[OSGeo-Discuss] Top ten myths for open source in geo?

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu Jan 22 13:20:56 PST 2009

Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
> Gentlepersons:
> I'm doing an article addressing the top ~10 myths/misperceptions about open
> source for geo.  There are a number of such pieces already out there about
> open source in general, from which I'll borrow heavily, but I'd like to have
> half the list be myths specific to the geo and GIS world we're playing in.
> Do you have any nominations?  Which issues are not well understood?  What
> questions do you most frequently get asked?


I hope you will include some of the myths that are not specific to
geospatial FOSS, but with answers/explanations focused more on open

So for instance, when addressing a concern like "there is no support",
you could name support companies that provide support in the geospatial

I would like to suggest:

"foss4g products don't support my existing proprietary data" to which
the answer will hopefully be that FOSS4G packages have quite extensive
support for different data formats, including important undocumented
proprietary file formats, but that there are some limitations so
investigate with regard to your own data.

Another common one in general is "open source is just for that geeky
linux operating system, I want to use windows!" to which the response
will hopefully reference some particular windows packaging efforts like
OSGeo4W as well as indicating that most projects do offer binaries for
windows.  I often try to make the point that OSGeo and FOSS4G is available
for many operating systems, and that using open source GIS software does
not mean pushing linux down peoples throats.

A variation on this is "you need to be a software developer to use
open source" to which the response is also reference to the various
convenient pre-built binaries for various platforms.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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