Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world

FOSS4G 2010 Day 2 or 3

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The second day of the conference was great as always, book-ended by an
interesting keynote from Michael Gould of ESRI and the now infamous
WMS shoot-out, complete with glitter vest and song, so I’m told!
Michael Gould’s speech on fostering greater collaboration between open
developers and ESRI has been widley reported on, but personally I
think he made an incorrect assumption early on, and missed the point.
He assumed that everyone is doing what they do to make money, and this
is probably the one conference where that is simply not true. People
work with, and use, open source software for many other reasons
besides money (although that helps) and lowering the financial
barriers to entry in EDN isn’t a massive incentive in this
environment. There was much talk of “open”, but with a very limited
definition of that term.

Ironically this was followed by Ivan Sanchez and his talk on game
theory and its application in software development- in which he
“proved” that the only way to “win” is to share, and then Helena
Mitasova’s keynote on open source software in academia.

Proprietary software is often thought of as “necessary” for a career
in “industry” and of course pretty much free to academic institutions,
so tends to dominate. However increasingly students need more choice,
even if it’s just so they can install a copy of the software on their
laptop.  Helena listed a number of institutions teaching open source
GIS, sometimes alongside proprietary GIS but called out for more
collaboration in preparing modules in areas other than desktop GIS.
More information is available on the OSGeo wiki.

I divided the afternoon between Postgis and Inspire- related talks,
and learnt a lot, particularly about Inspire. Open source
implementations are starting to be developed, which the UK could learn
from and contribute to.

Finally an honourable mention to the OpenStreetMap map-in-a-box
project (it’s law that there has to be at least one OSM talk). This
takes the pain out of deploying your own instance of OSM data and
keeping it up to date. Sounds fun, and I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

The Gala Dinner was a triumph- good food, wine and conversation. Many
late arrivals and bleary eyes this morning!

Posted via email from archaeogeek’s posterous

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