Thoughts

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Thoughts

pcav
Hi all,
I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
picture of where the project is heading.
One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
and thing in a bigger perspective.
Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
for you.
Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
* the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
this would be very difficult
* the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
people are paid for providing services.
To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
and priorities).
We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
two components.
I have two aims writing this:
* raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
the community
* reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
happy at least in average.
I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
Sorry for being long.
All best wishes.
--
Paolo Cavallini - www.faunalia.eu
QGIS.ORG Chair:
http://planet.qgis.org/planet/user/28/tag/qgis%20board/
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Re: Thoughts

Anita Graser
Thank you for the thoughtful email, Paolo!

On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 7:44 AM Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]> wrote:
Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
* the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools ... 
* the shift from a volunteer-only association ... 
To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems ... 
We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
might genuinely be unavoidable ...

I don't think we're the only ones in this situation but I'm having a hard time identifying projects with a comparable community structure. 
 
We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
dependent on the volunteer work ...

One could say that we are in a lucky/luxurious position to have these problems. At FOSSGIS in Dresden, OSM community members kept asking what's the secret sauce to attract companies to invest in an open source project.

I have two aims writing this:
* raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
the community

I understand the romantic notion of volunteer-driven work, on the other hand, I'm very aware that this perspective excludes people who - for whatever reason - cannot afford to volunteer their time (even if they may be very enthusiastic about the project). Therefore, having people get paid for their work may also help towards increased diversity. 
 
* reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
happy at least in average.

Thanks for the pointer! I particularly like #4 "Our priorities are our users and free software We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software community." (https://www.debian.org/social_contract)
 
I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.

+1

Anita


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Re: Thoughts

Andreas Neumann-3


On Wed, 27 Mar 2019 at 21:01, Anita Graser <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you for the thoughtful email, Paolo!

On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 7:44 AM Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]> wrote:
Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
* the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools ... 
* the shift from a volunteer-only association ... 
To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems ... 
We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
might genuinely be unavoidable ...

I don't think we're the only ones in this situation but I'm having a hard time identifying projects with a comparable community structure. 
 

It is probably not comparable - but the PostgreSQL community manages to thrive in a shared commercial, but sticking to open source values, community. Most of the work done in PostgreSQL is paid work (probably close to 99%). But the companies involved share their responsibility for the project and work in a friendly environment where they respect each other and collaborate.

EnterpriseDB and 2ndQuadrant, and other smaller companies have offices around the globe, hundreds or thousands of employees and customers (top customers like you can see f.e. at https://www.enterprisedb.com/about-us or https://www.2ndquadrant.com/en/postgresql/who-uses-postgresql/ and https://www.2ndquadrant.com/en/case-studies/ )

Note that I don't talk about Postgis, which is unfortunately, often notoriously underfunded.

I think that the PostgreSQL community could serve as  a future role model for QGIS. Not that I think that we will ever be as big or relevant as PostgreSQL - but perhaps we can learn a bit from them how they manage to balance commercial interests vs. a shared vision of an open project and community.

I talked to Bruce Momjian last year (a PostgreSQL evangelist and EnterpriseDB employee). I think he would have some interesting ideas and experiences to share from his decade-long involvement with the PostgreSQL community.

Should we try to reach out to other successful Open Source projects and perhaps find out how they deal with such problems that arise within our community?

Greetings,
Andreas
 
--

--
Andreas Neumann
QGIS.ORG board member (treasurer)

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Re: Thoughts

Régis Haubourg -2

Hi,

Thanks Paolo for sharing those thoughts, I think you are perfectly right to raise this topic and we indeed are in a moment where this needs to be discussed.

I share your view that most of us are now in commercial companies offering services around QGIS ecosystem, and probably it is true that in some cases, this leads to having less time to contribute back sometimes.

I'll share the situation here in France from my point of view. Up to now, very very few customers have been funding QGIS contribution. I can tell, because I was one of the very few funders (maximum 4 persons probably). Two of us quit, and we fail into that situation where France probably as higher user / population ratio in the world, which makes me somewhat revolt and puzzled. I even see customers OK with using open source, but refusing "to pay for the others" (yes). Users are expecting a lot (macOs packages, reliability, documentation, etc..) but giving almost nothing lead to this very moment.

So in my understanding of the situation, our main challenge is to structure a power-user/funder/influencer ecosystem that rely on much more numerous people. This will generate economic activity and progressively lead us to a situation close to PostgreSQL ecosystem. I'm very confident that the QGIS involved companies can work in a friendly environment and respect each other in that scenario.  At Oslandia, we are working closely with Dalibo - a postgreSQL expert company- and they get m any users coming from the geospatial world. QGIS lead to postGIS, postGIS to postgreSQL... They manage contributed back money to PostGIS work this year. So +1 with Andreas, let's get closer with our elephant friend.

What differs in our economic model, is that Databases are the foundations of an information system. Companies accept to pay for support contract because they can't afford to be left alone. The more criticity, the more money they are ready to give. How do we get to a similar criticity situation for QGIS desktop? I think QGIS server is one way to go here, it is the reason why big companies get into serious and critical apps with QGIS. 

I must also point out that this is not only a QGIS situation, the whole OSGeo ecosystem is sharing this. My conclusion for the French situation is that we need to work upstream, so I got involved into the French Local Chapter of Osgeo, which hosts the QGIS user group, and our roadmap follows the path open by Andreas and the swiss user group. We need to switch from a benevolent base to a professional network there, and help customers know each other, share good practices, budgets, emulate, and give prooves of seriousness to their hierarchy. That doesn't prevent form taking fun however !

Best regards, and let's keep inclusive, open minded and forward thinking as always! This is why I love this community :)

Régis


Le 28/03/2019 à 08:36, Andreas Neumann a écrit :

perpelexed
On Wed, 27 Mar 2019 at 21:01, Anita Graser <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you for the thoughtful email, Paolo!

On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 7:44 AM Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]> wrote:
Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
* the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools ... 
* the shift from a volunteer-only association ... 
To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems ... 
We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
might genuinely be unavoidable ...

I don't think we're the only ones in this situation but I'm having a hard time identifying projects with a comparable community structure. 
 

It is probably not comparable - but the PostgreSQL community manages to thrive in a shared commercial, but sticking to open source values, community. Most of the work done in PostgreSQL is paid work (probably close to 99%). But the companies involved share their responsibility for the project and work in a friendly environment where they respect each other and collaborate.

EnterpriseDB and 2ndQuadrant, and other smaller companies have offices around the globe, hundreds or thousands of employees and customers (top customers like you can see f.e. at https://www.enterprisedb.com/about-us or https://www.2ndquadrant.com/en/postgresql/who-uses-postgresql/ and https://www.2ndquadrant.com/en/case-studies/ )

Note that I don't talk about Postgis, which is unfortunately, often notoriously underfunded.

I think that the PostgreSQL community could serve as  a future role model for QGIS. Not that I think that we will ever be as big or relevant as PostgreSQL - but perhaps we can learn a bit from them how they manage to balance commercial interests vs. a shared vision of an open project and community.

I talked to Bruce Momjian last year (a PostgreSQL evangelist and EnterpriseDB employee). I think he would have some interesting ideas and experiences to share from his decade-long involvement with the PostgreSQL community.

Should we try to reach out to other successful Open Source projects and perhaps find out how they deal with such problems that arise within our community?

Greetings,
Andreas
 
--

--
Andreas Neumann
QGIS.ORG board member (treasurer)

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mail: [hidden email] 
tél: 0033 184 257 870
---------------------------------
http://oslandia.com/

OSLANDIA IS AN INNOVATIVE COMPANY SPECIALIZED IN GIS ARCHITECTURE. WE
PROVIDE SERVICE ON OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE FOR WHICH WE ARE EDITORS OR
RECOGNIZED EXPERTS.

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Re: Thoughts

jmckenna
Administrator
In reply to this post by pcav
Thank you for these open thoughts Paolo.  I have personally just printed
out your words here, and will review them thoroughly.  Thank you for
taking the time to share your thoughts here.  -jeff



On 2019-03-27 3:44 AM, Paolo Cavallini wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
> raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
> picture of where the project is heading.
> One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
> diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
> from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
> the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
> As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
> because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
> are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
> and thing in a bigger perspective.
> Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
> interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
> for you.
> Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
> * the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
> services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
> this would be very difficult
> * the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
> interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
> people are paid for providing services.
> To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
> happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
> project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
> and priorities).
> We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
> might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
> overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
> the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
> What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
> is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
> community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
> decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
> how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
> by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
> We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
> are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
> development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
> dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
> organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
> the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
> personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
> two components.
> I have two aims writing this:
> * raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
> understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
> the community
> * reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
> contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
> happy at least in average.
> I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
> discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
> Sorry for being long.
> All best wishes.
>


--
Jeff McKenna
MapServer Consulting and Training Services
https://gatewaygeomatics.com/
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Re: Thoughts

DelazJ
Hi,

Thanks Paolo for raising this topic, that somehow was underlying in some other discussions. And thanks to make me discover the Debian Contract; while the rules seem self-evident to me today, i guess it was good for them to have expressed it (though I don't think we have the same "issue") .

Régis, maybe did I misread you (though I read your message more than once) but am I wrong that the "community" you envision is all about people or companies that can pay or get paid for a feature/fix?

I always (maybe naively) thought that QGIS was part of a bigger picture, a way to contribute to a better and more equitable world. Coming from "South", I know what this kind of tools can change. And Yes, this is what I use to reply to friends and family that wonder why I was spending nights and week-ends on things I'm not paid for nor are at the core of my daily work. Now, if I'm wrong and this is not (or no longer) the case, and that we no longer have users but customers indeed it'd be good to know (Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum). I could then look for a company that cares about QGIS-Documentation (to mention an area I know) and then I'd be able to invoice (partially, I swear!) my contributions to payers. That said, not many of the companies involved in QGIS development have been writing docs these last years afaics.
Don't get me wrong, I'm OK with the idea that QGIS is (part of) livelihood for some and I appreciate many of the features that arose thanks to these contracts but... if it should be all about that, If we don't have a bigger picture of what QGIS is, what our community is or needs to be...

my (dreamer) 2cts,
Harrissou

Le jeu. 28 mars 2019 à 17:02, Jeff McKenna <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Thank you for these open thoughts Paolo.  I have personally just printed
out your words here, and will review them thoroughly.  Thank you for
taking the time to share your thoughts here.  -jeff



On 2019-03-27 3:44 AM, Paolo Cavallini wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
> raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
> picture of where the project is heading.
> One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
> diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
> from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
> the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
> As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
> because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
> are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
> and thing in a bigger perspective.
> Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
> interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
> for you.
> Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
> * the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
> services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
> this would be very difficult
> * the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
> interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
> people are paid for providing services.
> To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
> happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
> project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
> and priorities).
> We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
> might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
> overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
> the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
> What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
> is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
> community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
> decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
> how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
> by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
> We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
> are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
> development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
> dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
> organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
> the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
> personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
> two components.
> I have two aims writing this:
> * raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
> understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
> the community
> * reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
> contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
> happy at least in average.
> I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
> discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
> Sorry for being long.
> All best wishes.
>


--
Jeff McKenna
MapServer Consulting and Training Services
https://gatewaygeomatics.com/
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Re: Thoughts

Régis Haubourg -2


Le 28/03/2019 à 17:44, DelazJ a écrit :
Hi,

Thanks Paolo for raising this topic, that somehow was underlying in some other discussions. And thanks to make me discover the Debian Contract; while the rules seem self-evident to me today, i guess it was good for them to have expressed it (though I don't think we have the same "issue") .

Régis, maybe did I misread you (though I read your message more than once) but am I wrong that the "community" you envision is all about people or companies that can pay or get paid for a feature/fix?

Hi Harrissou,

don't overinterpret my words here. Currently, our french QGIS user group is only for individual persons. Opening it to public entities or private companies will not exclude individuals at all. I must say, it just will reinforce a very very small group.

I always (maybe naively) thought that QGIS was part of a bigger picture, a way to contribute to a better and more equitable world.
Why naively? I think those who decided to board into QGIS professional activities took great risks to make the same ideal alive. I fail to see your point here.
Coming from "South", I know what this kind of tools can change. And Yes, this is what I use to reply to friends and family that wonder why I was spending nights and week-ends on things I'm not paid for nor are at the core of my daily work.
Having worked in most remote areas of the world, I do too.
Now, if I'm wrong and this is not (or no longer) the case, and that we no longer have users but customers indeed it'd be good to know (Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum).

I used the term customers from my employer's perspective. Please don't be picky here. I have been a public funder for years, I still am also a citizen involved in open source on my spare time (if I still have some), and I work for a private company, which "tries" to find a viable economic model for open source. We all need each other here. I don't think all those roles are incompatible in the open source world (we don't sell license, we don't lock you in)

I could then look for a company that cares about QGIS-Documentation (to mention an area I know) and then I'd be able to invoice (partially, I swear!) my contributions to payers. That said, not many of the companies involved in QGIS development have been writing docs these last years afaics.

I don't follow you here, can you explain here? I was on the idea that the documentation grants didn't find candidates last year.

Do we need to include documentation in our contracts? I think yes we must include progressively these costs in contracts. We already do it at Oslandia, and sometimes, we are told to be too much expensive.

This is exactly Paolo's point. We have a very large user base, too small budgets, and lot's of energy pushed by unpaid contributors. How to scale up? How to keep a sustainable development? How to avoid "open source burn out" for contributors?  How to conceal real costs handling and community based contributions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm OK with the idea that QGIS is (part of) livelihood for some and I appreciate many of the features that arose thanks to these contracts but... if it should be all about that, If we don't have a bigger picture of what QGIS is, what our community is or needs to be...

A great project and community for which I quit a comfortable carrier. I love this, still we have growth challenges to address. We all get older, we have kids, we must get new contributors in. And my point is that institutions and private companies MUST also contribute in some way. Nothing more.



my (dreamer) 2cts,
Harrissou
-- 
Open Source GIS Expert / Water management 

mail: [hidden email] 
tél: 0033 184 257 870
---------------------------------
http://oslandia.com/

OSLANDIA IS AN INNOVATIVE COMPANY SPECIALIZED IN GIS ARCHITECTURE. WE
PROVIDE SERVICE ON OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE FOR WHICH WE ARE EDITORS OR
RECOGNIZED EXPERTS.

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Re: Thoughts

Nyall Dawson
In reply to this post by pcav
(oops - did a  rookie mistake and only sent my reply to Paolo! sorry!)

Ok, here's my 2c: <to be read in a thoughtful, debating voice, not an
angry one!>

I think this supposed division between volunteer vs paid community is
not at all reflective of reality, and if anything, veers dangerously
close to insulting the hard working developers in our community.
Here's why: I don't know of a single QGIS developer whose only
contributions to the project are paid ones. Without exception, every
developer who is being paid to work on QGIS is also contributing HUGE
amounts of volunteer time to the project (in code, PR reviews, bug
triaging, documentation, etc). From my experience, even among those
who are employed full time to work on QGIS and QGIS related stuff, the
ratio of individual paid:volunteer work has got to be (conservatively)
something like 1:3. Sometimes I suspect this ratio creeps up to closer
to 1:6.

Think about that number. For every hour of paid work our developers
are doing for the project, they're contributing about 3 hours of
volunteer development (or non-development) time. (** based on my
experience. If anyone disagrees, speak up). I personally do not
believe that there's a single "leech" within the active QGIS community
whose only contributions are paid ones.

There is still a HUGE amount of volunteer development done on QGIS.
Let's take QGIS 3.0 for example. The port from Qt4 - Qt5 was 1000's
hours of tedious, boring work. Was anyone paid directly for this? I'm
not aware of anyone. Who did the bulk of the work? A handful of
developers who are staff employed by QGIS support development
companies (or self-employed in these companies). Python 3? Same story.

Paid work on QGIS is the ONLY thing which enables developers to donate
the massive amounts of time required to keep the code alive and
healthy.

Here's the other point I want to raise: for better or worse, money is
society's way of getting people to do jobs they wouldn't otherwise do.
QGIS isn't exempt from this, and if there's work which needs doing,
but no-one wants to do it voluntarily.... money is the answer.

For example: I'm currently being sponsored by the ICSM to upgrade
QGIS' projection support to proj v6, and fix a bunch of related
shortcomings in QGIS. This isn't fun work. I wouldn't be doing it on
the weekend. I wouldn't donate my time to do this. If I wasn't being
paid, I'd be sitting back and waiting for someone else to do this
difficult task. But I'm being paid, so it's getting done. That's a win
for all of us.

Now, for a long time our MacOS users have been wanting a better QGIS
experience. The existing installation methods worked OK for a time,
but things changed in the MacOS operating system, and people's
expectations of a QGIS MacOS installer have changed as a result. This
isn't a new issue - It's been at least 2 or more years where I've been
seeing substantial user angst from that part of our community and
demand/requests for a modern installer. Unfortunately, this didn't
happen. No one volunteered to fix the situation. No one was interested
in donating their time to build a new installer. So to me - this is
EXACTLY what the QGIS sponsorship funds should be made available for.
Boring, tedious work which our users want or need, and which no-one
has stepped up to do as volunteer.

So back to Paolo's original question: I don't think this situation is
something the project or it's leadership can control. QGIS has shifted
from a hobby project to a serious professional organisation, and
that's entirely been driven by the demands and needs of our users. We
shouldn't fight this or try to hold too tightly to how things were in
the past, because again, it's not something we CAN control. What we
can/must do is guide the QGIS community through these periods of
transition, and adapt the project structure and community to the
external environment we exist in and the constraints it places on the
community.

There's one last thing I want to add. There's many reasons to
contribute to an open source community like QGIS. Having fun,
contributing to something greater which benefits humanity and our
planet, interesting mental stimulation (and, on a good day, getting
paid!). There's also one motivation which makes me nervous, and that's
contributing for the desire for kudos or personal validation. I think
that contributing for the goal of receiving recognition or acclaim is
linked to an unhealthy feeling of "ownership" over contributions.
That's a dangerous path -- because it's the nature of our game that
every line of code (or other stuff) contributed to the project will
eventually be ripped up and replaced by someone else in future! If we
become too attached to individual contributions we've personally made,
then it can be incredibly hurtful when this happens to those
contributions.

Instead I think the healthy mental state to have is to be continually
reminded that we are ALL "standing on the shoulders of giants". Every
contribution to the QGIS community, regardless of how large or small,
and regardless of whether someone comes along and redoes all your work
a day later, has helped shape future contributions and increased the
"height" we all stand at! If someone comes along and rewrites a bit of
code making it 100x faster, that's no reflection on the original
contributor's code -- because without that existing code, it's quite
likely there wouldn't be anything for the new contributor to improve
upon!

So, personally, I'd like to see us all take a step back whenever we
are taking too much ownership on individual contributions and instead
seek motivation and gratification at the quality of the end product,
and take ownership and pride in QGIS as a whole (both the software and
the community) instead.

Because boy, this whole community has a lot to be f***ing proud of! ;)

On Wed, 27 Mar 2019 at 16:44, Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi all,
> I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
> raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
> picture of where the project is heading.
> One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
> diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
> from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
> the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
> As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
> because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
> are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
> and thing in a bigger perspective.
> Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
> interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
> for you.
> Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
> * the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
> services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
> this would be very difficult
> * the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
> interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
> people are paid for providing services.
> To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
> happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
> project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
> and priorities).
> We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
> might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
> overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
> the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
> What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
> is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
> community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
> decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
> how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
> by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
> We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
> are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
> development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
> dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
> organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
> the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
> personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
> two components.
> I have two aims writing this:
> * raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
> understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
> the community
> * reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
> contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
> happy at least in average.
> I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
> discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
> Sorry for being long.
> All best wishes.
> --
> Paolo Cavallini - www.faunalia.eu
> QGIS.ORG Chair:
> http://planet.qgis.org/planet/user/28/tag/qgis%20board/
> _______________________________________________
> Qgis-psc mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/qgis-psc
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Re: Thoughts

Andreas Neumann-4
Hi Nyall,

Thanks for your thoughts. This is also my impression.

I can second that. For every paid hour that someone works on QGIS
(ideally 100% of work time), we get a lot of additional unpaid hours
back for the project.

Without that possibility to work focused on some bug fixing or
improvement, without having to worry if I have butter on my bread the
next day, people wouldn't work on the hard things in QGIS.

The result is, that QGIS improves more quickly than with voluntary work
only.

Even if some people feel uncomfortable with the fact, that some work on
QGIS is paid for (btw: I think it has been like this already for many
years in the past, so I don't think there is anything new in this
respect), I think that the paid work does a lot more blessing to the
project than what it potentially is harming the community.

Greetings,

Andreas

Am 31.03.19 um 10:49 schrieb Nyall Dawson:

> (oops - did a  rookie mistake and only sent my reply to Paolo! sorry!)
>
> Ok, here's my 2c: <to be read in a thoughtful, debating voice, not an
> angry one!>
>
> I think this supposed division between volunteer vs paid community is
> not at all reflective of reality, and if anything, veers dangerously
> close to insulting the hard working developers in our community.
> Here's why: I don't know of a single QGIS developer whose only
> contributions to the project are paid ones. Without exception, every
> developer who is being paid to work on QGIS is also contributing HUGE
> amounts of volunteer time to the project (in code, PR reviews, bug
> triaging, documentation, etc). From my experience, even among those
> who are employed full time to work on QGIS and QGIS related stuff, the
> ratio of individual paid:volunteer work has got to be (conservatively)
> something like 1:3. Sometimes I suspect this ratio creeps up to closer
> to 1:6.
>
> Think about that number. For every hour of paid work our developers
> are doing for the project, they're contributing about 3 hours of
> volunteer development (or non-development) time. (** based on my
> experience. If anyone disagrees, speak up). I personally do not
> believe that there's a single "leech" within the active QGIS community
> whose only contributions are paid ones.
>
> There is still a HUGE amount of volunteer development done on QGIS.
> Let's take QGIS 3.0 for example. The port from Qt4 - Qt5 was 1000's
> hours of tedious, boring work. Was anyone paid directly for this? I'm
> not aware of anyone. Who did the bulk of the work? A handful of
> developers who are staff employed by QGIS support development
> companies (or self-employed in these companies). Python 3? Same story.
>
> Paid work on QGIS is the ONLY thing which enables developers to donate
> the massive amounts of time required to keep the code alive and
> healthy.
>
> Here's the other point I want to raise: for better or worse, money is
> society's way of getting people to do jobs they wouldn't otherwise do.
> QGIS isn't exempt from this, and if there's work which needs doing,
> but no-one wants to do it voluntarily.... money is the answer.
>
> For example: I'm currently being sponsored by the ICSM to upgrade
> QGIS' projection support to proj v6, and fix a bunch of related
> shortcomings in QGIS. This isn't fun work. I wouldn't be doing it on
> the weekend. I wouldn't donate my time to do this. If I wasn't being
> paid, I'd be sitting back and waiting for someone else to do this
> difficult task. But I'm being paid, so it's getting done. That's a win
> for all of us.
>
> Now, for a long time our MacOS users have been wanting a better QGIS
> experience. The existing installation methods worked OK for a time,
> but things changed in the MacOS operating system, and people's
> expectations of a QGIS MacOS installer have changed as a result. This
> isn't a new issue - It's been at least 2 or more years where I've been
> seeing substantial user angst from that part of our community and
> demand/requests for a modern installer. Unfortunately, this didn't
> happen. No one volunteered to fix the situation. No one was interested
> in donating their time to build a new installer. So to me - this is
> EXACTLY what the QGIS sponsorship funds should be made available for.
> Boring, tedious work which our users want or need, and which no-one
> has stepped up to do as volunteer.
>
> So back to Paolo's original question: I don't think this situation is
> something the project or it's leadership can control. QGIS has shifted
> from a hobby project to a serious professional organisation, and
> that's entirely been driven by the demands and needs of our users. We
> shouldn't fight this or try to hold too tightly to how things were in
> the past, because again, it's not something we CAN control. What we
> can/must do is guide the QGIS community through these periods of
> transition, and adapt the project structure and community to the
> external environment we exist in and the constraints it places on the
> community.
>
> There's one last thing I want to add. There's many reasons to
> contribute to an open source community like QGIS. Having fun,
> contributing to something greater which benefits humanity and our
> planet, interesting mental stimulation (and, on a good day, getting
> paid!). There's also one motivation which makes me nervous, and that's
> contributing for the desire for kudos or personal validation. I think
> that contributing for the goal of receiving recognition or acclaim is
> linked to an unhealthy feeling of "ownership" over contributions.
> That's a dangerous path -- because it's the nature of our game that
> every line of code (or other stuff) contributed to the project will
> eventually be ripped up and replaced by someone else in future! If we
> become too attached to individual contributions we've personally made,
> then it can be incredibly hurtful when this happens to those
> contributions.
>
> Instead I think the healthy mental state to have is to be continually
> reminded that we are ALL "standing on the shoulders of giants". Every
> contribution to the QGIS community, regardless of how large or small,
> and regardless of whether someone comes along and redoes all your work
> a day later, has helped shape future contributions and increased the
> "height" we all stand at! If someone comes along and rewrites a bit of
> code making it 100x faster, that's no reflection on the original
> contributor's code -- because without that existing code, it's quite
> likely there wouldn't be anything for the new contributor to improve
> upon!
>
> So, personally, I'd like to see us all take a step back whenever we
> are taking too much ownership on individual contributions and instead
> seek motivation and gratification at the quality of the end product,
> and take ownership and pride in QGIS as a whole (both the software and
> the community) instead.
>
> Because boy, this whole community has a lot to be f***ing proud of! ;)
>
> On Wed, 27 Mar 2019 at 16:44, Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
>> raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
>> picture of where the project is heading.
>> One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
>> diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
>> from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
>> the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
>> As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
>> because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
>> are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
>> and thing in a bigger perspective.
>> Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
>> interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
>> for you.
>> Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
>> * the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
>> services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
>> this would be very difficult
>> * the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
>> interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
>> people are paid for providing services.
>> To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
>> happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
>> project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
>> and priorities).
>> We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
>> might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
>> overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
>> the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
>> What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
>> is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
>> community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
>> decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
>> how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
>> by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
>> We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
>> are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
>> development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
>> dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
>> organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
>> the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
>> personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
>> two components.
>> I have two aims writing this:
>> * raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
>> understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
>> the community
>> * reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
>> contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
>> happy at least in average.
>> I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
>> discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
>> Sorry for being long.
>> All best wishes.
>> --
>> Paolo Cavallini - www.faunalia.eu
>> QGIS.ORG Chair:
>> http://planet.qgis.org/planet/user/28/tag/qgis%20board/
>> _______________________________________________
>> Qgis-psc mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/qgis-psc
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/qgis-psc
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Re: Thoughts

Tim Sutton-6
In reply to this post by Nyall Dawson
Hi


Instead I think the healthy mental state to have is to be continually
reminded that we are ALL "standing on the shoulders of giants". Every
contribution to the QGIS community, regardless of how large or small,
and regardless of whether someone comes along and redoes all your work
a day later, has helped shape future contributions and increased the
"height" we all stand at! If someone comes along and rewrites a bit of
code making it 100x faster, that's no reflection on the original
contributor's code -- because without that existing code, it's quite
likely there wouldn't be anything for the new contributor to improve
upon!


Speaking as one of those who has probably had 90% of their code ripped and replaced by better code, I can only agree - its always nice to see people jumping in to make things better and cleaning out the cobwebs :-) Thanks for the rest of your thoughts, I think they provide a good perspective, which I agree with.

Regards

Tim

 




---

Tim Sutton





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Re: Thoughts

Richard Duivenvoorde
In reply to this post by Nyall Dawson
On 31/03/2019 10.49, Nyall Dawson wrote:

> paid!). There's also one motivation which makes me nervous, and that's
> contributing for the desire for kudos or personal validation. I think
> that contributing for the goal of receiving recognition or acclaim is
> linked to an unhealthy feeling of "ownership" over contributions.
> That's a dangerous path -- because it's the nature of our game that
> every line of code (or other stuff) contributed to the project will
> eventually be ripped up and replaced by someone else in future! If we
> become too attached to individual contributions we've personally made,
> then it can be incredibly hurtful when this happens to those
> contributions.
>
...
>
> So, personally, I'd like to see us all take a step back whenever we
> are taking too much ownership on individual contributions and instead
> seek motivation and gratification at the quality of the end product,
> and take ownership and pride in QGIS as a whole (both the software and
> the community) instead.
>
> Because boy, this whole community has a lot to be f***ing proud of! ;)
@Nyall, you mean *'hugging' proud of*  :-)
(see Linux Kernel discussions [0])

Thanks both Paolo and Nyall for your thoughts.

The 'community', both developers, and users and volunteers need each
other to keep being a nice community. We all should respect each others
actions, goals, values and reasons to contribute. But also try to keep
the community together as a whole. Volunteers/users profit from the paid
developers work, the other way around the paid developers profit (and
CAN make money) with all the work done by earlier contributors.

But I think we need to address the fact that we started as a 100%
volunteer organisation and now move to a (volunteer) organisation 'with
money'.... In my vision we (as QGIS community) should NOT try to
work/think like an enterprise. It is not clear to me how to mix these
two though, but maybe I'm old fashioned.

"Step back" could be ok, but I'm with Paolo that we have to do
something, else I am afraid the 'volunteers' will stop doing their thing.

We could try to write down some kind of vision/values/whatever where all
of us try to adhere to? It should be short and clear, so whenever
tensions arises, it can be used to discuss?

Regards,

Richard Duivenvoorde

PS not sure what/who you have in mind with "the desire for kudos or
personal validation" but I think it as confronting as saying "people
introducing bugs to get paid to fix them". Let's respect each others
reasons to contribute, even if it is to get kudos.

[0] https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Kernel-Hugs


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Re: Thoughts

Nyall Dawson
On Mon, 1 Apr 2019 at 04:17, Richard Duivenvoorde <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> The 'community', both developers, and users and volunteers need each
> other to keep being a nice community. We all should respect each others
> actions, goals, values and reasons to contribute. But also try to keep
> the community together as a whole. Volunteers/users profit from the paid
> developers work, the other way around the paid developers profit (and
> CAN make money) with all the work done by earlier contributors.
>
> But I think we need to address the fact that we started as a 100%
> volunteer organisation and now move to a (volunteer) organisation 'with
> money'.... In my vision we (as QGIS community) should NOT try to
> work/think like an enterprise. It is not clear to me how to mix these
> two though, but maybe I'm old fashioned.

Yep, 100% agree. That's one big issue in the QGIS community now, how
to keep volunteers motivated and new contributors welcome in the
increasingly complex and time demanding environment which QGIS has (by
necessity) evolved into. That's also why we 100% need strong
non-core-developer, non-organisational-affiliated representation on
the steering committee.... so that with their viewpoints and guidance
the project can be "steered" effectively through this transition.
(again, I'd argue we cannot/should not block the changing environment,
that's not anything the project itself can control.).

> We could try to write down some kind of vision/values/whatever where all
> of us try to adhere to? It should be short and clear, so whenever
> tensions arises, it can be used to discuss?

Sounds like a good start! We do have the existing guidelines new core
developers agree to when they get given git commit rights, but we need
something which applies outside the core developer space too. (Those
guidelines also could do with a refresh anyway)

> PS not sure what/who you have in mind with "the desire for kudos or
> personal validation" but I think it as confronting as saying "people
> introducing bugs to get paid to fix them". Let's respect each others
> reasons to contribute, even if it is to get kudos.

Right, but I think you missed my argument there. My warning was
against strong personal attachment to individual contributions (which
I think can be a direct outcome of the kudos motivation). So yes,
often the desire for personal kudos is a good motivation, but I
strongly believe that attachment to the original form of contributions
is never a healthy thing. And for reference, I've come up with this
belief through many hours of personal soul-searching and
internal/external debate about what it takes to survive in this
open-source world without burn out. It's a conclusion based on my
personal struggles. I'll be the first to admit I've a giant plank in
my own eye here and have struggled with this in the past/present, and
it's a philosophy I continually need to remind myself about when I
start to get burnt out.

Nyall




>
> [0] https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Kernel-Hugs
>
>
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Re: Thoughts

pcav
In reply to this post by Andreas Neumann-4
Hi all,
first of all, thanks a lot for your thoughtful contributions. I think
this discussion is marking a significant improvement in our community,
and invite others to contribute to the discussion - I'm sure e will
appreciate and profit from even more thoughts.
I also apologize deeply if my words sounded insulting to anybody, and in
particular to developers - this is not what I meant, so let me try to
clarify. I as not opposing volunteer *individuals* to paid *individuals*
or companies: we all mix the two to some degree; I took this for granted
(sorry, probably I did not state it clearly enough).
My view: we need both paid work *and* volunteer work. We just cannot
afford, from a mere practical point of view, missing all the countless
hours of volunteer work. Even if and when this will be possible, I'm not
sure that missing this component will be a good thing for the project,
as Richard has nicely pointed out.
The importance of the huge and growing amount of paid work is so obvious
that I'm sure everybody is happy increasing it.
I'm pretty sure nobody is uncomfortable with people being paid for the
work in QGIS. What may cause discontent is seeing what can be perceived
as unfair treatment, with people getting different rewards for
essentially the same contribution. I think it is also our duty to
guarantee a fair treatment to all, or at least to smooth out differences
whenever possible.
My point is therefore not about control, but on positive actions to
increase personal satisfaction and rewards of all the various components
of the community. Our past actions towards enhancing neglected areas
were IMHO quite successful (think e.g. our Grant programme), and I'd
like to pursue them further.
Of course any positive action towards expanding our budget to be able to
cover more and more chores is of crucial importance in any case.
I think writing down our social contract, or vision/values/whatever as
Richard calls it, is the next step to transform this discussion into
something usable.
A few more specific replies:
* [Nyall]:
* [Anita]: yes, we are in a privileged situation - let's make the most
out of it
* [Andreas, Régis]: agreed, discussion with other projects will help; of
course every project has its own specific community and priorities (e.g.
PostgreSQL community is made mostly of IT professionals rather than end
users, and its BSD licence is much more liberal towards companies), but
we can get good advice from all of them; I agree PostgreSQL is a good
candidate, and I'll approach some key actor there; others may be suggested.
* [Anita, others]: glad you like the Debian social contract
(https://www.debian.org/social_contract); I believe it can be a good
starting point, obviously with lots of adaptations.
Let's keep on this interesting discussion.
All the best.

>> On Wed, 27 Mar 2019 at 16:44, Paolo Cavallini <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> I'm approaching my first year as Chair, I feel it's the time for me to
>>> raise the head from everyday tasks, and try to draw a more general
>>> picture of where the project is heading.
>>> One of the greatest strengths of our project is, in my view, the
>>> diversity of interests and approaches among us. Choices and trends come
>>> from the composition of all different priorities, without anyone taking
>>> the lead at thee disadvantage of others, and this give us much strength.
>>> As such, it is often difficult to understand where are we heading to,
>>> because of the lack of strong central decisions. As PSC member, I see we
>>> are usually busy dealing with day to day activities, and seldom we talk
>>> and thing in a bigger perspective.
>>> Nevertheless, changes do occur, and trends emerge. To me it is very
>>> interesting to put these into perspective, and I hope the same will be
>>> for you.
>>> Among these, I see two lines that are to me particularly evident:
>>> * the increasing number and importance of proprietary tools and
>>> services; in the good old days I think we used 100% free software; today
>>> this would be very difficult
>>> * the shift from a volunteer-only association, in which who is
>>> interested in something just does it, to a company-style group, where
>>> people are paid for providing services.
>>> To be very clear, as Chair I do not judge these as problems, and I'm
>>> happy whatever direction the community will take for the good of our
>>> project (of course, as everybody knows, I have my personal preferences
>>> and priorities).
>>> We are steadily growing stronger and bigger, and some of these changes
>>> might genuinely be unavoidable in the process, or it is just a shift in
>>> overall mentality and expectations. Whichever way, this may be good for
>>> the project, and I certainly do not oppose it a priori.
>>> What makes me uncomfortable though, and prompted me to write this note,
>>> is seeing these changes to creep in, probably unnoticed by many in the
>>> community, through a myriad of small, apparently minor, day to day
>>> decisions. I can't tell how many of us are really happy of these trends,
>>> how many are unhappy, and whether some important contributor is put away
>>> by the changes, or rather by the too slow pace of it.
>>> We have to be especially careful because companies, smaller and larger,
>>> are a powerful engine driving us towards a better code, a faster
>>> development rate, and better overall quality. On the other hand, we are
>>> dependent on the volunteer work by countless individuals and
>>> organizations; our budget does not allow us, and will not allow us in
>>> the foreseeable future, to replace all the volunteer work with paid
>>> personnel, so it is in our best interest to balance the needs of these
>>> two components.
>>> I have two aims writing this:
>>> * raise an open discussion on these points, to better cooperatively
>>> understand what are the priorities, the feelings and the aspirations of
>>> the community
>>> * reach a consensus on our mission, drawing guidelines or a social
>>> contract à la Debian, or some other tool that could make everybody more
>>> happy at least in average.
>>> I'm fully aware this is a potentially disruptive topic, but a thoughtful
>>> discussion could lead us towards a stronger, more united community.
>>> Sorry for being long.

--
Paolo Cavallini - www.faunalia.eu
QGIS.ORG Chair:
http://planet.qgis.org/planet/user/28/tag/qgis%20board/
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