Open source ... globally developed, locally customized ...

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at
Sat Apr 22 15:02:59 UTC 2006

On Sat, 2006-04-22 at 10:44 -0400, Bryan J. Smith wrote:
> The same is happening in outsourcing today.  American managers save 90%
> and save on everything -- not realizing you can't outsource it all.  But
> what do they care, they'll be promoted and freed up by the time the
> software goes into production.  I mean, you have things like business
> logic and locale being developed by foreign developers who have no
> concept of American common law and business.  I constantly had to define
> American legal and other terms, and train developers on details.  It's
> one thing for them to write a low-level subsystem for communication
> (although some were utterly lacking in basic architecture/concepts), but
> to write user-interfaces, documentation, etc...  Nuts!

One thing I've been meaning to write on is why open source is better in
not only the global economy, but the market locale.  It highlights (and
solves) one of the chronic issues with past, largely American-led (and
ignorant), commercial software and sales overseas.

Linux is developed globally, to solve problems that are common and cross
boundaries, languages and other, more social details.  That is why Linux
is so technical strong, with a solid foundation to standards and

But what most people don't realize is that Linux is also very, very
localized.  While the software itself is developed world-wide, it is
customized into localized business logic, common law, language,
marketing and support. 

The distributions are collectives by and of software projects that solve
technical problems.  But the distributions are how the software, as a
collective whole, is regression and integration tested, put into form
and function for the locale, and not only marketed, but supported as

Take the commercial origins of Connectiva, Mandrake, SuSE, etc... out of
commercial aspects of Red Hat.  Here are South American
Portuguese-Spanish, European-French, European-German derivatives that
are largely a fall-out of an American-English distribution that probably
could never have been as localized, no matter what international focus
and support efforts Red Hat put into them.

Sure, more on the pure community end (even if there is commercial
support), we're seeing American-founded Fedora join German-founded
Debian, but that's largely because there are not the commercial aspect
that almost force locale with related marketing and support.  I mean,
even Debian founder Ian Murdock has Progeny for the more commercial
aspects -- and some of their focus (e.g., configuration management as a
process, not a product) doesn't market well to many American commercial
views (e.g., we want fixed product).

Now compare these _realities_ of locale, with related marketing and
support, when it comes to more localized Linux distribution focus to
those of ... say ... Microsoft?

Here's an American-English company that first makes assumptions in
software in the context of American business logic, English language,
American common law, marketing, support, etc..., then goes out and hires
the "lowest price the world has to offer."  Then it has to deal with the
differences is locale assumption in working in their developments back
into the American-English assumptions that make the product.  Then that
product is re-"translated" back into various foreign logic, language,
law, marketing, etc...

Yeah, after 2-3 levels, it's not only inefficient, but a _lot_ is lost.
Especially when you have Service Packs, Hotfixes, documentation, etc...
_only_ available in American-English at times.  ;->

Whereas Open Source starts with _global_ input on the _common_ locale
that "we all have the same technical problems."  And as they are solved
by the "best the world has to offer," each locale takes them, integrates
them into a distribution, with the logic, language, law, marketing and
support behind them that is far more locale.

Much more efficient and, more importantly, without all the
American-English assumptions.

Bryan J. Smith             Professional, technical annoyance
mailto:b.j.smith at
****** Speed doesn't kill.  Difference in speed does! ******

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