Last year Stefan Steiniger and Geoffrey Hay published an interesting article in Ecological Informatics: Free and open source geographic information tools for landscape ecology. They introduce the concepts of free, and open-source, software and provide examples of the kinds of spatiallandscape ecology problems that can be tackled using a variety of the tools available. I think the best bits are the several tables, which provide links to many of the free GIS packages available.
The ever-expanding open-source geospatial community provides an interesting alternative to the industry heavyweight, ESRI, who plan to release the latest version of their ArcGIS package later this year. Perhaps this partly explains the unusual enthusiasm with which the open-source geospatial movement is promoted.
James Cheshire’s post on free GIS resources makes an interesting companion to this post.