OK, I’m the first one to dance on ArcObjects grave (In fact I suspect I’ll take my anti-love of ArcObjects to my grave), but others seem to like it.
…This all comes from the following fact: being a complete ignorant about ArcObjects and the ArcGIS API, I have been able to create the corresponding SEXTANTE bindings from scratch in less time than I needed to create any other bindings before. That means less time than the gvSIG bindings (an application that I knew pretty well), and way less than the OpenJUMP or Geotools ones (both of them softwares that I had worked with before, at least once).
This is basically due to the clean, well designed and perfectly documented API of ArcGIS, which, along with the additional Eclipse plugins, makes it very easy to develop new plugins and extensions for the software.
Now, let me just tell you first off. Sextante coming to ArcGIS - awesome! But the real meat of the matter here is if there is a well documented API, developers just love it (No matter how crazy the ArcObjects API may be). That is the real lesson for any project, proprietary or open source. Documentation matters!
In API hell, as long as there is documentation we’ll all be fine!