Article in Open Source Business Resource

Update: Now also in Directions Magazine.

Paul Ramsey has written an article for the Open Source Business Resource. Money quote:

Open source geospatial holds a number of lessons for other vertical markets. First, frontal assaults on the leading proprietary vendor are unlikely to succeed. In their core areas, the leading vendor has an advantage in technology development and existing mind-share. Usually, building enough technology to compete with a leading vendor head-to-head takes years of development, and a partially functional product will be ignored.

Second, disruptive changes in technology provide opportunities for open source. Most leading vendors carved out their advantage on the desktop during the 1980s and 1990s. The transition to web-based services has opened a temporary gap in the marketplace where existing vendors have a smaller technology advantage, and their marketing advantage is limited to their existing universe of customers. Open source can become the core for new service-based companies competing with proprietary software vendors.

Finally, new markets for capabilities are the most fertile opportunity of all. In geospatial, its expansion into daily life, through vehicle and device tracking, low cost aerial imaging, and handheld mapping, is growing the market exponentially. New developers and managers, without long-held preconceptions, are making technology choices. On a level playing field, open source Internet technologies are regularly winning.