Tool partisanship sucks

Esri might not quite work like Apple. Ok, likely not at all. But I’m pretty sure the demo computers at the Esri User Conference are vetted thoroughly before the event. Yet, Seth Stark has posted the following on Twitter:

QGIS on an Esri computer

QGIS on an Esri computer. Gasp!

So, some Esri employee was demoing ArcGIS Pro while having QGIS visibly installed on their system. I’ve seen the same thing during the Esri Developer Summit in 2015, thus I know this is not a gaffe. Breathe, open source GIS friends.

I retweeted Seth and added my comment:

I’m glad for every employee who knows . And vice versa, QGISers. Tool partisanship sucks, period.

Little did I know: Make an anti-partisanship comment and you might get partisanship. After several likes and retweets by some people, an open source developer responded with a series of what I feel were rather sarcastic or dismissive comments. He didn’t seem to be happy with ArcGIS for Home ($100 around here, last I checked), or appreciate the free tutorials, completely accessible and very good online help, videos and online demos that can be used in order to get a glimpse of what others (than QGIS, in this case) are doing in GIS.

I find it very valuable to know different systems and their approaches at doing GIS, data analysis, and cartography. I find some QGIS features – like rule-based symbology, colour blend modes, interactive styling, and qgis2threejs – immensely useful and I’m glad I know of them for when I need them. Besides ArcGIS and QGIS, I’ve also used SAGA GIS, Landserf, Geospatial Modelling Environment, R, GDAL and a few others for doing geospatial analysis and related tasks.

Tool orthodoxy or tool partisanship don’t help your customers either. If you consult people regarding GIS, I have a hard time taking you seriously unless you know the most important contenders and alternative approaches of our industry reasonably well.

Tool partisanship sucks, whether from the closed-source side or from open-source. In this case, Esri makes a point of showing more of an open mind.

Ralph Straumann

Ralph is a world-citizen, a geoinformation specialist by profession, and interested in many topics. Here, he'll confine himself mostly to things geo-visual.

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