I have been lucky enough to have my abstract accepted for the international FOSS4G conference later this year in Portland USA.
“The annual FOSS4G conference is the largest global gathering focused on open source geospatial software. FOSS4G brings together developers, users, decision-makers and observers from a broad spectrum of organizations and fields of operation.”
FOSS4G occurs in a different country (and usually region) each year and I would highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to go. It is “nerdvana” for spatial geeks with an open bent as the core developers of all the major open source geospatial projects are represented.
FOSS4G is typically a very technical conference – I have attended it previously in Sydney in 2009 – while I love to nerd it up at any opportunity my talk is mostly focused on the business side of open source which I feel often doesn’t receive as much attention. The abstract I submitted was:
The open source geospatial community tends to focus heavily on technical solutions, but how do we ensure that we are engaging customers on the benefits of open source solutions or that our customers even properly understand what open source means to their business?
Can we engage our customers to encourage their projects to be contributed back to the open source core, can we get them interested in supporting core projects, do they even care that they are using an open source solution at all?
Customers are used to proprietary licensing models and have an inherent understanding of them, but many don’t understand open source models beyond the superficial ‘it’s free’. Convincing clients to build on open source is relatively easy, convincing them to support open source projects that they have leveraged is often more difficult.
This talk discusses our experiences and challenges in Australia with collaborating with our clients on open source projects, particularly for customers with a limited technical background.
As you can see, I’m intending to make my talk a discussion of our experiences over a number of years working on projects that are either based on open source technology or are open source in their own right – and how that has impacted the way we work with our clients.