Copywriting run amuck?


Recent years have seen substantial changes in the geospatial industry. One of those changes has been the growth in maturity and adoption of free and open source solutions. Many early adopters of FOSS solutions chose them based on "philosophical" reasons, but increasingly large enterprises and government organizations are choosing these solutions for pragmatic business reasons. In many cases organizations are using a mixture of open and closed source solutions.

Emphasis above is mine. What the hell is up with the scare quotes and the impractical, ideology-driven, early adopter strawman? If you were there in the early FOSS4G days, you'll remember that it was in fact about pragmatic solutions: proprietary software often lacked features that we needed to do our jobs or was riddled with bugs that we suspected wouldn't be fixed any time soon. The need to get shit done was the driving force behind GDAL, MapServer, PostGIS, and friends. Driving a stake through the heart of ArcIMS was just gravy.

Update (2011-01-12): Better:


Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: Karsten Vennemann

Seems that the quote above is straight from the foss4g 2011 home page...

Certainly a driving force behind the OS GIS solutions was getting things done, but functionality comes, matures and is added on over time as we all know ;) . I can see in the small GIS consulting business that I am running a huge and growing client demand for OS web based solutions unfolding over the last 4 years. I have seen that OS web based solution already where competitive over the last 5 years when I have been using them. However with OS desktop GIS that increasingly became true over the last 2 years when e.g. QGIS and gvSIG became so powerfull that they actually can be used to do most of I was doing in ArcGIS previously (namely fine cartography and labeling).

Also it's not all about the technological solution (and what it can do) but about information about the solution, about spreading the word, and the process that this information finally arrives (trickles through ) at decision makers desks (long way) - that is in other words (due successful foss4g) 'marketing' (yuk ?).

On the foss4g web site I see this quote also as a perception described and I don't see anything wrong with that. I think the home page is also largely about spreading the word to non - typical OS GIS users (yes not only geeky OS developer types that come to foss4g anyway thanks god!) to get them and come to the FOSS4G. Personally I would love to see more regular GIS users (vs developer types) to attend foss4g and especially lots of newcomers (yes ESRI type GIS users) to join this event !

Note: I am not involved in creation of the home page at all ;)

Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: Sean

Karsten, I am not disputing the undeniable "growth in maturity and adoption". I'm disputing the characterization of early adopters -- the people who put PostGIS (for example) into production long before it hit 1.0, who found and saw closed all the early show-stopping bugs, who supported each other before there were books or adequate documentation, who raised the damn FOSS4G barn -- as unpragmatic has-beens. The mainstream owes the early adopters respect, if not thanks.

Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: bk

Tuff in the corners, sweet hands in front of the net.

Gillies is the Chardonnay of Men..

Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: Sean

Sadly, I am not, to my knowledge, related to Clark Gillies.

Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: Paul Ramsey

Agreed. Unless "unafraid of change" or "open to new approaches" count as "philosophical" reasons. Sure, it takes a different mindset than your bog standard IT manager might have, but ideology doesn't enter into it.

Re: Copywriting run amuck?

Author: Daniel Morissette

This sentence on the FOSS4G 2011 page also hurt my eye. I consider myself one of those early adopters but as a consultant my motivations have always been and still are mostly pragmatic and not philosophical.

I don't think this descriptions matches many FOSS4G user organizations either (not our own clients anyway, not even those from the early days). All our clients care about is that the tool gets the job done. Very few care about the "philosophical" reasons and it's actually the contrary: if you want to scare a potential client away then start giving them a "philosophical" lecture.