Vote for ArcInfo and/or ArcView for Linux
Andrew M McDermott
mcdermam at potsdam.edu
Thu Dec 10 06:37:58 EST 1998
At 04:22 PM 12/8/98 -0800, you wrote:
>I got tons of email regarding my recent posting promoting ports of
>ESRI software to Linux. Indeed, I have gotten so much that I'm not
>able to respond to it all. I do want to thank people for the advice
>and encouragement. It is very helpful.
>After reading all the responses and responding to many or most of them
>personally, I feel a few of them require a general response. I got
>questions and comments like:
>> That is about the stupidest damn thing I have ever heard....
>> If someone is unhappy with Arc on NT then their NT isn't setup right.
>> Linux is a perfectly acceptable operating system for inexperienced hacks
>> to run FTP servers out of their house, it has no place in the
>> ok, i know the pricing policy for UX+NT, but i was interested
>> in LINUX license prices for AI/AV... !?
>> I was wondering, WHY should we vote to port ESRI software to Linux? I
>> and haven't had any problems? Give us a top 5 list of reasons
>> why, or something to support your request.....
>> Subject: Vote for ArcInfo and/or ArcView for Linux
>> Send reply to: grass at cecer.army.mil
>My response follows:
>(1) Reasons to port ESRI software to Linux
> (a) Managers want something cheaper and more flexible than
> proprietary Unix workstations. They prefer standard PC
> hardware. However, many users still prefer Unix.
> Linux is a suitable compromise.
> (b) A port to Linux would prove ESRI's commitment to Unix.
> ESRI says they are committed to Unix; but no one believes
> them, and this makes it difficult to convince management
> to purchase new Unix workstations. A Linux port would
> make it easier to buy Suns, SGIs, etc.
> (c) System administrators want something which is easy to
> integrate with the existing Unix workstations and servers.
> At the very least, every workstation (Unix or Windows)
> should be able to mount disks from any other workstation.
> Ideally, workstations with expensive specialized hardware
> and/or software should support remote usage via telnet or
> something like telnet. Windows lacks telnet services,
> and proprietary Unix can not mount Windows disks.
> Linux has all telnet (client&server) services and can mount
> or serve nfs and smb filesystems. This makes it uniquely
> useful in integrating Windows with proprietary Unix systems.
> (d) Programmers want to create new software rather instead
> of rewriting existing software. Programmers who have
> written AMLs which shell out to use Unix commands
> would find the faster to port to Arc on Linux than Arc
> on Windows. Moreover, many programmers want to continue
> using classical tools like Fortran, C, make, m4, rcs, and
> emacs to create software; and they want to continue writing
> software which uses perl, tcl/tk, and other unix shell
> commands. Most of these tools exist for NT, but they are
> a pain to get working under NT.
> (e) Many GIS power users are used to using tools like emacs,
> cut, paste, egrep, xv, gimp, ghostview, and grass. Some
> of them also like multi-panel window managers like cde.
> Most of these tools exist for NT, but they are a pain to
> get working under NT.
> (f) Many users complain about NT's slowness and lack of
> robustness. While NT is very slow and bloated compared
> to Linux, I have personally found it rather robust.
> Still, I get lots of complaints, especially from remote sensing
> people, about problems with NT crashing. Maybe their systems
> are miss configured; but if this is true then NT systems
> must be difficult to configure correctly, because I hear
> these complaints a lot.
> Many people are happy using ArcView and ArcInfo on NT, and that is
> However, others are not happy with ArcView and ArcInfo on NT, and can
> no longer afford proprietary Unix workstations (at least not
> exclusively). These people need the ArcView and ArcInfo on Linux
>(2) What would ESRI gain from a Linux port?
> (a) A Linux port will not lead to more sales since ESRI owns the
> entire GIS software market already. However, a Linux port
> would protect ESRI from future competition by invigorating
> ESRI's Unix products. From ESRI's point of view this is
> important as any future competitor will be building Windows
> software. By promoting Windows exclusively ESRI is forcing
> it's current customers onto it's competitors' platforms.
> (b) Altho a Linux port would not generate more sales for ESRI
> in the USA, it might generate more sales internationally.
> As I understand, ESRI has competitors in Europe and Linux
> has already become a major player as a corporate OS in
> Europe. This may be true in other parts of the world as
>(3) How should ESRI price a Linux product?
> (a) They should price their Linux products the same as their
> Windows software. Indeed, I recommend that they follow
> the Portland Group's pricing philosophy in regards to
> Linux vs. NT pricing. The Portland Group prices software
> by the workstation. Since PC workstations often dual boot
> Linux and NT, the Portland Group puts Linux and NT versions
> of their software on the same CD. Users are allowed to
> install either or both versions since the workstation can
> only be running one OS at a time. The doggles ESRI uses
> to protect ArcInfo on Windows, would also be required for
> ArcInfo on Linux. These would prevent cheating in the dual
> OS/ dual boot situation just as well as they do in the
> Windows only situation.
>(4) Is Linux a serious OS or simply a hobby OS?
> I remember mainframers who wouldn't take minicomputers seriously.
> I remember minicomputer users who thought PCs were limited to
> home use. Wake up and smell the roses. One may not like Linux,
> but when companies like Intel, Compaq, IBM, Oracle, Informix,
> Corel, Novell, ... are committing to it; it must be serious.
> Thank you,
> David Mandel
> dmandel at transport.com
> (503) 952-6570
>P.S. The opinions expressed in this posting are mine and mine alone.
> An Invitation
> *** Linux NorthWest Conference and Expo ***
> April 6-7, 1999 - Oregon Convention Center - http://LinuxNorthwest.org
> Linux for home, school, and office
> Internet and LAN servers, office automation, data base management, GIS
> and much more
I have learned everything I know about computers (essentially) within the
last two and one half years. I began with DOS/Windows because it was the
only game in town (let's leave Macs out of this for now). LINUX was an
accident, a casual mention by a friend as something I might find of
interest (1 1/2 years ago). I am now skilled in network administration at
LAN and internet levels, I am scripting in two or three languages AND
running database applications both locally and on the web, I am configuring
nameservers and http daemons, porting simple script and program suites from
SunOS to LINUX (and Win 95) etc etc etc. I am comfortable at an advanced
user level in three architectures and 5 OS's. Without LINUX this would have
been impossible to accomplish, especially in such a short time frame
without any real help beyond the support system online for LINUX.
Keep up the good work and the advocacy. I
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