[OpenLayers-Dev] Spending Sponsorship Money

John R. Frank john.frank at metacarta.com
Tue Nov 4 19:50:09 EST 2008

How about this for a sequence of formulaic steps:

1)  I think everyone would agree that OpenLayers would benefit from 
figuring out how to spend money on itself.  Putting that to a vote would 
get unanimous support (I think).

2)  The word "benefit" above is vague.  We've seen several notions of what 
benefit means.  Metrics are independent of benefits, so we don't need to 
get hung up on metrics (at least not yet, and maybe never).  To be totally 
pedantic, benefits are increases in utility as measured by some peoples' 
utility function.  I would like to see a list of the benefits that we hope 
would come from spending money.  With such a list in place, the PSC should 
vote on the various parts of it --- at least high-level categories if not 
specific target benefits.  Ideally, this would result in a ranking of the 
most important things that money could buy the project.  Articulating 
target benefits in plain language can be difficult -- it takes time and 

3)  Then, after(!) that, we can figure out which specific purchases would 
help achieve the ranked benefits.  Since this involves lots of leg work, 
like calling tshirt printers :-), the PSC should delegate it to 
individuals or small groups who are particularly jazzed about one or 
another benefit.  This will tell the PSC the costs of various approaches 
to the goals.  When the PSC has money to spend, it will need to vote on 
proposed budgets.

4)  With this information in hand, we are almost ready to seek money from 
sponsors.  We need just one more thing:  a bank.  We could use OSGEO's 
banking service, which has a fee associated with it.  Or we could use any 
of a variety of other banking services.  Again, this should be delegated 
to people who will report back to the group on the costs/benefits of each 
banking option.  Then, the we can vote on that selecting that.

5)  After that ground work in place, then we're ready to approach 
sponsors.  When the project has money, the PSC may decide to allocate 
money specifically toward seeking sponsorships.

The conversation "with MetaCarta" to which Erik and Chris alluded was not 
quite so formal as that might have sounded.  Josiah (head of engineering) 
and I listened to the summary of the discussion to date, and found that it 
was primarily about #4 in the list above.  We suggested that steps 1-3 are 
more important than #4 and that without the results of steps 1-3, step 5 
will be challenging.

As a PSC member and a netizen, I would love for the project to do all five 
steps.  Here are a couple candidate benefits that I think some people may 

1) make OpenLayers easy to adopt and use -- regardless of whether you are 
a JavaScript ninja or just starting out

2) make OpenLayers globally known as the easiest way to build rich mapping 

3) gather a larger group of people using OpenLayers professionally and 
also contributing to the project



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