FOSS4G 2011 Decision Process

The 2011 FOSS4G siting process has begun. After the 2010 process, where there were too many good proposals and not enough slots, we decided to do a couple things to lower the effort level required by bidders in aggregate.

First, we wanted to be more definitive about our regional siting plan, which is to rotate between Europe (2010), North America (2011) and elsewhere (with elsewhere being Asia (2012) in the current rotation plan). For 2011 the regional arrow points to North America, since 2010 is in Europe.

Second, we wanted to lower the bar to submitting a proposal. In 2010 we got four full proposals, and could choose only one. So 75% of the bidders did a large amount of preliminary research and spade-work for no purpose. For the 2011 process, we will start with a “letter of intent” phase, a short document outlining expressions of interest. Hopefully having all the interested parties publicly declared will promote locations coming together and forming joint bids.

The OSGeo conference committee will vote on the letters and only the top two will be asked to prepare full bid documents. That would still leave one potentially disappointed party at the end of the process, but is a big improvement over leaving three, as happened in the 2008 and 2010 processes. And hopefully the letters phase will encourage groups to consolidate bids so we won’t have to even run the final round.

The winning site will still have to submit a proposal and budget, so the Board and Conference Committee have confidence that the local team has thought things through, but the kind of research necessary to prepare a full proposal is a necessary precursor to putting on a conference, so the effort will be put to good purpose.

I’m looking forward to seeing the letters!