Open Source Globalization

by Kevin Shockey

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Living in Puerto Rico and learning of open source made me curious. What is the state of open source in the world? After doing some research, I was impressed with what I found and I now believe that the biggest adoption rates of open source will be in China, India, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet Republic. As an example, today another Chinese Linux group joined the Open Source Development Laboratory (OSDL).

Red Flag Linux, the leading developer of Linux software in China, has joined OSDL and will participate in the lab's Desktop Linux (DTL), Carrier Grade Linux (CGL), and Data Center Linux (DCL) working groups. This comes as no surprise for Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. According to Cohen "OSDL is committed to the continued growth of Linux in what many experts believe will become one of the world's largest software markets: China."

One very simple way to look at my prediction is by examining the numbers. China and India represent about half of the world's population. When you factor the other areas I mentioned the percentage probably rises to nearly three quarters of everyone on earth. Many of these areas are ripe for adoption of FLOSS with strong motivation for autonomy, high piracy rates with strong efforts by companies to combat these trends, and struggling economies that will appreciate the low entry cost of FLOSS.

OSDL Membership

By the way, if you are wondering how to join the OSDL, visit their "Join OSDL" page to get the details. For $1,000 your organization can become an Institutional Member. For this membership fee, you receive access to technical mailing lists, technical sub-groups, the ability to join committees, and to attend working group meetings. Institutional membership do not, however, receive any voting privileges. Probably the biggest benefit of membership is access and influence with Linux Developers, vendors, and other member institutions. Membership also helps the OSDL fulfill their mission of accelerating the use of Linux for enterprise computing. Which makes membership all the more important.

What do you think of the globalization of open source?