The Blog

I’ve been reading about the ArcGIS 9.2 release and some of the new features with puzzlement. The only need for our group is faster servers, not more features. There seems to be nothing in the new release that will address our needs so what to do? We can stay on 9.1 for the coming years and stop paying maintenance and probably be happy. Or I can do what a couple of folks have written about and look at open source GIS.

Well before I get too far into this, let me tell you that I’m not a Linux guy, nor do I have much knowledge of UNIX at all so I’m a little afraid to be honest of how far I can go. I see there are IRC channels and email lists, but in our corporate environment, both are blocked (but not blogging so go figure). Thus this will be my attempt at trying to install Linux on an existing Dell server and then get Mapserver working. Future plans might include PostGIS/PostgreSQL, but for now I’m sticking with simplicity as I’m really a Windows Server person (SQL Server, IIS).


13 Responses to “The Blog”

  1. October 18, 2006 at 12:33 am

    As admirable as it is to be working with Linux (and most of the OS stack runs faster on Linux) you don’t need to go there to get your feet wet. The majority of the web mapping components and PostGIS have Windows installs.

    MapGuide (my web mapping platform of choice) has really strong Windows support.


  2. October 18, 2006 at 1:56 am

    Seconding Jason’s comment. Learning new products is hard enough without the extra layer of learning a new operating system, particularly if you are planning on compiling from source. Mapserver can be one of the harder source compiles out there, due to the large number of library dependencies.

  3. October 18, 2006 at 7:43 am

    Thirded I guess. If you’ve got a spare Windows license, then stick it on the Dell server and grab a copy of MapServer for Windows. It’s a one-click installer for Apache, MapServer, PHP and a whole load of geospatial goodness. Follow the instructions and you’ll be up and running in minutes. There’s a similar installer for PostgreSQL.

  4. October 18, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Windows would be easier for sure, but I’d like to try and do this totally different than how we’ve been doing it before.

    RedHat is it for better or for worse.

  5. 5 Michel Wurtz
    October 19, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    IMHO, Redhat looks “industrial” Linux, but is not very user-friendly, mainly when you have to update the system.
    If you want to install linux, choose a really easy to install version : we choose ubuntu because it’s easier than windows to install (half an hour including updating the system on internet — and yes it worked over our password pretected proxy) needs only to answer a few questions (username and password, local time) and a single reboot after booting with the CD. After that, you have of course to learn a little unix style 🙂
    Ubuntu is a Debian deviation, and use a very effective update system (It’s very close to Windows, with a little windows telliong you that you have updates, and like windows, update is done in two mouse clicks).
    In fact, if you have a little time, try the 2 flavors of Linux and judges by yourself.

  6. October 19, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    when in linux, i’m an ubuntu guy myself, but redhat does the job too. I’ve found the most comfortable means to use windows and linux together is with vmware server. that way both “machines” use the same display, mouse & keyboard and it’s very easy to flip to windows when I just want to get something done without having to learn the linux way of getting there first. It could be a might easier setting up the network sharing betwixt the two though.

    when you’re not playing with Mapserver, also checkout Quantum GIS, uDig and OpenJUMP for geographic software which you can use in both worlds.

  7. October 19, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    RedHat is the only option given to me by my IT folks.

  8. 8 Sajith VK
    October 20, 2006 at 3:43 am

    For GIS work, any debian derivative distribution
    (or debian itself) is the best. Almost all the
    FOSS Geo software are packaged for Debain, but
    may not be available for Redhat. Ubuntu is the
    choice, according to me

  9. October 20, 2006 at 5:25 am

    Why are you limited to redhat ?

    I have had the best luck with Debian.


  10. October 20, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    Our company IT department has said RedHat or nothing. They run RedHat in other locations and I think our Oracle Financial stuff runs on RedHat too (though that is at our IT center). I’m sure I could sneak something else in, but I’d rather work within the system than outside.

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