[OSGeo-Discuss] Is the integration of FOSS4G and proprietary software good for FOSS4G?

Daniel Morissette dmorissette at mapgears.com
Wed Mar 17 06:27:15 PDT 2010

Hi Miguel,

The answer depends on how you measure success. If your measure of 
success is the number of people who drop their proprietary apps in favor 
of open source packages then you may not want to build this kind of 
bridge since your best tactic may be to play the same vendor lock-in 
game as some proprietary vendors do (note I wrote some vendors and not all).

OTOH, if you measure success by the number of happy users/customers of 
your software (as I do), then by all means, build as many bridges as 
possible. In this case it does not matter if your users continue to use 
their proprietary software in parallel with your open source package, 
what matters is that at the end of the day they could be more efficient 
in doing their work, and in the end become happier campers.

A good example of this is the GDAL/OGR project which is a success (IMHO) 
in large part because the license and philosophy of the project 
encouraged proprietary vendors to use and contribute to it. As a result, 
it is in use everywhere today, and even ESRI considers it part of "the 
best open source technology" that "it is committed to supporting" 
(http://esri.com/opensource). See http://gdal.org/credits.html for a 
list of organizations who have adopted and supported the project over 
the years.

My 0.02$


Miguel Montesinos wrote:
> Hello,
> I throw out a question some people are debating in Spain [1 (only
> Spanish)]. Sextante has the intention (or at least have thought about
> it) of building bindings so that it can be used from proprietary
> applications, like ArcGIS.
> 1) Do you think that it may avoid proprietary users to migrate to open
> solutions, as they can benefit of open-source libraries under their
> proprietary software? Besides, this give arguments to proprietary
> manufacturers because of the weakness of open-source software needing to
> run on top of proprietary ones, or to sell out their compatibility with
> 2) Do you think that it may lead proprietary users to try out and
> migrate to open source solutions due to the good impression they can
> have after using FOSS4G? Besides, this could generate incomes to improve
> FOSS4G developments, and offer alternatives to proprietary extensions,
> drivers, ...
> What is your oppinion about this tricky question?
> Best,
> [1] http://sextantegis.blogspot.com/ 
> ---------------------------------------------
> Miguel Montesinos
> mmontesinos [at] prodevelop [dot] es
> www.prodevelop.es
> _______________________________________________
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Daniel Morissette

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