[OSM-talk] advertising

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Jul 2 22:52:05 BST 2007


> Currently OSMF *appears* to be an elitary closed british club

My personal impression has so far been that the OSMF is, even for those 
that created it, more of a boring necessity, something that "has to be 
done lest one day individuals might get in trouble".

I was thus a bit surprised to see that the OSMF was actually used in 
decision-making that influenced the website; I'd have thought they're 
just there to shift money around and to have an address that lawyers may 
address correspondence to.

I thought it was just logical to set it up in the UK since the project 
is run from there, and if anyone had come to me asking to set up a 
foundation for OSMF in Germany I'd have told them to please leave me 
alone with the paperwork and that I'd rather do some mapping.

I did't view OSMF as elitist. I didn't join it either because I feel I 
am a member of too many things already.

> * It's impossible to get an account on our servers for external 
> developers. 

I hope you're not referring to my personal quest in trying to get an 
account on dev about which I complained a few weeks ago? Because it 
would be surely wrong to say it is impossible to get an account on dev - 
tons of other people have. It's just that the account creation process 
got stuck somehow, and I'm sure this is going to be fixed.

> This should IMO be decided by the project's developers, not 
> by the board members.

Depends. If the account creation process is working - as it did, for 
example, when I asked for SVN commit access some months ago and promptly 
received it - then you're much better of with a few people controlling 
the server than with community decisions...

> * The appearance of the project's main page should also decided by a web 
> form and public vote.

Depends. I'd actually be happy if an informed decision was taken after 
some discussion on the list. No need for a formal "voting" process. 
However currently a lot of "voting" seems to take place behind doors, 
and I am not (only) talking about the OSMF: I remember Steve Coast at 
the Essen meeting repeatedly saying "I've received so-and-so-many emails 
of people asking me to implement so-and-so". If these people would 
exercise some discipline and not personally ask Steve to implement 
something, then the whole process would be a bit clearer. Things 
wouldn't implement themselves by being discussed, but at least it would 
be reasonably clear where the pros and cons lie. The person implementing 
something would still decide in the end.

I'm against too much institutionalised voting. But floating an idea on 
the list to see what people think is definitely something that should be 
done... even if that might result in one or two cries of "don't talk, 
just do".

> * The database doesn't get replicated to balance the server load. 
> Additionally it would allow other people to do nasty things with the 
> project's data, *and* it would be a testimonial that OSMF does *not* 
> want to control the data. A weekly planet file dump is not sufficient. 
> Unfortunately, a server replication has been denied this spring :(

I wouldn't say it has been "denied". It is just not being worked on, 
with other things of higher priority to do. (Which may or may not be OSM 
things - don't forget we're talking individuals with a live besides OSM.)

It would be very helpful to set up a budget: Firstly, identify what we 
want most, then put a price tag to it, then go fundraising. This would 
also create the feeling that if the price tag is met, the stuff is going 
to be bought and set up.

But who's going to set up such a budget? Who is in a position to 
identify what we want most? And if the community decides on anything it 
wants most, and someone raises the funds for it, who is to guarantee 
that the funds are really put to the desired use? The number of people 
who can actually buy hardware, physically access our server space, 
install new machines there, and make changes to the software to actually 
use the new hardware, is limited. Which is good for the poor people at 
UCL ;-)

So we would have to identify what we want, then put a price tag to it 
*and* secure agreement from the limited few who have the required access 
rights that they are willing and able to transform any funds collected 
into that what we want, then collect funds.

Which, of course, creates a much more rigid environment than we 
currently have, with plans to set up and to follow. Something akin to 
the environment many of us have at work. And who in their right minds 
would want to extend that to his spare time?

So, to conclude this post: I'm currently in favour of just getting on 
with it. I have no desire to increase rigidity and complexity in the 
project; I have many issues with it but it currently "works for me" and 
if it stops doing that then I'd be tempted to do something else ;-) And 
I've never perceived nationality to be an issue in this project. In fact 
I'd probably find it less cool if it were run by Germans.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'

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