Geography and collaboration

Russ Pavlicek
In his InfoWorld column this week, Russ Pavlicek addresses a sensitive issue: the relationship between open source and outsourcing:
It is true that many software tasks are being farmed out to less expensive foreign programmers, but it is false to say that open source is responsible for this migration.
The presence of millions of older PCs in the world with near-zero market value means that some of these machines will eventually work their way into the hands of foreign computer students with limited budgets. The availability of open-source software makes many of those machines useful to these students -- or at least "legal."
The rising number of these students overseas creates the supply that will meet the demand of some American businesses to lower software development costs. Open-source technology did not cause this situation, although it does allow cash-poor students to use legal software instead of resorting to illegal copies of commercial software. [ The Open Source: Boon or Bust?]
A year ago, Dave Winer accidentally included the wrong image of me in a posting on Scripting News. The picture was, in fact, of an Indian programmer named Nish, who had written an article on C# that I found useful. A year ago, Nish's bio read:

Nishant S.
I am from Trivandrum, India. Sometimes I wish I was in a more developed country where I could have DSL and a 19" LCD monitor.

And today:

Nish is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP and is currently working as a software engineer for G2RM Corporation which is based in Mountain View, California. He is originally from Trivandrum, India where he was born and where he spent the first 25 years of his life.
Nish might return to his country or he might settle down in one of the countries he has visited.

Way to go, Nish!

As I mentioned last year, I visited India a decade ago, and had the honor of meeting some of the students that Russ describes in his column. It was clear then, and is clearer now, that the accident of geography will no longer prevent the flow of knowledge, talent, and skill across borders. IT is becoming an international meritocracy, whether the U.S. is ready for that or not. On the eve of a divisive war that most citizens of the world seem not to want, it's worth contemplating what binds us together. Clue: there is no conceivable new world order that is not based on collaboration.

PS: Trivandrum is still terra incognito to TerraServer,

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