[Foss4g2008loc] Feedback from GISSA National Council meeting on 4Oct

burnie nawn jbnawn at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 10 05:09:52 EDT 2007

For those that were not at the GISSA 2007 meeting in Durban I would like to provide some insight into the current understanding and interaction with FOSS in the GIS community in SA.
Firstly there seems to be a huge misunderstanding of what FOSS is and that you can actually do GIS in something that is free is mind-boggling. Secondly the support had to be rallied for supporting FOSS4G2008, since there seem to be lack of understanding on how big this thing really is in the real world. The informal message was also that why should they replace what they have and therefore a lot of people don't understand the synergy of FOSS and proprietory software. 
I further believe that once various institutions recognises the long term feasibility and sustainability of FOSS products without paying a licensing fee every year there might just actually take some development place in certain areas of South Africa.
As Dewald mentioned, we need to manage this process very carefully to avoid a ridge between FOSS and proprietory software groups. We need both of these towards improving the conditions in our country.
So the take home message is one of IEC:
I = Information. We need to disseminate enough information before FOSS4G2008 to empower people to partcipate at full speed.
E= Education. We will have to educate people on what FOSS is, what it can do for you, the limitation, etc.
C= Communication. We need to communicate all the latest trends, possibilities, opportunities as well as FOSS events.
This will be the only way in which we will grow interest as well as the market for FOS Software in South AFrica. This IEC process should start as soon a spossible in South Africa. The right vehicle for dissemination for this information would be GISSA. If GISSA supports this it means that members will also start doing so. I mean GISSA even has an open source portal webpage - so we are half way there. People are using it and not even knowing it.
With the best of intentions at all times.
Kind regards,Burnie Nawn072 134 5352

Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 10:44:37 +0200From: gmcferren at csir.co.zaTo: nucleotic at gmail.com; foss4g2008loc at lists.osgeo.org; GavinF at mintek.co.zaSubject: RE: [Foss4g2008loc] Feedback from GISSA National Council meeting on 4OctCC: 

I rather see a massive opportunity for developing mutual understanding and seeing how the FOSS stack and propritary stacks line up and complement/ compete with each other... The reality going forward in South Africa is that while there is a huge push for FOSS coming over the horizon, proprietary software is very dominant and is not going to be displaced easily. FOSS and proprietary will be walking together for a while. Lets make friends and demonstrate inclusiveness :-) 
BTW, ESRI makes use of FOSS software and is engaged in some open source processes like the 52North initiative for example and I think were a sponsor at FOSS4G 2007. 
Graeme>>> "Dewald Troskie" <nucleotic at gmail.com> 10/10/07 10:30 AM >>>

Hi All, 


Just a point - FOSS4G is about Free and Open Source GIS, not proprietry talks. That is against the spirit of the conference in my opinion - just as the name states. Otherwise we might as well invite the "Microsoft" of GIS (we all know whom I'm talking about) to jump onboard. If users are interested in that, then they should attend one of the ESRI User conferences. 


The debate may be a good idea, but it should be properly mediated to prevent scope creep and have proper direction without getting ugly (I have seen it happen before between professionals). 


Just a note. 

My Zim $5 worth. 



From: foss4g2008loc-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:foss4g2008loc-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Gavin FlemingSent: 10 October 2007 09:01 AMTo: foss4g2008loc at lists.osgeo.orgSubject: [Foss4g2008loc] Feedback from GISSA National Council meeting on 4Oct

I gave brief feedback from FOSS4G2007 to the GISSA National Council and asked for their comments on FOSS4G2008 organisation: 

An idea was proposed for 

blending proprietary and FOSS talks 
: have themed rooms where delegates know certain streams or cross-cutting content like FOSS will be presented. Previous suggestions include having streams containing FOSS, though not necessarily keeping them in the same room, or randomly interspersing talks with FOSS content throughout a topic stream and just identifying them with some flag. The point was also made that many delegates will see a talk for the application, not for the tools used, i.e. to them it's not important whether FOSS or proprietary GIS was used. 



must be open and inclusive. While we may run a formal FOSS vs proprietary debate, confrontation is not the message. Most debate will occur in the presentations and corridors anyway. 

Re topics, it was suggested that we add 

topics for business and government 
delegates (pretty much what is being discussed on OSGeo-Discuss at the moment) such as 

FOSS GIS migration strategies 

FOSS GIS business case, FOSS vs proprietary TCO, etc. 

It was advised that we aim to 

break even 
with 600 delegates but plan space for 1000 delegates. 

Carrin would send a letter to GISSA members and vendors advising them of the conference and asking them to 

plan for the time and budget to attend 

A request was made to 

boost the academic component 
of the conference. i.e. improve the options available to those who want peer review and publication of their papers. Antony Cooper will participate in this. 

Cape participation in the LOC should be boosted. So far Inge is the main person on the ground there. 

Russell Hope 
might want to get more involved and 

Derek Clarke 
will be approached ( 

will approach Derek) 

The whole Council asked to be placed on the LOC mailing list. 

In the development of an agreement between GISSA and OSGeo we need to clarify respective risks, contributions and benefits and draft the agreement accordingly. 



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