ESRI Withdraws From FOSS4G WMS Shootout

Aw shucks.Aw shucks.

Like many people I was shocked and delighted with ESRI’s announcement that they would enter ArcGIS Server in the annual FOSS4G WMS shootout. “ESRI supports interoperability with the OSGeo and open source community and, as such, are happy to participate in the OSGEO demonstration-‘shootout’ at FOSS4G,” proclaimed Satish Sankaran, ESRI Product Manager for Interoperability.

The FOSS4G shootout has been going on for a number of years, with the two regular contestants being MapServer and GeoServer. The shootout compares performance of WMS servers in a wide variety of uses cases. Aside from performance stats and comparisons, it also leads to performance enhancements and bug fixes for the software involved.

Having used MapServer, GeoServer, and ArcGIS Server, I was stunned ESRI would agree to this. While I’m generally ambivalent toward AGS, one thing I wouldn’t accuse it of is having an overabundance of speed. It only recently caught up to ArcIMS, which isn’t exactly a racehorse. My only thought was nobody in ESRI’s shop had tried GeoServer or MapServer and were unaware of the very public face stomping they had signed up for.

ESRI must have belatedly figured this out, because they backed out at the last minute. While not having the numbers to compare is a drag, it was probably a better business decision to take the heat over backing out than to have AGS get utterly spanked at a major conference.

So I can’t fault ESRI over the decision, disappointing as it is. Kudos for the story though. I’ve been sitting on that disappointed dog image for weeks.