[Osmf-talk] Project leadership

Gervase Markham gerv at gerv.net
Fri Jul 31 07:23:19 UTC 2009

On 30/07/09 21:16, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> (I'm assuming you don't think the project should have nobody doing
>> leadership and direction-setting!)
> Actually I do.

But it's really not a question of whether to have leadership or not, 
it's a question of whether we have good leadership or bad leadership. In 
any group of people attempting to unite around a common cause, it's 
inevitable that people will perform leadership roles.

>> This seems to me in some way analagous to your attitude to tagging,
>> where my understanding is that you are also opposed to people doing
>> things that look like formal leadership.
> Yes, not everthing that works for Mozilla automatically also works for
> OSM ;-)

I'm not arguing that it does work automatically. I'm drawing parallels 
to explain why particular things would work in particular cases. But I 
do find it odd having to justify the idea of community leadership. 
Almost every community, technical and not, has leaders, and that's 
usually a good thing.

> I never said just because you're on the OSMF board you shouldn't invent
> tags like everyone else does if that's what you're implying?

You do seem to be saying that being on the board makes it less 
acceptable for someone to do leadership things than if they weren't on 
the board.

> I think that's content-free rhetoric. When OSM started there was no OSMF
> and indeed OSM got quite far without OSMF - just carried by the spirit
> and willpower of SteveC and a few more individuals.

...exercising leadership.

But when an organization gets to the size of OSM, it's better to have 
/de jure/ rather than /de facto/ leaders.

> Right... in that case, OSMF would surely have to start by taking a step
> back and analysing all other sources of free geospatial data (referring
> to AndyR's post citing the Memorandum of Association) besides
> OpenStreetMap, and maybe, depending on what country/area wer're talking
> about, also decide to support an existing non-OSM project in that region
> instead of slapping OSM onto that bit of the world, would it not?

If the licenses are compatible, let's do an import. If they aren't, what 
are you suggesting?

One of the great things about OSM is that all the data is under the same 
licence. Don't underestimate that as a feature. We work very hard in 
Mozilla to keep it true for our codebase as well - the entire thing is 
under MPL/LGPL/GPL or a licence compatible with all three. So you can 
pick one of those three and take all of our code and not have to worry. 
That's a significantly reduced barrier to entry. If OSM started using 
different licences for different areas of the world, that would be a big 
backwards step IMO.

> well. If you now say that you expect OSMF to be proactive and "start
> initiatives" then these initiatives must certainly not be limited to
> supporting OpenStreetMap...

I don't understand your point here. What is wrong with saying that the 
OSMF supports only OSM-related initiatives?


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