[OSGeo-Discuss] RE: Comparison between Proprietary and OS

Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) tmitchell at osgeo.org
Sat Apr 26 06:39:20 PDT 2008

Here's another slightly different point of view...

I like the fact that many open source projects haven't been focused  
on "targeting" users of particular brands of software.  It has  
allowed the projects to develop to be what the developers think they  
should be, without a constant check like "Have we arrived yet to  
challenge vendor X's package with 100% features?".

While I understand the need to compare OSS with popular proprietary  
apps, for the sake of helping other users migrate, I think it is  
important to remember that open source programs don't always  
specifically target replacing them.  This can lead to thinking that  
proprietary apps have some special combination of tools, usability  
and functions that must be mimicked - but its a subtle shift to just  
focus on user needs instead of on how to do a 100% feature match to  
some other standard.  It doesn't mean, of course, that some other  
package has a bunch of features worth implementing, but I think our  
standards should be  (1) user need and (2) developer interest -  
without either of those a project is bloated or dead.

We likely all know proprietary software that has features that cost a  
lot but that are ones you never use or care about.  Let's not make  
the same mistake.  I know we aren't, but thought you might find this  
viewpoint interesting to consider.


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