Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One Eye on the Flag

I don't think I'm telling anyone new news when I say that most entities are switching to open source because it saves them money. Brazil, Spain, Norway, China, India, there's a whole list of players that are really interested in saving multiple millions from doing the switch. Guess who is pretty far down the list - The United States.

You know why these 'foreign governments' are switching to open source? A popular reason that is given is that they are unhappy with "the US lead in the software world." Frankly, I'm not quite sure what that means exactly, but it strikes me as somewhat nationalistic. It got me thinking - what if all of my desktops were running an operating system that came from Honduras? Honestly, I don't think I would like it either; too much control, too many dollars going out of the country.

The overall effect is that foreign nationalism actually pushes them in the more sustainable direction, while our nationalism pushes us in less sustainable direction. So when you are considering a change to Linux or any open source product consider this as well - are you swayed by going the Microsoft direction just because Microsoft is an American company? If you are, that eye on the flag might distract you from the bottom line.

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