[Osmf-talk] Phasing out Google services (was: Important information regarding your OSMF membership - Action may be required)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Sep 19 07:18:16 UTC 2013


On 09/19/13 08:45, Oleksiy Muzalyev wrote:
> Is there no other way to collect personal home addresses, but a Google
> Document?

"Use Google" is a knee-jerk reaction for many people even in OSM and
OSMF. Google email, Google hangout, Google docs - all used pervasively
in OSMF. The scarcest resource is usually volunteer time, so if someone
says "I'll do this task" we usually allow them to use whatever means
they feel they are most effective with, and we don't tell them "but you
have to use sites A,B,C for that".

For example, when we have a board meeting I still do the minutes in a
Google doc before transferring them to the OSMF wiki later simply
because that's what everyone is used to. I could dig out an alternative
but do I want to force my fellow board members through yet another
signup process, or to learn a new user interface, etc? There's usually
enough other stuff to keep one busy.

I agree that change is desirable here, and that we should wane the
organisation off Google services. Personally I don't see the danger of
real privacy incursions as the #1 reason, but the public message: How
can we expect people to stop using Google Maps as their knee-jerk
response to any Map project when at the same time we're not prepared to
switch away from Google ourselves?

(Hat tip to our sysadmins here who are doing their site analysis stuff
with a self-hosted Piwik installation instead of Google Analytics as
many other might have done.)

I'm happy to hear suggestions about viable replacements for

* Google docs - simple shared "live" word processing and spreadsheets;
less frequently also the kind of email questionnaire that sparked this

* Google hangout - group voice or video chat that "just works" across a
range of platforms including Linux

* Google email - handling email (and management of aliases and groups)
for a domain, either forwarding email to other systems or allowing
direct imap or webmail access

For all of these there's likely some sort of Open Source package that
you can install and run, and it is not completely impossible that we'd
to that (we are running our own wikis, for example, not some paid-for
hosted wiki elsewhere) but we don't have a lot of manpower to spare - we
can't have an admin on call just in case some working group member
cannot find a document or so. Which means that we'd also consider
commercial solutions that we have to pay for.


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

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