Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A New Software Manifesto for India

Wow, here we go again. I come across one old email, follow a cool link I'd forgotten about and a few minuts later I've blogged about 200 articles. That's what happens when I'm insipired.

In this case it's about the rise in the open source movement.  An article showing several calls for open source software to underpin democracy in India.  I'm hearing time and time again articles and speeches from very high levels such as president Obama of the US enthusing about the benefits of open approaches. 

Perhaps the best slogan I've heard is 

That kind of says it all. I'm excited because I really can see a time when so much of what used to cost becomes free ,or virtually free through micro payments. I keep wondering if this kind of rhetoric has been around for years and I haven't noticed it. Maybe because I'm working in OSS I'm just hearing more about it. Yet in truth the places I'm hearing about it bbc news, cnn etc are all public places that didn't report these things before. 

I also believe it's because the current rich nations are feeling much stronger competition from those developing across the globe. I've heard a lot about many including the giants of inda, russia, brazil and china who all have the potential to eclipse the current elite, particularly the US. This new class are looking for efficiency and driving down costs. Building new business models all of this following the old adage of necessity is the mother of invention. 

Put it another way I just see it as evolution but applied to humans, populations and markets. To bring about the rise of developing nations sooner they put pressure on the incumbents grazing in their pastures and putting evolutionary pressure on the entire ecosystem. A simple way of looking at things is that we all need to feed. That's what the competition is really about. But in markets and communities feeding is not just about resources such as food and water. There are plenty of solutions there. It's generally about money and thus how we can all trade for the resources we need. 

So it makes sense for those with less developed economies to address this need by finding ways to bring the cost of resources down thus increasing the value of money by ensuring it can buy more resource. Of course this means that the pressure goes back on the supply end of resources. Because more and more people will be able to afford things. However right now, particularly with the internet. The ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently and consequently provide real solutions to those in need is increasing exponentially. 

For example the ability to help those without water, get it by all sorts of means is improving by the day. All because it's easier for many people with lots of dfferent ideas can connect with those in need and suggest solutions. Entire groups of people can engineer a solution and explain to those without water how to replicate the new solution. I could go in depth but I don't have time. The real point being that we can all help each other more easily and movements such as open source will soon spread to open manufacturing where I can see people documenting their mechanical solutions simply for others to follow. Match this with the previous example and you could provide fresh clean drinking water for thousands accross the globe. 

Why would you do it? For many reasons, because you'd save thousands from water borne diseases and because you just wanted to help. 

What do you get? the satisfaction that you're paying it forward. You get to watch news of the changing fortunes of these people and know you made a difference. YOu could probably make a little money. Putting a donation link on the site. If the community you helped got on its feet they could very well contribute and maybe for a long time. I wouldn't expect that to be the point though. 

I can see I'm now going on. Getting a tear in my eye as I dream of a better future :-). It's an exciting time. I feel that quite a bit of history is happening and this new century is marking important new approaches. 

Let's see how it all pans out
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