[OSGeo-Discuss] Re: Whitebox GAT (Chris Puttick)

Chris Puttick chris.puttick at thehumanjourney.net
Fri Mar 26 09:03:52 PDT 2010

Please understand I am in no way criticising your software, which sounds of interest although out of reach for me. I am also highly appreciative of the work you and others like you put into developing solutions which you then share with others and I do what I can to contribute too. I am just hoping to persuade you and others that .net has far more bad points than good and to consider using a different software development framework/tools in the future.

I find it sensible to stare warily at gift-horses associated with companies whose primary stated purpose is the maximisation of shareholder value. Paid-for software of the "license to use" variety is a legacy concept fighting hard for survival; those companies whose entire business model is paid-for software are seeking all sorts of methods to ensure they can continue to profit from those business models. The majority of methods being adopted are, like .net, all about lock-in, about making it harder and more costly to move from the incumbent (and encumbered) solution. Hence why I would suggest the use of that particular framework (and there are so many to chose from that are as good or better, even before taking into account the cross-platform bonus feature) is a bad thing; its apparent convenience hides a massive cost base, both upfront and TCO.

My job, as sad as it may be, is strategic. I have to think about the future of the organisation for which I work with two over-riding drivers for the decisions I make in my area of responsibility: make it better and make it cheaper. The former requires usability, flexibility, maximisation of choice, and functionality; the latter requires elimination of lock-in to ensure the lowest cost options can be considered. Both tend to mean open solutions are given a high weighting. I can't focus on the immediacy of convenience, as so many of my peers have; evidence has shown the end result is no more money is made/saved by the use of IT than is spent on the IT and all too often less.

So that means absolutely no .net. Applications written against mono are more likely to be considered, although I personally believe that developing mono as a poor relation clone of .net is a mistake and a tragic waste of effort; innovation is required to disrupt, not poor copies. Almost all of the software we are deploying in the organisation, GIS or otherwise, is entirely platform neutral. Versions exist that can run on many operating systems and even different processor architectures. Software we are developing internally we endeavour to make as open as possible in the same spirit; for example gvSIG OADE is made available compiled for Mac OSX of which we have exactly 0/300 computers using.

I guess it is a matter of perspective. I want to have the widest set of choices professionally and personally want the largest number of choices to be available for others. Those who sell software licences want choices to be limited to their platform, whether that be operating system or ERP tools. I'd like to have the choice to try your app, which has interesting user education opportunities, but it would remove the choice of desktop operating system. Ahh well.


Chris Puttick
Oxford Archaeology: Exploring the Human Journey
Direct: +44 (0)1865 980 718
Switchboard: +44 (0)1865 263 800
Mobile: +44 (0)7908 997 146

----- "John Lindsay" <jlindsay at uoguelph.ca> wrote:

> Hi Chris,
> Thank you for your feedback. I think, however, you might be staring a
> gift horse in the mouth. I write software primarily because I need it
> and am happy to share it with others. For me, open-source is about
> sharing ideas, innovating, and improving education. I'm fortunate that
> I don't need to rely on my programming to make money. Like most
> computer users, I use Windows and .NET is the framework that we have.
> It's an excellent framework, despite what some may think of the
> company that developed it. I understand that many people chose other
> operating systems (and good for them!) but I'm also aware that the
> Mono framework allows for the possibility of running Whitebox GAT on
> Linux/Mac. There are currently people working on porting Whitebox over
> using Mono. I suspect, however, that there are some out there who
> would still not be pleased with the use of Mono as a framework. The
> fact of the matter is that not everybody will be happy all of the
> time. If this isn't the solution that suits you, I'm sure there are
> others that are more suited. And that's fine by me. It's just nice
> that people out there are working hard every day to ensure that you
> have choices, isn't it?
> -- 
> John Lindsay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
> Dept. of Geography, Univ. of Guelph
> Guelph, Ont. N1G 2W1   CANADA
> Phone: (519) 824-4120 x56074
> Fax: (519) 837-2940
> Email:  jlindsay at uoguelph.ca
> Department Web: www.uoguelph.ca/geography/
> Personal Web:
> http://www.uoguelph.ca/geography/people/faculty/lindsay.shtml
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

Files attached to this email may be in ISO 26300 format (OASIS Open Document Format). If you have difficulty opening them, please visit http://iso26300.info for more information.

More information about the Discuss mailing list