Explaining what the gvSIG Association is

This is an attempt to translate into English the last post from Gabi about what the gvSIG Association is. I’ve done my best to keep the meaning of his post and I apologize for any misunderstanding. Bold and italics are mine to emphasize some of their texts, as I consider them specially important to understand what are we doing at gvSIG Association.

Cheers
Jorge


There is a lot of information about the gvSIG Association publicly available for anyone who wants to consult and study. [1]

Of course, there will always be so much to explain and interpret. We believe that to understand better the gvSIG Association it’s interesting to explain on a very clearly way how the gvSIG Association sees Free Software.

How we interpret Free Software

At gvSIG we support a professional development model of Free Software in the field of geomatics. The gvSIG Association’s mission is to evolve gvSIG, to ensure software quality, to guarantee the existence of professional services (support, consultancy, etc.). and finally the sustainability of the project. To this end, the Association is responsible for coordinating efforts and ensuring consistency of growth and dissemination.

There may be people who devote part of their free time to work with Free Software projects and we really agree that. It happens that many of these people have to use proprietary software at work and in their spare time they enjoy to devote some time to Free Software projects.

We want to help people to work professionally with Free Software and if someone wants to pursue her commitment to Free Software also on his spare time, that’s perfect. But we insist, the Association claims that people should work professionally with Free Software and that this will happen with the construction of a new model of production/development/business where values ​​such as cooperation, solidarity and knowledge sharing are essential. Because ultimately, software is a means and not an end in itself.

Another objective of the Association is to ensure that the work of all volunteers and project partners can be really useful and is done in a coordinated way. We would make a big mistake if the Association doesn’t work to convert into reality the contributions of those people that want to help. We believe that all these contributions must be made in a coordinated way to convert them into useful inputs for all and guarantee that a gvSIG as a product is getting better and with the higher quality standards.

Ensure project sustainability

To carry out these objectives is needed to ensure the sustainability of gvSIG and this is one of the main objectives of the Association. How to ensure sustainability? If we talk of creating a new business model, we want that part of its benefit reverts on the sustainability. The sustainability of a product on which to develop professional services.

This may be easy to say but less easy to do. We all know that FUD [2] is still a common practice by companies of proprietary software against Free Software, usually quite large companies. It’s on this context where small companies need to collaborate together, to be stronger enough to achieve objectives and projects so far vetoed for Free Software solutions. That is one of the offers of the gvSIG Association: to build a framework that create opportunities for companies interested in gvSIG and FOSS4G, pursuing new opportunities.

It is here where the business model of the gvSIG Association differs from other Free Software projects (which of course may be more or less appropriate depending on the type of project).

In that sense, we find projects sponsored by a single company that carries most of the development, and generates benefits about this product.

Other projects are born and raised mostly around the academic environment, and are usually maintained by a small group of power developers and by many collaborations like master thesis or papers of students who can then follow or not involved with the project.

There are also associations or foundations which have their main source of income in other activities such as conferences and the contribution of sponsors, being able to find between these companies some whose business model may or may not be Free Software.

The main difference with this type of projects is that gvSIG Association companies are funding a percentage of the projects carried out as well as an annual fee that depends on the turnover of the company.

Thus, the more business is generated around Free Software, the more business for companies, but also more funds for the Association, which has more resources to invest in the improvement and sustainability of the project (remember that the Association is a non-profit organization).

Professional Guarantee

Imagine that a potential customer wants to hire for free solutions. So he wants to have professional support. The world’s largest privative software firms will say that only with privative software you’ll have a professional guarantee (well they call it commercial software). The Association helps to dismantle this myth by providing professional support to let the customer gain confidence with Free Software solutions, because it is the Association for the promotion of free geomatics and development of gvSIG, being free geomatics (FOSS4G) and gvSIG where their services are offered.

The community inputs are analysed and incorporated carefully from this professional perspective to provide an integrated and solid product.

gvSIG benefits from this environment of professional Free Software, yet open and participatory, where input from volunteers and companies all contribute to a better product, suitable to the needs of all.

Large companies

As a companies association, there’s sometimes comments on the danger of gvSIG Association and gvSIG project being controlled by larger companies. And we say big companies because that’s the way we’ve read about them. We find it curious, what do we mean by large companies? Association companies are all small and medium enterprises, where regardless of size, there is one vote per member.

There are several methods for avoiding one of these big companies becoming a member of the Association. That is, the association is prevented from them.

At gvSIG we’ve always been very critical about the fact that how, on a quite naturally way, some allow to large multinationals to take positions and lead Free Geomatics, those multinationals that have their business model on hiding access to information, on the sole property and with a huge economic power.

Our intention is not to convince anyone about which model is better or which model is the kindest, most ethical, efficient, and so on. Everyone is free to choose which you want to, of course. What we do want is to clarify and explain why and how the gvSIG Association is designed, with our defects (there will be a lot, and we will try to solve them), and with our virtues, if we have any.

[1]

Association Website: http://www.gvsig.com/welcome?set_language=en (English)

Bylaws of the gvSIG Association in Spanish, English and French at: http://www.gvsig.com/asociacion

Members, Honorary members and Association collaborators:

http://www.gvsig.com/association/members
http://www.gvsig.com/association/collaborators
http://www.gvsig.com/association/honour-members

And several articles and presentations:

http://gvsig-desktop.forge.osor.eu/downloads/pub/documents/reports/gvSIG_Community_and_how_to_participate_OSGIS_2011_part1.pdf

http://gvsig-desktop.forge.osor.eu/downloads/pub/documents/reports/gvSIG_Community_and_how_to_participate_OSGIS_2011_part2.pdf

[2]  FUDFear, Uncertainty and Doubthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear, _uncertainty_and_doubt

About Jorge

I'm a geogeek living near Valencia, Spain. I work on geomatics and I try to have fun with technology and free software.
This entry was posted in community, english, gvSIG Association, opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Explaining what the gvSIG Association is

  1. Pingback: Что такое Ассоциация gvSIG | gvSIG Россия

  2. Pingback: The gvSIG Association Program of Training and Certification: Perspectives in Russia | gvSIG Россия

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