OSGeo Conference Policy

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This is a draft page. It was decided during the Thirty Seventh Board Meeting (6 June 2008) to request the Conference Committee to propose a draft to the board.

Relevance to Mission and Goals

One of OSGeo's organisational Goals is To operate an annual OSGeo Conference, possibly in cooperation with related efforts.

FOSS4G happens somewhere in the world once a year. In some places Free and Open Source GIS conferences and conference tracks are organised independently by local user groups or related organisations.

FOSS4G Conferences

Defined as "meeting of the tribes" with low fee workshops and relatively low fee conference. Also defined as the major outward facing event for reaching out to new users, new organisations and companies interested in FOSS4G software.

TBD:

  • keep as-is or make more money through higher priced workshops? See "Notes" below.

Higher priced (define!) workshops could allow for either:

  • maximising profitability of the conference to support more of OSGeo's running expenses or to expand its program. In addition this could allow instructors to be compensated better for their efforts.
  • lowering entrance fee or subsidising entry for students or for attendees from economically disadvantaged areas

See:

Location

A North American or European venue may enable OSGeo to charge more, and may enable more developers to attend.

"OSGeo Teach-in" events

  • New workshop scheme proposed by some board member(s)/charter member(s) as commercial event with relatively high fee
  • TBD:
    • Is a new "OSGeo Teach-in" committee needed to process such external requests (committee reports to board then)?
    • how is the OSGeo brand used (see title). Financial return to OSGeo?
    • who handles event: OSGeo itself or 3rd party
    • how avoid conflict of interest if a board member participates and receives financial compensation
    • how to avoid tensions in the community: will commercial "OSGeo Teach-in" events jeopardize voluntary efforts?
    • what is the processing of such external request (be from OSGeo members, be from external people)? Board approval needed, Marketing team approval needed?

Partnership and Profit

If OSGeo were to commercialize as opposed to supporting commercial activities -- this spirit of partnership would be jeopardized.

In the "vanilla" FOSS4G model, OSGeo places the deposit and assumes full financial risk. FOSS4G events hire local (commercial) conference organising companies to help deliver the event.

In the "hybrid" model such as that pursued with GISSA, OSGeo partners with another (not-for-profit) organisation and splits both the risk and the chance to direct any proceeds.

In a "commercial" model OSGeo could enter into an agreement with a for-profit company to assume the risk but in return take a significant share of any profits. This is somewhat already happening by hiring 3rd parties to help organise venues, etc.

Conflict of Interest policy

Conference Committee

Notes

Policy suggestions in a nutshell: (from DaveP)

A) Guided by the Foundation's goal "To ensure a high degree of quality in foundation projects in order to build and preserve the foundation 'brand'", the Foundation will not lend it's name or 'brand' to third-party products or events. OSGeo local chapters are considered part of the Foundation.

B) Guided by the Foundation's goal "To operate an annual OSGeo Conference, possibly in cooperation with related efforts", the Foundation may from time to time operate 'OSGeo events', and such events may make use of third-party individuals and/or companies to assist OSGeo in the organization and delivery of such events.

C) Official OSGeo Conference Policy