Way back in 2015 I wrote this diary post Is OSM business unfriendly? on how core OSM limiting itself to data collection had fostered a bustling ecosystem.
Organisations from small to large, commercial and non-commercial have built their businesses on building OSM know-how, normalizing the data, aggregating it with other sources, and providing services on top of it. It is one of the major factors that has made OSM not just a hobby project, but a notable player on the global stage.
Yes, the Linux Foundations OMF is disruptive, but the disruption is mainly in that it will remove a major part of the raison d’être for these organisation in the wider OSMspace.
The surprising bit at SOTM-EU over the weekend was just how hilariously unaware both Linux Foundation members and representatives were that their main effect will be stomping out a whole raft of SMEs, and the sudden realisation by the victims that US big tech and their non-profit front are not their friends.
What does this mean for core OSM?
I’ve argued that we should be moving the boundary of what we do outwards so that we can at least provide more of what was provided by the layer of service providers. Not all of the market for geo data and services outside of the US tech bubble is going to enthusiastically embrace that their choice of suppliers has been reduced to a duopoly. But I will concede that doing nothing and letting the market forces play out is the more OSMish reaction.
PS: I would point out that all of the above has already chewed though multiple times in public. Maybe if the Linux Foundation doesn’t want to be put on the spot and look very very out of touch they should read what other people are saying about them.