Just a short response, The best reception I ever got about open source in government was by saving a project (in the gov) a measureable amount of money (enough to have someone take a risk on saving money anyhow) and by drasticaly increasing productivity. This was achieve by moving from an older and well known image processing suite to using GDAL for a repeatable and scripted process. Increase of productivity by a factor of 12 (eg one person was now doing the same work achieved by 12), and savings of over 100K in licensing fees multiplied by each year the project progresses. The costs of a few months of in-house development quickly paid off. Managers always like going back to their boss and saying they're ahead of schedule.
Now infrastructure let us down because we over taxed the network and filled up storage arrays way too quick and the project never scaled to accommodate. We moved to a "just in time" model. However the software, a FOSS solution, was not to blame. Poor architecture and scaling was. This success, however, led to enough trust to consider supporting some FOSS development. The contractor let us down though and failed to deliver. This was the quickest way for the once believers to loose faith and trust. So there is an example how FOSS is great, best of breed, superior, less expensive and a FOSS development company over one small contract can reverse the progress. Inhouse development of a FOSS solution worked, external contracting failed. Just one perspective. -----Original Message----- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Landon Blake Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 19:15 To: OSGeo Discussions Subject: RE: [OSGeo-Discuss] Re: FOSS4GIS business models Markus wrote: " I have to say that I am a bit surprised that I got the impression (from the remarks by Paul and others) that the same is not possible in Northern America!?" I'm no expert, but I think most people involved in FOSS development in America would agree that the political climate for FOSS in this nation can be very hostile. Microsoft is a very powerful lobby, and ESRI is fairly entrenched in the government world. (This may not be the case in some universities and far flung government offices, but it is definitely the rule.) >From my own experience with other developers from OpenJUMP, which are mostly >outside of the United States, support of FOSS by European governments is much >stronger than here in America. I find this somewhat ironic, since it seems our >publicly funded geospatial data is much more accessible than in Europe. Landon -----Original Message----- From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Dr. Markus Lupp Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 4:03 PM To: OSGeo Discussions Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Re: FOSS4GIS business models Gilberto and all, I would like to give some comments on this from the perspective of a GIS company with an Open Source business model, I hope you will find them of interest. lat/lon was founded in the year 2000 as a private company (in Germany) and had from its beginning an open source business model. We do consulting and software development for GIS projects, mainly in the context of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI). Most of the project solutions we develop are based on deegree, a library tailored for interoperable SDIs that was originally developed together with Bonn University. We compete with other vendors, proprietary and open source based alike, on the same grounds (software quality, price, quality of support and so on). With each project we do, we develop deegree a step further, we have no source of funding that does not come out of projects we have to apply for first. I do not want to go into too much detail, but we do pretty good, which means we can pay our bills and have continuous growth year by year. Also there is a number of other companies by now that are developing solutions based on deegree, some of these companies are based in neighbouring countries. Now to the question of government intervention. After reading Gilberto's mail I asked myself what is meant by this term? In Germany (where lat/lon so far is mainly active) there is no official policy supporting open source software. There is a number of guidelines that suggest so, but all public bodies are free to do how they like. But there is a growing support from people in governmental agencies who decided by themselves that they want to use more open source software (Gilberto - is this what you mean by indirect support?). Still - as I said - there is not any kind of "protectionism" for Free Software. We (and other companies doing the same job) have to convience our clients that what we offer is good value for money. So from my point of view it is possible to compete in the GIS market using an open source business model without any high-level government intervention (although it surely helps). Perhaps Germany is special in this regard, but I doubt so - we are getting more and more projects in neighbouring countries as well. I guess that there are other companies having similar experiences. I have to say that I am a bit surprised that I got the impression (from the remarks by Paul and others) that the same is not possible in Northern America!? Best regards, Markus Gilberto Camara schrieb: > Dear OSGEO Discussion List members: > > Paul Ramsey´s remarks are right on target. > > First, GIS is a large arena and there are different motivations for > developers, that prevent them from joining a single project such as > uDIG. > > Second, it is very difficult for a private company to develop a > world-class FOSS4G product and survive based only on consulting fees > for the commercial sector. > > Third, to overcome these limitations there is a need for governmental > intervention, which may be direct, as in the case of Catalonian > government´s support for gvSIG, or indirect, as in the decision of > Germany to support open source software. > > In Brazil, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has been > supporting local GIS development for 25 years, with a lot of success > in our national user community. > Without official support, there would be no local FOOS4G development > in Brazil. > > In 2003, I did a F00S4G market survey and published the results as a > chapter of a US National Academy of Sciences book: > "Open Source GIS Software: Myths and Realities" > <www.dpi.inpe.br/gilberto/papers/camara_open_source_myths.pdf>. > > We analysed 70 FOSS4G software projects taken from the FreeGIS list, > and divided them into three categories: > networked products (e.g. GRASS), corporate products (e.g., PostGIS) > and individual products (e.g., CAVOR). From each product, we assessed > its maturity, level of support and functionality. > > Our main conclusions at the time were: > (a) Only 6% of the products were developed by networked teams. > Thus, the "Linux paradigm" is the exception rather than the rule. > (b) Corporations (private or public) are the main developers of > successful open source products. Corporations account for 41% of > all products. > (e) Individual-led software (a small team of 1-3 people) have > less quality and more mortality than the above. > > These results show that the impetus behind successful open source > software was not coming from altruistic individuals working in the > midnight hour, but from professional programmers. > I consider that a similar result would be obtained today, should the > assessment be repeated. > > This analysis was further elaborated in a JASIST paper: > "Information Policies and Open Source Software in Developing Countries" > <www.dpi.inpe.br/gilberto/papers/camara_fonseca_jasist.pdf>. > > 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. > > Best regards > Gilberto -- Dr. Markus Lupp l a t / l o n GmbH Kupang-NTT Indonesia phone +62 (0)81 339 431666 http://www.lat-lon.de http://www.deegree.org -- _______________________________________________ Discuss mailing list Discuss@lists.osgeo.org http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss Warning: Information provided via electronic media is not guaranteed against defects including translation and transmission errors. If the reader is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. 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