[Osmf-talk] logo update

Gervase Markham gerv at gerv.net
Mon Dec 19 14:17:57 UTC 2011

On 19/12/11 13:39, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> What you are doing here - with "you" I mean yourself and, from reading
> the minutes of the last OSMF F2F meeting, at least some similar-minded
> OSMF board members - is, you start out with the premise that you outline
> above: "I'd prefer that [the masses] use OSM." - From this follows
> automatically that we have to become like a big mass market map
> provider, we have to pour resources into ease of use, we have to make
> sure we have a well-armed communication team and if at all possible an
> army of drones on Twitter & Co who make sure we are "seen".

OSM is going through the same transition that Mozilla went through a
decade ago. Mozilla started out saying that we were "a technology
provider", and that it would be down to other organizations (e.g.
Netscape, Beonex - the short list of examples shows how well this
strategy worked) to productize what we produced and ship it to the public.

However, it became clear that to have maximum impact and make the
changes we wanted to the web, we had to produce something that people
actually _use_. Shipping software changes the web - and if it's our
software, the web changes for the better. Geeks complained that we were
"dumbing down", e.g. when we built Firefox (have you ever used
SeaMonkey? Have you seen how many options, knobs and twiddles it has?) -
but I think it's undeniable that Mozilla executes on its mission much
better and more effectively now than it did back in 2000.

I can see parallels here with OSM.

And the tensions are the same - how much do you say about contributing,
about the mission and about free software up front, and how much do you
just give people a kick-ass browser and tell them that stuff later? How
much does OSM talk about the free data, the community and the
map-making, and how much do we just give people a map which blows the
others out of the water?

There will always be discussions about how to strike that balance - but
I'd encourage you to see the move of OSM to appeal to the average user
as the start of OSM acquiring more clout, and the ability to move the
maps market, and the way ordinary people consume and, yes, produce maps,
into a mode more consistent with OSM values of openness, hackability and


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