So the big news out of the Esri UC was direct connect to spatial databases at 10.1. Sounds full of awesome. Oh but wait, what about the 99.999999% of us not on 10.1? How do we direct connect without SDE? Bill Dollins looked at PgMap when ZigGIS was closed. Says Bill:

I think PgMap is an impressive tool that should be able to support the needs of ArcGIS 9.x and 10.0 users going forward. It’s good to know that a tool is out there to continue meeting that demand.

Clearly those wanting to direct connect to spatial databases without SDE using today’s releases of ArcGIS need to use PgMap or QMap. The fact they integrate directly into ArcGIS Desktop workflows means that you can use them and quickly get working on PostGIS or SQL Server Spatial quickly. What are you afraid of?!?!!