[Osmf-talk] [OSM-talk] Esri donation to OpenStreetMap Foundation

ce-test, qualified testing bv - Gert Gremmen g.gremmen at cetest.nl
Wed Mar 21 07:06:36 UTC 2012

I suggest that a few  OSM-ers, not being member of the
OSMF, create a small ad-hoc committee, that gets a inside view on the
amount and strings attached.
This ad-hoc group can make a statement to the community that this transaction
does not represent any harm to OSM.


  Gert Gremmen

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: Frederik Ramm [mailto:frederik at remote.org] 
Verzonden: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1:17 AM
Aan: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Onderwerp: Re: [Osmf-talk] [OSM-talk] Esri donation to OpenStreetMap Foundation


On Tue, 20 Mar 2012 14:17:52 +0100
Guttorm Flatabø <post at guttormflatabo.com> wrote:
> one reason is that it is a "secret" and secrets are mostly undesirable 
> in open, inclusive, democratic, non-profit organizations.

Yes. Secrets also lead to more secrets. If you get a secret amount of money and then buy a new server for it, you cannot say how expensive the server was. Which means that nobody can check if you maybe bought overprived hardware from a shop run by a board member's uncle and got a nice kickback for yourself, etc.

I don't intend to spoil the fun, and I'm sure the operations team is going to be happy if they can spend more on servers (it might help to tell them how much though!); with all the media coverage we had recently, we may need that sooner than later.

But even so, I would like to point out the fact that keeping the details about such a donation secret will cause problems - even more so if this should become a standard mode of how we deal with money. It may sound like a no-brainer at first ("hey, ESRI is offering us this wad of cash on the condition that we don't say how much it was, anyone against?") but if you think about the implications then this quickly becomes a slippery slope that we don't want to be on. 

I would like to ask our board to explain to ESRI that it is important for our community to be truthfully informed about important developments in OSMF, and that if a donation is big enough to warrant its own article on the OSMF blog then the community should be allowed to know how big it was exactly. 

In the long run, it might be prudent to think about conditions under which we can accept donations. I think such conditions already exist in all our minds; if someone offered to give us money under the condition that we make sure that their headquarters is made unmodifiable on the map or that they always get priority access to our API then we would all say "hoo, wait a minute, we're sorry but we can't do that". I would suggest that a rule like "any donation in excess of (something
like) US$1000 will be individually accounted for" should be added.

As I said, it's great of ESRI to support us and eventually we will hear whether this was to the tune of $5,000, $50,000, or $500,000 but really, we shouldn't have such secrets.


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