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@bartvde
Last active Nov 23, 2015
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Why I left OSGeo

For the people who don't know, I was a charter member at OSGeo since 2006, and I recently served on the OSGeo board of directors.

The main reason for leaving OSGeo at this point in time is that I feel that the recent communication that has been happening between OSGeo and LocationTech is very unprofessional and disrespectful from the side of OSGeo. I must say that Andrea Ross of LocationTech has been super professional, I'm not sure I would have been able to do the same in her position. This communication has been mostly on the conference_dev e-mail list (but also on discuss). It has been really hard for me to read that communication and not speak up publicly about it. I'm glad Cameron Shorter did say something about it here: https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2015-November/015310.html on which I fully agree but I feel like a lot more people involved in OSGeo should have said something about this. I encourage everyone to read the relevant November threads in the archives https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/conference_dev/2015-November/thread.html and https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/2015-November/thread.html

The communication started just a few weeks before the final decision had to be made on FOSS4G 2017. 2 out of the 3 bids had chosen LocationTech to be their PCO. After all the communication on LocationTech as the PCO on the e-mail list I felt that they would never have a fair chance of getting selected for FOSS4G 2017. Even though the FOSS4G RFP doesn't say anything about not being allowed to use LocationTech as the PCO, it was clear that this was deemed a no go area by some of the people "in charge" of OSGeo. I feel sorry for the 2 bids that put in a lot of time and energy, and never had a fair chance IMHO, although ofcourse this is hard to prove. I don't want to say anything nasty about the winning Boston bid, since I'm sure they had an excellent bid, but I don't think the other two ever had a real chance after they made public in their bids that they had selected LocationTech to be their PCO (in other years, the name of the PCO was not always known in this phase). There is just no trust in OSGeo for LocationTech unfortunately.

When I tried to send a private e-mail to the president of OSGeo, in which I tried to open up his eyes that this constant refusal of any collaboration with LocationTech might eventually lead to a split in our communities, I was called out a coward in the private e-mail, and also publicly on the conference_dev list (https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/conference_dev/2015-November/003406.html), though my name was not mentioned explicitly there. Also this wasn't a threat from my side, this was just a final attempt to open up somebody's eyes to see the other side of things. In case anybody wants to judge this for themselves I am happy to share the contents of the e-mail that I sent privately. I have no secrets. It was also said in that conversation that I should just reveal my Boundless / LocationTech agenda to the public. Yes, I do contract work for Boundless to work on great javascript open source projects, and I'm very grateful for the support Boundless provides for this, but I'm in no way involved on the LocationTech side of things, nor has anybody in Boundless reached out to me on this topic. This was my personal opinion, nothing more, nothing less. It's hard to discuss when you've been put into a category already.

OSGeo used to be an open organisation welcoming collaboration with anyone on their goals, but sadly it's not anymore. Also if you haven't read Darrell Fuhriman's post titled "OSGeo is becoming irrelevant. Here's why. Let's fix it." already I highly recommend it: https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2015-September/013236.html

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@archaeogeek archaeogeek commented Nov 23, 2015

Thanks for writing this. It chimes with a number of things I have been feeling uncomfortable about for several years.

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