[OSGeo-Board] Eleventh Board Meeting Agenda

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at ccgis.de
Fri May 26 10:09:55 EDT 2006

Dave McIlhagga wrote:
> Hi Arnulf,
> Arnulf Christl wrote:
>> Maybe it will be possible to have a chat - even if informal - on IRC 
>> because we have pressing issues regarding booth operation at the 
>> Intergeo exhibition. The plan is out and there is an Open Source Park 
>> reserved and we need to fix who is going to do what and what the role 
>> of the OSGeo could take on.
>> Would the  OSGeo Foundation would consent at being the judge/committee 
>> regarding which company is committed (enough) to doing Open Source 
>> ('trustworthy?') so that it can appear in the Open Source Park.
> Hmmm - this sounds like very dangerous territory to me for OSGeo to be 
> wandering into ... do we really want to be determining who is more open 
> source than another - or more deserving? If we look at what's going on 
> at Where 2.0 -- there is no issue, since the companies have 
> representatives attending and participating - but all wearing an OSGeo 
> Hat (or is that a shirt?)

Well, from our perspective this is exactly one of the jobs that the 
OSGeo will have to do (think about the certification discussion we had 
some time ago, this goes in the same direction). If the OSGeo Foundation 
does not know how to separate serious OS supporters from frauds who can?

> It's very conceivable that some companies may use zero open source 
> themselves, but strategically want to be promoting adoption of open 
> source. I don't think we would want to discourage this -- any and all 
> support we can get for open source should and needs to be welcomed.

Thats another issue that I am not so sure about. I do not think that we 
need any and all support regardless of the price we have to pay. Turn it 
the other way round and make OSGeo more interesting by making people 
have to crane their neck to get accepted. Look at the example of how 
Autodesk grew into the OSGeo community. The first try went bad. Then it 
took a long time and getting to know each other until we really could 
trust but now we have a really good common foundation (basement) of the 
Foundation. And this could only happen because the community exerted 
some pressure and did not submitted to the 800 pound gorilla right away. 
We can actually help people understand our concepts - so maybe only my 
wording was not well selected.

We had this kind of discussion in different flavors before. I think it 
suits us well ('us' being the Foundation) to pick those out who we trust 
and who we know are trustworthy. Lets build up some pride - I think the 
danger of becoming overly complacent is still very low (we'll have to 
watch out, no questions asked).

Maybe by looking at the OSGeo Foundation as if it were an Open Source 
project this becomes more transparent. Any PSC will not just open the 
door (code repository) to anybody but will first want to get to know who 
she is and how she could contribute in a meaningful way. Then it will be 
a consensus decision as it always should be in an Open Source 
environment. One of the core interests of the foundation is to focus on 
quality software and communities and not become the cemetery of hundreds 
of zombie projects. In my opinion the same should apply to the resources 
that support us - which will also be companies operating booths in the 
direct vicinity or even under the roof of the OSGeo Foundation. And in 
some cases we should prefer quality over quantity.

I definitely want to be able to throw in a veto whenever a company that 
has a record of not been trustworthy regarding Open Source tries to 
sneak their way in. Being an avowing paranoid I know that I might be 
overly sensitive to this kind of issue but we have a fairly simple 
regulatory to sort my kind out. If I place a veto and can't back it up 
within 3 days it turns void. If I am the only one objecting the rest can 
vote me out. Its basically simple Open Source methodology.

> Don't know if this helps as I"m not sure of the context of the question 
> -- but it seems like OSGeo should remain as neutral as possible when it 
> comes to 'endorsing' open sourceness of companies around it.
> Dave

Please help me out with 'endorsing' (especially what you mean with the 
single quotes).

Oops, wikipedia don't really help me, look at this:

Which one do you mean?

Neutrality is definitely not what I understand the job of the OSGeo to 
be. We are not going to be neutral regarding misusing Open Source 
wording, concepts and ideas - that would not make any sense. Maybe I got 
you wrong, but we should further discuss this so that I am not 
completely on the wrong track.

Best regards,

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