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QEP 31: QGIS Legal Entity #31

NathanW2 opened this Issue Oct 28, 2015 · 0 comments


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NathanW2 commented Oct 28, 2015

QGIS Enhancement 31: QGIS Legal Entity

Date 2015/7/07
Author Tim Sutton
Last Edited 2015/7/07
Status Final Draft
Version N/A


Proposal for the establishment of QGIS.ORG as a non-profit legal entity. This
document represents discussions held at the QGIS Hackfest in Nødebo, Denmark
in May 2015.

Proposed Change


  • QGIS User Group - A formal regional or national chapter, with its own web
    site. To be considered a user group, there should be a minimum of 10 members
    and be approved by the board as an official user group.
  • QGIS User Community - Any active participant of the QGIS community
    including committers, patch providers, translators, document maintainers,
    advice givers, stack exchange contributors, etc.
  • OSGEO - the umbrella organisation for FOSS GIS projects to which QGIS is a member.

Why establish a legal entity?

QGIS has matured from a small ‘hobby project’ started in 2002 by Gary Sherman
into a large, complex and professional project used by many thousands of people
in their personal and professional capacity all around the world. In this
transition, we have had to grow and mature not only in our code base and
technical implementation, but also in terms of our project governance and
management. Up until now, QGIS has been structured as a grassroots community
headed up by a project steering committee. There is no legal entity behind the
project and typically individual members have acted as a proxy for the project
for things like domain name registration, trademark acquisition, sign off of
agreements with donors and sponsors and so on. The lack of a legal entity has
also limited our ability to be more ambitious in our funding aspirations - for
example our ability to apply for grant funding.

What do we propose?

We propose the following:

  • To establish a Swiss ‘Verein’ (association) as a non-profit entity known as ‘QGIS.ORG’.
  • We will draw up a Charter using the Swiss QGIS User group as a model
  • QGIS.ORG will consist of two tiers of membership:
    • ‘the board’
    • ‘voting members’

Composition, appointment and role of voting members

The voting members shall be appointed according to the following scheme:

  • User Group Voting Members: One voting member per QGIS user group. Each
    user group will nominate who their voting member shall be. If a group does not
    nominate any voting member, that vote will be excluded until such time that
    they do.
  • OSGeo Voting Member: One voting member representing the OSGeo foundation. We
    wish to reaffirm our commitment as a member of the umbrella OSGeo organisation
    and foster good collaboration between QGIS.ORG and OSGEO.ORG.
  • Community Voting Members: For each user group voting member, there will be one
    voting community member elected. The intent here is to let the general community
    have equal representation to the user group voting membership within the total
    voting membership.

Voting memberships will be valid until either:

  • The voting member resigns
  • There is a motion and passed vote to remove the member

Election and eligibility of user group voting members

  • In order to be recognised, a user group must be approved by the PSC, showing
    their foundation document and agreeing to abide by the guidelines defined for
    user groups.
  • A user group may be a ‘combined activity’ group - for example a regional OSGEO
    user group can also register as an official QGIS user group too.
  • A user group should be a minimum of 10 users

Election and eligibility of community voting members

Community voting members will be nominated and voted for by the established core
committers. The number of nominations for voted members should exceed the number
of available voter places by at least one. Any active QGIS community member will
be eligible for nomination as a QGIS.ORG voting member.

Composition of the Board

  • Rotating chair: The board members will vote at every third annual general
    meeting to appoint or continue the existing appointment of the chair. Thus the
    chair shall be appointed for a minimum of three years at a time.
  • Honorary member: Gary Sherman will retain a lifetime honorary seat on the
  • PSC: The PSC will transform into the board of QGIS.ORG
  • SWISS Member: There will be at least one Swiss board member in order to fulfil the
    requirements of the Verein legal entity.

Board remuneration: Board members would take no pay for their services.

Functions of the QGIS.ORG legal entity

The QGIS.ORG legal entity will serve the following functions:

  • Hold an annual meeting where the annual budget will be presented for approval by voting members.
  • Act as the holder of all trademarks etc. registered for QGIS
  • Act as the holder for domain name
  • Be able to sign contracts with external organisations on behalf of QGIS
  • QGIS.ORG will not act as a consulting house. For example it will not pursue
    clients, provide deliverable services other than the distribution of funds to
    the QGIS project needed in order to carry out our activities.
  • QGIS.ORG will apply for grants and other types of funding sources which can be
    disbursed to pay for developer meetings, sponsor QGIS developers, and other
    community members as needed to support the aims of the project.
  • QGIS.ORG will sign any legal agreements as needed.



This QEP serves as the documentation for the legal structure, along with the
Verein (legal entity) statutes, a draft of which is available for viewing
.. _here:
(this link allows public commenting but not editing).

This document and the linked document above will be migrated to the QGIS
Governance documentation in modified form. and will be migrated to the project
governance documentation.

Voting History

This QEP has been approved - see the loomio vote:

@NathanW2 NathanW2 changed the title QGIS Enhancement 16: QGIS Legal Entity QEP16: QGIS Legal Entity Oct 28, 2015

@NathanW2 NathanW2 changed the title QEP16: QGIS Legal Entity QEP 16: QGIS Legal Entity Oct 28, 2015

@NathanW2 NathanW2 added the Draft label Oct 28, 2015

@NathanW2 NathanW2 assigned brushtyler and timlinux and unassigned brushtyler Oct 28, 2015

@NathanW2 NathanW2 changed the title QEP 16: QGIS Legal Entity QEP 31: QGIS Legal Entity Jan 29, 2017

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