MapServer Foundation Proposal

Tyler Mitchell, author of Web Mapping Illustrated, has been talking up the idea of a MapServer Foundation for a while. Recently, he's taken his advocacy to the next generation MapServer site (login required) and invited discussion and comment on the proposal.

I wrote previously about MapServer and foundations. While I think that MapServer needs higher quality stewardship than is currently provided by the University of Minnesota, I think that a foundation is probably overkill. But that's just me; many MapServer users would welcome the right kind of foundation, one that really looks out for the integrity of the software above all else. In my opinion, a good foundation would be formed through a public and democratic process that emphasizes openness and consensus. If the grassroots really want a foundation, I'd like to be part of such a process.

The wrong way to launch a MapServer Foundation would be to begin in secret, and orchestrate the incorporation for the competitive advantage of a few select entities. The Mambo Foundation Fiasco provides us a great recent example of how to screw up a foundation in exactly this way. Any future MapServer Foundation, no matter how well intentioned, has to begin in the open or risk a FUBAR state.

Update: my mistake, login is not necessary.

Update 2: It seems that some are reading "login required" as "top secret". Sorry to disappoint, but you're reading too much into this. I merely mistook the publication state: Tyler's proposal is not the Doomsday scenario at all. I welcome his effort to persuade the user base of the benefits of a foundation. Although I'm not personally persuaded, I think his proposal is a must-read for MapServer users, and could be the catalyst for a grassroots initiative.

Update 3: my Doomsday scenario bears some resemblance to the current state of affairs, does it not?