for a decade or more,
> via large self-organized community and successful projects.
> LocationTech is a fairly new player with huge & rich organization behind,
> that has to prove it's capable to secure market share, and its position.
> Otherwise, the parent organization will simply shut it down as any
> failed project.
> Best regards,
> --
> Mateusz  Loskot, http://mateusz.loskot.net
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