[Osmf-talk] Running

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Thu Oct 23 22:31:29 UTC 2014


I by no means know all of the details of what Steve's various
initiatives and even less so any personal interactions that might have
lead to hostility or misunderstandings.

But I would like to understand a bit more of why you would consider his
initiatives as (hostilely) competitive.

Again, with the (perceived) drive to keep OSMF as minimal as possible
and only focus on core mappers, it leaves a lot of room for other
organizations to take over important roles. My (personal) impression has
been that when ever you suggest some initiative or project the "default
response" of the OSMF is, that that is outside of the scope of the OSMF
and go and do it your self and organize your own resources to do it
with. This sounds like exactly what Steve has done. There is undoubtedly
a need for OSM as a whole to engage the business community and give a
platform for the commercial and business side to work together, express
their opinions and desires and fine solutions that work for them within
the constraints of the license and general community centric mapping of OSM.

Given that OSMF in the past has repeatedly expressed the view that they
aren't the appropriate venue for that, and if I am not mistaken
Frederik, you hold that view rather strongly your self, I don't see why
Steve's initiatives would perse be considered competition rather than

Now this extreme minimalistic and libertarian view of OSM(F) no doubt
also has its merits, but then the OSMF has to find ways to
constructively work with the various private / commercial or other
organizations that spring into life to fulfill the void that OSMF
deliberately leaves.


On 10/23/2014 03:12 PM, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Hi,
> On 10/23/2014 04:57 PM, steve at asklater.com wrote:
>> I left a few years ago because I thought I was part of the problem and
>> was holding things back. It doesn't look like that was entirely the
>> case.
> After leaving the OSMF board, you have started two initiatives that
> were, at least partly, in competition with OSMF.
> You started "MapClub" as a club for mappers to talk to each other and
> perhaps buy a few servers to offer services of interest to members. I
> gather that this has not really taken off and you're not pursuing that
> any more. Please correct me if I am wrong.
> You also started "OSM Plus" which was partly a conference but partly you
> were also testing the waters for a membership-based organisation; I
> don't know what the status is. "OSM Plus" posed as an elite circle for
> business people to discuss OSM out of the public eye, and as a place
> where questions were finally answered.
> Both these initiatives were the result of a certain playful and
> disruptive attitude that, years ago, helped you found OpenStreetMap
> against players like the Ordnance Survey; in these cases, alas, the
> target of the disruption was OSMF which in your eyes didn't do enough to
> cater to these audiences. I can only guess why you didn't choose to set
> up a "commercial users working group" in OSM instead - my guess is that
> you felt it was a waste of your time to achieve something in OSMF when
> you could also go it alone.
> I was very uncomfortable from the start about having you listening in to
> OSMF board communications as a "chairman emeritus" and at the same time
> running something that I perceived as competing. But what was worse, you
> even involved Henk and Oliver, two sitting board members, in your
> organisation
> (https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2013/03/21/join-osm-plus-the-openstreetmap-commercial-us/),
> something which in my mind was at least stretching their loyality and it
> was thoroughly improper. It was one of those things where *everyone* who
> heard about it said "uh that's a bit fishy" but my protests behind the
> scenes were ignored. The whole thing culminated in the local organisers
> of SOTM Birmingham threatening to pull out because you were having Henk
> plan a OSM-Plus conference day right next to SOTM Birmingham and Henk
> was essentially supposed to acquire sponsors for both organisations -
> something which was perceived by everyone but those involved with
> OSM-Plus as a giant conflict of interest. (Henk then announced he'd
> pause his involvement with OSM Plus for the duration of the conference
> but still maintained that there had not ever been any conflict of
> interest.)
> SOTM Birmingham turned out to be the least commercially successful OSMF
> SOTM conference to date, which could of course have had any number of
> other reasons.
> Even when OSMF started to take on corporate members, each of these
> applications would go have to go through the hands of Henk (for signing
> them up) and Oliver (for sending them an invoice) - precisely the two
> board members whose portraits (at least until very recently) proudly
> shone from the osmplus.co web site.
>> Since approximately then I've got married and had kids and see
>> things in a different light.
> Does this different light now let you see how you made things difficult
> for the whole board back then with the actions I described above, and
> have your marriage and kids let you mature to a point where you can
> honestly say that such scheming is now beneath you? Have you shut down
> "OSM Plus", or will businesses continue to have to decide whether to
> give money to OSMF or OSM Plus?
> Bye
> Frederik

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