Steve Citron-Pousty wonders if there are too many barriers to using open source GIS for the average user, especially those already knee deep in the ESRI suite. Steve’s got some good points that I’ve heard from some of our clients when we’ve proposed open source solutions (well some, I’ve gotten a couple hooked on FWTools).
I’ll play devils advocate here and say that if someone really wanted to go open source, they could just take their ESRI maintenance costs and apply that to a consultant who could help them deploy open source correctly. Technically that is the same as paying ESRI for maintenance/support. Rather than calling up Redlands, you’d just call up Canada.
**Update – **Steve wrote up a response to some of the discussion