[Viscom-dev] Spatial Sciences Conference, Hobart Australia

Jason Birch Jason.Birch at nanaimo.ca
Sat Feb 3 18:31:35 EST 2007

Arnulf wrote:
> On Sat, February 3, 2007 12:23, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> > * A migration strategy from ESRI to OS.
>  The strategy is straight forward: Just go, what are you waiting for? :-)

I know that's tongue-in-cheek, but this is a huge issue for people that don't have any idea how to start bringing in open source.
Personally, I would have a hard time migrating a proprietary infrastructure to a purely FOSS infrastructure.  Quite a few tools are needed for even a partial sell.
First, areas like data migration, training, and system integration are huge costs. We have to provide "FOSS champions" with the key points they will need to make the business case for adoption of free and open source software.
Second,  there are some areas where FOSS does not have equivalent functionality to proprietary applications.  Switching wholesale does not make sense for many organisations, and encouraging them to do so when we do not have the right pieces in place will cause backlash.  We need to pick our battles using our core competencies (interoperability, web applications, solid analytical tools, ???) as leverage.
Third, there is a real lack of bridge components to allow organisations to migrate their infrastructure a piece at a time.  This is largely because the dominant proprietary vendors have a tightly closed architecture (for good reason; it buffers their cost-recovered software from becoming commoditized).  The projects that are working on these bridges need our support.
We also need to focus on ease of use and documentation; features that user of proprietary software are accustomed to.  Not to the same level, but enough so that they can get started relatively easily.
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