A few weeks ago the domain registration for Portable GIS came up for renewal and I finally made the decision to transition it formally into retirement. This can hardly come as a surprise to people as it’s a while since I last did a release. I promised a blog post about why, so here it is! There are, as you might expect, multiple reasons for my decision, but tl;dr it’s basically positive, and says more about the progress of open source geospatial software over the last few years than anything else.
Firstly, there simply isn’t the need for it anymore. Initially it was hard to set up and configure for anyone with less than a passing knowledge of command line usage and configuration. These days the installation process has improved immensely. Furthermore, organisations are more likely to provide installations of the core packages- they are (mostly) no longer viewed with FUD.
Secondly, I can’t keep up. I used to be able to put aside a few days over the Festive Break to update Portable GIS to the latest release of the components, but these days they arrive too quickly for me to keep up with. Not only has software development and deployment got easier, but the communities have grown and are more able to ship and bug test releases more quickly.
Those are both big positives!
On the other side, I no longer have any sort of windows computer that I could practically use for development, and find it hard to summon up the enthusiasm to keep working on something that seems, to me, as if it’s no longer needed.
The development of Portable GIS taught me an immense amount about software configuration, installation, command line wrangling and all sorts of other good things, and I believe it was quite useful to a number of people over the years. I will always be quite proud of it, but I’m also quite relieved to not have to worry about it any longer.