[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo friendly countries to live in

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Tue Aug 18 08:09:47 PDT 2009

I'm a long ways from Washington DC and a lot closer to the Silicon Valley, which may be a reason why I perceive different attitudes.

I do think the new US Administration seems friendlier towards open source software. Still, when I think about the fight over using ODF in Maryland and other similar situations I realize open source software still has an uphill battle in many parts of the United States. This may even be truer in the geospatial arena than in others.

Autodesk and ESRI may be great corporate citizens, but there is no doubt in my mind that the control software monopolies, especially in the government market. This isn't just true at the federal level, but at the state and local level as well.

I've got to have MicroStation to work with CALTRANS, AutoCAD to work with my local city, ESRI to work with the County's GIS department, and software from LizardTech to use the imagery distributed by USDA for my County in MRSID format. To make it even more pleasant, AutoDESK breaks its file compatibility every other version or so, which means my company gets to purchase a license upgrade if we want to keep dealing with our government clients.

Money talks in United States politics, and I'm sure the big boys in the software development throw plenty of greenbacks around when it suits there purpose.

I'm not saying there is a malicious intent on government agencies to make life difficult. But I certainly don't see a widespread effort to embrace open source for its benefits, or to look for any alternatives to the widely established monopolies.

(I do know of a couple cases where some state agencies in California are making an effort to use open source GIS desktop software.)

Things may be very different in the web-mapping world. I'm talking about desktop software, since that is what I deal with 98% of the time.

But, like you, I speak from personal experience, and don't have any hard facts or statistics to back up my wild claims. :]

Office Phone Number: (209) 946-0268
Cell Phone Number: (209) 992-0658

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of P Kishor
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 7:53 AM
To: OSGeo Discussions
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo friendly countries to live in

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 9:37 AM, Landon Blake<lblake at ksninc.com> wrote:
> Cameron wrote:
> " Canada looks preferable to the US. I wonder how much the Canadian
> GeoConnections program is responsible for Canada's strong OSGeo
> industry."
> I believe governments in Canada are much more supportive of open source
> software than governments in the United States. In my experience, the
> attitude towards open source software held by many organizations in the
> United States is still skeptical, if not hostile.

Well, I would make that assertion if I can back it up.

A quick check shows me that while I don't know what Whitehouse.gov
uses on the backend, it uses the open source jquery framework on the
front-end, and publishes all its content under a CC3.0 Attribution

Similarly for data.gov, and its http://www.data.gov/catalog/geodata catalog.

Reminds me of the story --

Reporter sees Bill Gates' dog swimming. Next day the headlines says,
"Bill Gates' dog can't walk on water!"

My feeling is (_feeling_, not an assertion backed by evidence) that
the US govt. agencies stay out of supporting or not supporting any
particular kind of software or technology. They use what they think is
best, without creating a policy out of it, and generally let the
provider and the consumer of technologies duke it out. Of course, I
have no scientific evidence for this statement. But the proliferation
of Canadian Blackberries in the US Senate and House is a fairly decent
reflection of this.

Other govts. may choose to support a particular vendor or sector
because of various reasons -- one reason might be to make a concerted
effort to develop an alternative to US vendors and technologies.

> I believe this may be due in part to successful lobbying and marketing
> campaigns by big software companies in the US. We also seem to be more
> tolerant of software monopolies than other industrialized nations.
> Microsoft's trouble with the EU might be one example demonstrating the
> differences in attitude.
> Go Canada! (Home of the original JUMP desktop GIS, I might add.) :]
> Landon
> Office Phone Number: (209) 946-0268
> Cell Phone Number: (209) 992-0658
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Cameron Shorter
> Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 1:43 PM
> To: OSGeo Discussions
> Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] OSGeo friendly countries to live in
> Yves Jacolin has sliced FOSS4G <http://2009.foss4g.org/> website hits to
> determine the number of FOSS4G attendees per million people, broken down
> by country. From this, you can get a feeling for the most OSGeo tolerant
> populations in the world (distorted around Australia due to the
> conference location).
> So what can we learn?
>    * Japan and Mongolia are the place be in Asia
>    * Chilli is the place to be in Latin America
>    * Canada looks preferable to the US. I wonder how much the Canadian
>      GeoConnections program is responsible for Canada's strong OSGeo
>      industry.
>    * There is a lot of interest across Europe, so FOSS4G 2010 should be
>      a crowded event.
>    * Africa seems to have learned all they need to know when FOSS4G
>      attended Johannesburg last year, and won't be heading to Australia
>      in force.
> You can view the maps here:
> http://cameronshorter.blogspot.com/2009/08/osgeo-friendly-countries-to-l
> ive-in.html
> and in French on Yves blog:
> http://georezo.net/blog/geolibre/2009/08/16/geolocalisation-des-visite-d
> u-site-foss4g-2009/
> --
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Systems Architect
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
> http://www.lisasoft.com
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Puneet Kishor http://www.punkish.org
Carbon Model http://carbonmodel.org
Charter Member, Open Source Geospatial Foundation http://www.osgeo.org
Science Commons Fellow, http://sciencecommons.org/about/whoweare/kishor
Nelson Institute, UW-Madison http://www.nelson.wisc.edu
Assertions are politics; backing up assertions with evidence is science
Sent from Madison, WI, United States
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