[Incubator] Acceptable commercial involvement in OSGeo Projects

Andrea Aime andrea.aime at geo-solutions.it
Wed Mar 6 23:20:44 PST 2013

On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 6:54 AM, Bruce Bannerman <
bruce.bannerman.osgeo at gmail.com> wrote:

> *****
> Does OSGeo provide clear guidance as to what is acceptable commercial
> involvement within an OSGeo project?
> *****
> Where do we draw the line on what is considered acceptable involvement?

My 2 cents:
- scenario 1 and 2 are totally fine
- scenario 3 is fine as well, it would be nice if branch B was public so
that others
  could decide to complete the merge, but how do you control that?
  Also, integrating with the community has indeed a cost (reviews,
  need to bend what you need to do with the larger community), if the
customer is
  not ok with paying for it, what do you do, give up the work?
  That's fine if you have plenty other, but if you don't, well, at the end
of the month
  you still have to pay salaries no?
- scenario 4 is not fine, because it seems there is no way for someone from
  of the organisation to get at the same level as those who work for it.
  However, the incubation rules demanding for a diversity of entities in
the development
  and control group should at least partially prevent this kind of
situation from the start.
  A situation in which the company has a very important position that
scares the rest
  of the PSC from duplicating their "added value commercial extras" is
indeed a nasty
  one... not very fond of dual licensed situations myself, however a
situation in which
  the commercial version keeps ahead by continuously adding new features and
  eventually donating a few old ones back to the community, and not
discouraging people
  from duplicating them in the open does not bother me, what would bother
me greatly
  is a situation in which the commercial version is pretty much stale, and
  company does whatever it can to keep the open source version at bay to
  the advantage of the commercial version to be eroded.
  You want the commercial advantage, fine, you work in order to keep your
  ahead of the curve and leave the open source version evolve as it sees

Generally speaking I would not put the question in terms of "how much
involvement there is", but more of "is there a set of rules that are equals
for everybody,
and that allow new contributors to raise their rank up to PSC level if
their work qualifies
them to get there?".
Also the community should be sane and lively, in particular if the eventual
that released the software to open source moves on and stops actively
contributing to the project,
its control position should diminish accordingly, going from active PSC
member to
emeritus. In other terms, "we are very grateful for your past work, but
today you're not relevant

The extreme opposite is situation where everybody is allowed to do what
their please,
however such a project should not be allowed to incubate or complete
in my opinion, as it's still too much in an anarchic state and has not yet
reached any
kind of control over how things are done and the quality of what it's


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Ing. Andrea Aime
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