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
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,
> * 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
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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