Tom Carden tom at tom-carden.co.uk
Fri Mar 31 11:20:04 BST 2006

On 3/31/06, Ben Gimpert <ben at somethingmodern.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 31, 2006 at 06:06:23AM +0200, Lars Aronsson wrote:
> > As for the comment (by someone else) that everything is fine now,
> > I disagree.  Without having met you, Steve, I estimate that your
> > genius is 80% technical innovator and 20% organizer.  For the best
> > of OSM, others should take care of the administration and you
> > should be allowed to keep your mind on the technical, visionary,
> > and innovative parts.
> [snipped mostly irrelevant stuff about Jimbo]
[snipped stuff I agree with almost 100%]

Let me echo and amplify what Ben just said.  He's mostly right.  One
of the things he's getting at is that OSM might at some point need to
pay people to just Get Things Done. This is something that people will
just have to get over... coders have to eat!  Those of us who
willingly do stuff for free might not be around for ever, but
hopefully the project will be.

OSM has moved forward the fastest when it has focused on the *simplest
possible thing that could possibly work*.  Any 'foundation' should be
set up in the same way.

Here are some things that an OSMF should do:

 * facilitate and protect the OSM community's ability to make Free maps
 * facilitate and protect the OSM community's ability to write code to
make Free maps
 * limit (or eliminate entirely) the liability of members of the
community with regards to legal action

So, support the community/users, support the coders/sysadmins, and
make sure nobody gets sued.  Anything else is a bonus.

Transparency is an interesting requirement that lots of people have
mentioned already. It's one thing that almost everyone would agree
with but which might actually be at odds with the environment we're
operating in.  If potential supporters of the project wish to remain
anonymous, there needs to be a way for them to do that. It might be
that they simply have to support individuals to work on the project
rather than support the project directly, but this issue needs to be
thought about.

Charitable status is another thing which isn't actually self-evident. 
Sure, it's great for tax purposes, but it might limit the activities
in which the "foundation" could take part.  Charities in the UK, to
the best of my knowledge, aren't allowed to directly engage in
politcal lobbying.

Here are some things that an OSMF *might* do:

 * enforce, through legal action where necessary, the current license
 * commercially market products based on OSM data to help support the project
 * politically lobby to protect its freedom to perform OSM type activities
 * support local groups using OSM software for specific projects
 * sit on like-minded existing groups and liase with like-minded projects
 * support OSM contributors talking at conferences about OSM
 * support OSM coders working on unpopular (unsexy) but necessary features

I'll leave it there for now,


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