GIS for people who aren't GIS people
I make money by selling free software. I sell it to smart people.
Okay, I don't actually sell free stuff. I just know how it works, so smart people who want the free stuff pay me to get it to work. Look, they're smart people. They could figure this stuff out, if they had the time.
But they don't. And they don't love Open Source GIS tools any more than they love any other software. They're not like us, in that regard.
We love FOSS4G because we love the amazing maps we can produce. We love FOSS4G because of the control we have over our data, and our tools. Many of us did incredible work on every single feature and processing tool and plugin. And we have all enjoyed the leaps and bounds that FOSS4G has taken to become the amazing playground that it is today.
Still, there are lots and lots (and lots!) of people who make maps, but aren't GIS people. They aren't map consumers, though, either! They are pure GIS end-users. They don't have time to troubleshoot plugins. They just want software that works the way they need it to work. And we, as a community, can be designing (and deploying!) with them in mind.
FOSS4G will dominate when these users think it is fast, flexible, scalable, beautiful, and easy. While that will require a lot of programming expertise, I'm not going to talk much about software engineering. My focus will be on deploying software for GIS end-users who are not themselves GIS professionals or programmers.
I'll do that by focusing on four areas that have lots of promise for making this hope a reality.
1. Tools we can make so that client deployments are easier.
2. UI and UX elements we can improve to make the software easier to use and more natural in the user's computing environment.
3. Projects we can undertake to make GIS more "plug-and-play" for non-GIS people. Default database schemas for particular industries or verticals, designed with standard workflows in mind.
4. Examples of great design and end-user awareness already present in FOSS4G tools and projects. Some of my favorite FOSS4G examples of clean design, functional geoprocessing, and elegant output.