[Osmf-talk] Conflict of Interest

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Jul 29 16:25:29 UTC 2009


> But the logical conclusion of your position is that the more deeply 
> involved in OSM someone becomes, the less likely they are to be suitable 
> for a place on the board. 

Might be. But generally I think that "a good businessman", "a good 
coder", "a good board member" are three distinct qualities which will 
only very seldom manifest in the same individual. The board must not be 
run like a business; a business must not be run like the OSMF board.

My view is that while a business might require people with good 
leadership skills and a vision for where to steer the business in the 
next 5 years, the OSMF board is more something where you have to listen 
and serve. Requires different types of people I think, so I don't see 
too much harm done with a hypothetical no-commerce policy.

> Conflicts of interest of the form you explain don't just arise because 
> of money. 

True, but they attract the fiercest criticism when they arise because of 
money. Ego is something that everyone has ;-)

> I want to see a healthy commercial ecosystem around OSM  where companies
> compete on a level playing field.


> People should be elected to the board 
> independent of their company affiliation, and asked to wear two hats.


But, to make this clear, I'm not campaigning against people with 
commercial interest on the board. I would prefer them not to be there 
but I understand it is not a view that the majority holds and I'm ok 
with that. In the long run, maybe we can create some sort of commercial 
advisory board where those with commercial interest get together but 
remain outside of direct OSMF influence.

> This works OK in Mozilla. 

I know too little about Mozilla to judge wether this is relevant.

> If it turns out that we vote such that the 
> entire board is made up of CloudMade employees, then let's watch and see 


I'm very much in favour of the one business, one person concept. A board 
made up of only members of the same commercial organisation is 
definitely not something I would ever want to try out and something 
that, even if agreed by a majority of OSMF members, would split the 
project. There are sensible limits to democracy.


> if they take decisions which favour the commercial interests of 
> CloudMade to the detriment of the project. if the membership agrees that 
> they do, they will elect other people next time.
> Gerv

Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list