With a friend like ESRI, who needs enemies

So I’ve been checking out MapDotNet since James posted on it last week.  It isn’t for me as we don’t do .NET, but I like it in the sense that it is close enough to Mapserver that some folks might actually use it as a stepping stone to go open source totally.  Well beyond that I was reading through their blog and noticed this little gem:

By the way, I’d be less compelled to jump on the bandwagon here if ESRI hadn’t kicked us out of their partner program, then let us know that we were ‘not approved’ to attend one of their user group conferences.  What gives?  We still write software that web-enables their geodatabase technologies.  ESRI’s ArcSDE is a staple in our customer base.

This is so typical.  I’ve heard this over and over again from ex-ESRI business partners.  If you even think of competing against ESRI, they’ll kick you out of the program.  I bet you Brian Flood has been getting the cold shoulder from ESRI in the past year with his Arc2Earth program.  Logic would dictate that anything that sells more ESRI server software would be welcomed.  That isn’t the case, they’d rather see customers go PostGIS than stay with their ArcGIS line if that means allowing a competing product in the stack.  Freaking amazing if you ask me.  I’m just sitting back and waiting for ESRI to send James a “we regret to inform you that you are no longer part of the Business Partner program” because of his insistence to avoid using ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Engine.

If those at ESRI could look beyond ArcGIS Server and see the big picture here with ArcSDE, they’d see there is a huge market for that product (given all the press on PostGIS, Oracle Spatial and even SQL Server 2008).  Why they would want to limit its use to the horrible ArcIMS (I say this with love because I learned how to develop web mapping sites on ArcIMS and CF) and the slow and overly expensive ArcGIS Server (note to ESRI, 26 page object models is not a good thing).

We’ve already seen GIS folks being pushed aside because “ordinary” programmers are now doing the work that GIS pros used to do.  ESRI is destined to have the same problem as their users.  I mean lets get realistic here, do any of you out there ever forsee a time where ESRI severs will be powering the web?  Of course not and those who invest in closed platform products from ESRI are leading to their own obsolescence.  If ESRI doesn’t want folks using ArcSDE without ArcGIS server products tell them fine.  Just go to PostGIS and Mapserver (or MapDotNet if you swing that way) and enjoy being liberated from the noose.



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