The GIS world has a great selection of open source tools available to organizations at no cost, ranging from powerful databases to data visualization tools. FME is fully capable of plugging into these tools to enable spatial ETL and data translations in an open source environment, just as well as it does in a proprietary gis environment and can even as a bridge between the open source and proprietary gis worlds.
In terms of readers and writers, FME fully supports several open source data sources, including powerful databases like PostGIS. While PostGIS comes with a shape loader, FME’s PostGIS writer can enable you to load data from any format into the database, as well as perform transformations on the data while loading. The PostGIS reader can not only allow you to use PostGIS as a data source for your workspace, but it can also be used to plug into proprietary mapping tools, such as ArcGIS.
The wide range of formats FME can write to can also allow you to send data into open source platforms from popular non-open source back-ends like SDE or Oracle. FDO can be used to pull data from any format into MapGuide Open Source, and with FME Server you can stream live data out of any source we support into a format which is compatible with your open source client. For example, you can use an OGC service, or a data streaming service with GeoJSON, GeoRSS, or KML on FME Server as a bridge to stream data from Oracle, SDE, or even Smallworld into OpenLayers, uDig, QGis, or any other client which can connect to OGC services or stream data from a supported format.
Aside from supporting open source formats and making it easy to get your data into open source software, Safe also uses several open source components in FME. At http://www.safe.com/foss you can see a list of all the open source libraries used in Safe’s products, and download the source code. One of my first experiences with Safe was actually at FOSS4G 2007 where I was a geography student volunteering at the conference in exchange for a free pass. I remember being very impressed at the amount of energy a closed source software company was putting into a conference for open source gis. It’s great to be working with a company that can so easily co-exsist in both the open source and closed source gis worlds!