Membership Rules

From OSGeo
Revision as of 12:37, 3 March 2006 by Mpg (talk | contribs) (more content)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


This is an early draft, not yet ready for wide discussion. It is only a starting point for discussion; OSGeo and its board do not yet have an official position on these issues.

To avoid ambiguity, we will use the following conventions in this document. We will use the term "member" (in lowercase) to denote any member of the Foundation, of any membership class. When referring to members of a specific class, we will use the mebership class name in capitalized form, e.g. "Associate Member".

Membership Classes, in Brief

There are four "classes" of membership in the Foundation for individuals, plus a fifth "nonmember" class used to make the descriptions clearer.

  • Non-Member
    • anyone can be a non-member
    • has the right to use the site, contribute to projects, join committees, subscribe to mailing lists, etc
    • no voting rights
  • Associate Member (also known as "Supporter" or "Friend")
    • same as Non-Member, except:
    • no nomination required to be this type of member; opt-in simply by signing up on website?
    • has the right to nominate new Voting Members
    • has the right to nominate Board members
    • no voting rights
    • right to use the "OSGeo Supporter" logo
  • Voting Member
    • same as Associate Member, except:
    • nomination required; voted on by Voting Members
    • has the right to vote for new Voting Members
    • has the right to vote for new Board members
    • has right to use the "OSGeo Member" logo
  • Emeritus Member
    • a Member who is no longer active may be moved to Emeritus status by the board
    • has the same rights as Associate Member (need to review Apache policy on this)
  • Honorary Member'
    • the board may nominate worthy individuals form outside the Foundation to be an Honary Member
    • this could be used for keynoters at OSGeo conferences, as a means for recognizing historical personages, possible fund-raising and PR angle, etc
    • has the same rights as Associate Member


These four classes of members are individuals, not corporations or other organizations. A member may choose to have their entry in the membership roster list one or more "affiliations" as an indication that the member may at times be representing the opinions and needs of his or her employer, etc. However, such an affiliated organization has no rights or responsibilities within the Foundation.

Note that, perhaps surprisingly, Board membership is handled separately from these four classes of membership. Specifically, one need not be a Foundation member of any type to be nominated and elected to the Board, although this would certainyl be unusual.

The Foundation will maintain on its website a roster of all members.

General Membership Rights

Corporate Membership for Organizations

This discussion page is about individuals who are members: there is a sepatate type of membership for organizations. This topic will be discussed elsewhere at a later date, but here are some initial thoughts:

  • organizations (corporations, governmental bodies, non-profits, NGOs, etc) may wish to associate themselves with the Foundation as Sponsors
  • such Sponsors will nominated and elected by Voting Members, in a process similar to choosing Voting Members)
  • Sponsor membership may have an associated fee, presumably weighted by organization size (NGOs excluded); no voting rights
  • Sponsors get the right to attend special "roundtable" events, e.g. private meeting at the yearly conference with key Foundation individuals
  • Sponssors get the right to use the "OSGeo Sponsor" logo

Note specifically that Sponsors get no voting rights. Correspondingly, an individual affiliated with a Sponsor organization may be a Voting Member.

Question: does it make sense to call an NGO or non-profit a "Sponsor"?

General Member Responsibilities

As a member of the Foundation, you have the following responsibilities:

  • promote the goals of the foundation
  • act in a professional and responsible manner
  • ...

General Member Rights

As a member of the Foundation, you may have the following rights (which may vary depending on membership level):

  • You may exercise your right to vote on Foundation matters, e.g. Board elections
  • You may exercise your right to nominate new members
  • You may choose to resign from the Foundation at any time.
  • ...

Recall that in general you need not be a Foundation member to participate in Foundation activities, e.g. to contribute code.

New Member Nominations

procedure for nominating and electing new members; nominees must opt-in; ...?

Formal State Diagram

show the different indidivual membership classes, and possible state transitions between them

Member Change and Revocation

If the Board deems that a Voting Member is no longer "active" or "participating" in Foundation activities, they may by majority vote change the member's status from Voting Member to Emeritus Member.

If the Board deems that any member is not acting in the best interests of the Foundation, e.g. by not adhering to the Membership Responsinbilites, they may by majority revoke the membership of that member.

Criteria for Member Nominations

The following suggested membership selection criteria were taken verbtim from what was used in selecting the second tranche; seems pretty complete to me:

  • The person should have made a contribution to open source geospatial software already.
  • The person should be willing to put in time and effort on the foundation, perhaps joining committee(s), or volunteering in some other way that gets the foundation going.
  • Members should believe in the general goals of the foundation. To support and promote the use of open source geospatial software in a collaborative manner (my words).
  • Members selected should provide a diversity of geographic representation in the foundation.
  • Members selected should provide representation of a diversity of projects. For instance, we have a strong desire to see the "java tribe" well represented in the foundation. We don't want the membership dominated by folks from just one project.
  • Members selected should provide representation of a diversity of interests (eg. corporate, hobbyist, educational, scientific).
  • Members should be prepared to works constructively and positively towards the goals of the foundation. Good teamwork skills are an asset.


(although this sounds like legal boilerplate, but I'm including not for any legal reason -- I'm including it because I think it is a good thing to say out loud, esp. in an internatial group like this)

The Foundation is open to all members of the geospatial community. We do not discrimite based on age, gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.


  • Can the employer of a Voting Member use the OSGeo logo on their webpage? Or must they be a corporate sponsor?
  • address discussion raised a couple weeks ago about corporate interest after member leaves; Frank's reply