[Foss4g2008loc] conference topics

Dave McIlhagga dmcilhagga at dmsolutions.ca
Mon Oct 15 10:48:08 EDT 2007

For what it's worth - I agree completely with Carrin's request.

If we truly believe that FOSS software can stand up to and even  
exceed Proprietary alternatives - there should be nothing to be  
feared, and everything to be gained from an open forum for comparison  
and debate. In addition - where FOSS has shortcomings, it's important  
to understand what they are and where they exist .. we can't easily  
do that in a bubble. Being as *open* as possible to everyone is  
central to the success of FOSS software and community.

FOSS clearly needs to be a priority for this event - in particular  
regarding workshops and learning opportunities around these core FOSS  
technologies. However, let's welcome the debate with proprietary  
technologies -- just having the debate is a sign of maturing and  
coming of age of open source technologies in the geospatial arena.

my 2 cents.


On 15-Oct-07, at 10:21 AM, Gavin Fleming wrote:

> [sent by Gavin on behalf of Carrin]
> Hi
> We need to be careful about restricting the non-FOSS topics only to  
> South Africa.  Many developing world delegates will only get  
> sponsorship if they can present, and as they are unlikely to be  
> using FOSS, we are immediately excluding many people from  
> participating.  And they will want to be there because they want to  
> learn.   Obviously there needs to be a strong FOSS content, but I  
> think we should rather look at the topics and see where people from  
> developing countries could contribute.  Only developing countries  
> have Millennium Development Goads (MDG) among other topics (see  
> below) and if they are not using FOSS does that mean that we don't  
> want to hear what they have to say?  And if no-one can do a  
> presentation on the MDG's using FOSS, do we simply close that  
> session?  There are a number of topics where we want people to  
> demonstrate what they are doing and to see how what else can also  
> be done using FOSS.  There may be instances where FOSS can't do  
> what people need to be done, and that should be part of the debate,  
> where is it applicable and where isn't it.  I would really like to  
> see FOSS people  discussing/debating/advising people about what  
> they could use for their projects in areas where FOSS is not being  
> used and  relevant  presentations are not available.
> So I'd suggest that we open up non-FOSS talks to the developing  
> nations and see what sort of response we get.  If no-one is using  
> FOSS for the MDG's is there not some way we can create an  
> opportunity for this group to have access to people who can see the  
> abstracts beforehand or sit in on the session and generate some  
> discussion afterwards.   Developing countries will come because  
> they want to learn about FOSS, but they will want examples from  
> developing countries because we operate under very different  
> constraints to the developed world.  People will want to come to  
> the conference because they will learn something, and I think we  
> need to find a way of educating people using relevant topics.  The  
> gist of the motivation was education through debate, and for that  
> you need both FOSS and non-FOSS.
> some of the other topics in which there may not be many people  
> using FOSS in the developing world:
> Sustainable Development
> Millennium Development Goals
> NGOs, CBOs, community development
> Land management and reform
> Disaster management
> Participatory GIS
> cheers
> Carrin Martin
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