Gilberto Camara wrote:
For the FOSS4G effort to be fruitful and sustainable, we need a very informed and candid assessment of our business model. My personal view, based on 25 years of experience, is that government intervention is essential for the open source model to survive beyond a handful of examples.
Gilberto, It is my personal opinion that sustainable success in the FOSSGIS arena does and will depend on sustaining support from the user community. In practice, government directly and indirectly represents a huge user community, and one with the capacity and organization to provide meaningful support for FOSSGIS development. When I speak of organization, I mean that government's can provide aggregate support based on a recognision of the broad benefits of investment rather than needing to justify all expenditures on a strict cost/benefit basis for individual projects. What is less clear to me is how we as a community can help governments put resources to work in a most constructive way. I think INPE has done great things, as have the gvSIG team. But, I am left with the impression that the same model applied widely by many national or state governments would result in a lot of duplication. I'd like to explore models where governments at different levels cooperate and contribute to joint development. In fact, perhaps the gvSIG model, with some (much?) of the support now coming from the EU level, and increased efforts to promote it's broad use is a good model for this. The other approach which has worked, in at least a trickle down way, is governments showing a preference for foss solutions where practical, and the consulting and integration companies that provide them based on existing project turning some of the contract funding into improvements back to the core projects. This model has been responsible for quite a bit of the work on and around MapServer for instance. Perhaps due to the relentless propaganda of the "anti government right" in North America, I have some concerns about governments throwing large amounts of money into FOSS development without clear thinking about how to make that money work efficiently. It is easy to imagine boondoggles that could suck up lots of money with little in the way of useful products. Best regards, -- ---------------------------------------+-------------------------------------- I set the clouds in motion - turn up | Frank Warmerdam, [EMAIL PROTECTED] light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam and watch the world go round - Rush | President OSGeo, http://osgeo.org _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss@lists.osgeo.org http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss