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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some things I overheard/thought/noticed on the first full conference day:

“If ESRI had ‘t existed we would be 10 years ahead of where we are now”
[Unnattributed quote is back. It was on vacation while I researched it further. Removed 9/25. I removed the “(OSGeo)” after “we” because that was my interpret, which is not really fair in the situation. Why is this happening? After I posted the quote, someone from whom I didn’t hear it wanted to clarify it. So, I had to confirm from whom I did hear it…]

One attendee shared that the big issue in the move from proprietary to open source didn’t have anything to do with functionality, but rather the learning curve.

The demo theatre is all live demos - no “slideware.”

In one session I attended with two EDU papers and one PPGIS paper, the room filled to nearly overflow for the latter.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 11:38 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’d never heard of Conway before, but he’s a famous PERL guy and author. It was clear from his title this presentation was “old:” Geek Eye for the Suit Guy. Further, based on its “slickness,” he does it regularly.

That said, his one hour talk, focussed on getting us “geeks” up to speed on how to convince the “suits” about open source using and emotional/rational/money argument was very funny. It may have been too funny such that the audience wasn’t ready to question anything in it. First he outlined how businesses work (I paraphrase without adult terms):

Businesses exploit something/someone (which doesn’t know its value), raise the price and resell it for more.

The bulk of the talk, the part everyone seemed to be writing down (I was asked by several people to share my notes) for later were the ten questions/challenges geeks need to answer for suits once they consider open source as a viable option. This is a quick summary:

(1) But SCO owns UNIX?
(A) No, that whole thing was a business play by SCO to raise the price before management dumpted the stock. Oh, and if they acutally did (the court said they didn’t recently) the open source community would code around it.

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 11:08 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The opening session of FOSS4G (OSGeo’s open source for geospatial conference) being held this week in Victoria started with an interesting sight: a large well-packed room, two large video screens, and people looking for seats. Conference chair Paul Ramsey of Refractions Research noted the attendance at 670, about twice that of the last such conference I attended two years ago in Minneapolis. Last year in Lausanne, Switzerland the total was 535. Paul offered up his theme/advice for the remaining three days: make a connection to help grow the community. That’s not so different than ideas suggested at other conferences, but I always find it easier to do at this event.

Autodesk as a platinum sponsor got the first slot and Geoff Zeiss offered what I consider the Autodesk party line about standards, failing infrastructure, aging workforce, convergence, dis-enfranchised field staffers (who use geodata but have no real input in its update/quality)... He also noted Autodesk’s client San Fransiscos’s urban forest project, a MapGuide Open Source implementation. This was the first time I “got” it was a public participation site. Somehow I think that got lost in the initial media sweep. He also noted DM Solutions’ Fusion, a framework that will allow editing from the field, among other things. The announcement of the acquisition of Mentor Software and the plan to turn its coordinate transformation libraries open source as an OSGeo project was a yawn for most. I explain why it’s important at Directions Magazine.

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by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 10:22 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update: Ingress is supporting OSgeo at the Supporting Sponsor level. That is, the $10,000 level. Full info on sponsors here.

—- original post 9/24/07
I guess everyone is here in Victoria (for FOSS4G) so no one saw the release. The exact nature of the support is not detailed, but since I’m here I’ll see what I can find out.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 05:54 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The vote is in: the cost will be $750. Of note:

[Hawkins County Commissioner] Mallett told the commission the reasoning for the charge has nothing to do with an alleged “grudge” against Kingsport, as was suggested by Mount Carmel Mayor Gary Lawson in a recent Times-News article. Mallett noted that the $750 charge was the same that would be charged if he or any other county resident, public utility or municipality requested the maps.

[County Assossor Don] Cinnamon added that he has sold two GIS maps for $750 in the past, although he couldn’t recall the names of the purchasers. He said this is the first time a request for maps has been made by a Hawkins County municipality.

This is a perfect example of how GIS is not about technology but people/politics. It’d be great to get a statewide policy on such things…


—- original post 9/18/07——

The story: The Hawkins County (TN) Commission’s Budget Committee voted to recommend thte town of Mount Carmel be charged $750 for a CD of the county GIS. The county has never in the past charged any municipal or state planning agency for a copy of the data.

The explanation: The answer, it seems, is that Mount Carmel hired, Kingsport, a neighboring city to provide planning services. It previously had a contract with the state. There’s a bit of a grudge against that city. That’s annoyed Commissioner Virgil Mallett, who proposed the fee.


by Adena Schutzberg on 09/25 at 07:59 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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