[OSGeo-Discuss] RE: OS and proprietary

P Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Sat Apr 26 12:07:57 PDT 2008

I apologize in advance for conflating two different means in your
thoughtful reply, but...

On 4/26/08, Miles Fidelman <mfidelman at traversetechnologies.com> wrote:
> P Kishor wrote:
> > To paraphrase the popular saying, "There are 10 kinds of people in
> > this world -- those who see open source lacking what they need and
> > choose a proprietary software instead and those who see open source
> > lacking what they need and choose to make it better."
> >
> > If you have the money that you would spend on proprietary software
> > anyway, consider hiring an open source developer to develop what you
> > want, and then put that functionality back into the open source
> > community.
> >
> >
> >
>  Nice in theory, not always workable in practice.  (Note: I write as a
> long-time user and supporter of lots of FOSS.  But then again, I have bought
> lots of proprietary software as well, and worked for companies that
> developed it.)
>  Historically, most successful open source projects (e.g., GRASS), have, at
> their root, something that had a lot of development money thrown at early on
> - either by a user organization (again, GRASS is a good example), or an R&D
> funder (e.g., the NCSA web daemon, that begat Apache).
>  Each case is different.

For the two good examples of OSS that you provide that had well-funded
parents who lost interest in their children, Perl and Python and PHP
and Linux are four that didn't have well-funded parents, but once they
became successful, they attracted well-funded uncles and aunts. Not
far from our field, I would love to think of PostGIS and MapServer as
being fostered by well-heeled organizations, but while I wish
Refractions and DM Solutions all success, they have done tremendously
with their wards in spite of being small organizations.

How true when you say that "Each case is different."

My original sentiment still stands -- if you have the money, but don't
have the skills, and don't need it "yesterday," it might be better in
the long-term to fund an extension of a good OSS project than to take
the easy way out and buy a COTS package.

>  --
>  Miles R. Fidelman, Director of Government Programs
>  Traverse Technologies 145 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor
>  Boston, MA  02111
>  mfidelman at traversetechnologies.com
>  617-395-8254
>  www.traversetechnologies.com

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