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

G. Allegri giohappy at gmail.com
Sat Mar 27 07:49:44 PDT 2010

Very nice thread. This topic once a while comes back on our screens.
My two cents.
After various years of talks with OS and purists and not, software farms,
university departments, etc. from back to white visions, passing through
grey, I've pacified with my questions about where is the "truth": it is
where a solution that solves your needs is. All the rest is personal
preference or, worst, hideology.
The need can go from a personal scale to a global one, requiring different
approaches if we're talking about a self-employed practitioner, a local
administration, a multinational farm, or FAO. Forgive me but I think this
discussions are non-sense, because, using the first topic,  the is no
absolute metric to say .NET is worst then Java,C++,or whatelse.
In these days I suggested a customer to use ArcGIS Server for their needs.
The day before I was configuring Postgresql and Geoserver for another one.

Last line. When I discover new softwares being shared I really don't care
very much what technology they used to make, I just wonder if it brings new
ideas, solutions, etc. that can help our needs. Recently I've set up an
algorithm in Python, taking ideas from three different softwares: one was
written in C#, one in C++, and one in Java. They were quite different, but
each one brought complementary ideas that helped me to solve my problem.
This is what I like from software sharing.


2010/3/26 Brian Russo <brian at beruna.org>

> On Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM, Chris Puttick
> <chris.puttick at thehumanjourney.net> wrote:
> > Terribly off-topic now, so feel free to stop reading...
> Yes.. if anyone wants to ping me offline about this feel free..
> > ...not realising high or often any business value. Business value is
> where what you expend money and get more in return than you spent.
> Incredibly easy to measure in small businesses with few employees and a
> simple business model, harder the larger the business or the more complex
> the concept of value becomes e.g. in a charity or government organisation.
> There is good evidence that collectively western economies have spent more
> on IT than they have realised in value.
> I 100% agree that most IT procurement is terrible. People go after
> 'shiney' technology that solves an immediate perceived requirement but
> do not go through the more expensive (in the short term) work of
> really assessing how their IT infrastructure is actually
> enabling/supporting their business processes.
> However this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how the
> software is licensed. You can make similarly horrible decisions using
> open source software… proprietary... whatever. It doesn’t matter.
> Remember all the crappy linux based phones out there? They sucked
> until we got Android ones. Companies would have gotten better value
> using blackberries or something before that time The true reason
> people end up in that situation is because the technology they bought
> isn’t supporting their business properly. It’s like buying a gym
> membership you never use. Does that mean the gym sucks? It might, but
> all it really means is that you're not getting value out of the cost
> you expended. It doesn't tell you why.
> > The business case is not simple, any more than it is in marketing; but
> here's my base position in simple terms. I select solutions that maximise
> our future choices and reduce our costs; a further benefit is derived if I
> can move any remaining costs from fixed annual overhead to per employee or
> pure capital; while there may be short term pain as people get used to the
> changes, any increase in costs for that short period will be more than
> offset by the long term decrease in costs and increases in flexibility for
> the organisation.
> This is where I disagree with you. If you focus on cost as the thing
> to reduce you will more often than not lose. Lowering cost should be
> an incidental outcome that happens as a result of increasing value and
> efficiency. It's quite possible to end up spending more money on IT
> than you were in the first place (more frequently you end up spending
> it in the right places instead of the wrong and net overall IT
> savings) - but if your overall business value has increased more or
> commensurately then spending more is probably the right outcome.
> > Luckily for me I don't have to justify to others other than in my long
> term results. I'm aware that this continues to be a rare privilege for the
> top of the information systems tree and that many organisations continue to
> not have technical expertise at the highest level, resulting in many
> decisions in that area being taken with the wrong information and wrong
> motivations. I'm working on that too.
> I would instead argue that the main problem is a lack of
> differentiation between CIOs and CTOs. Most organisations involved in
> IT are still primarily technology-driven in terms of their procurement
> - rather than remembering that their IT is only a means to an end
> (supporting business processes & content).
> Running a cheap subversion + trac server on Linux is better than
> spending $10k on some proprietary software with more substantial
> hardware requirements. However an even better solution may be to
> outsource it to someone else and pay them $20/month to manage it all.
> As long as they support my business process (managing code) and I have
> no other reasons to insist on a specific platform I may not really
> care. Shifting host providers down the road isn't really a big deal so
> even if they're basing it off proprietary software that's transparent
> to me. I have my cake and eat it - I pay someone $3/month to host all
> that stuff for me using subversion + other tools.
> Look at it this way - do you care if your ethernet switches run
> proprietary firmware? There's fundamentally no difference between that
> and an operating system if I abstract my processes sufficiently. Means
> to an end. I realize the real world is a bit muddier, but the point is
> to focus on what's important - your information and process continuity
> - NOT the system it 'happens' to be running on now. Assume that will
> change and plan accordingly. So when you say that you think .Net is a
> bad platform to base systems on - I understand your reasons elicited -
> but you're acting like a CTO, not a CIO.
> --
> Brian Russo / (808) 271 4166
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