I want to gently respond to Robert Scoble’s post about offshoring and Open Source:
I find it ironic that Slashdot is worrying about offshoring of programming. These are the same folks who cheer everytime a country like Israel or China chooses to go with free software over software written in America that costs money. Nice to know they care.
At a high level, you we can state that offshoring and choosing open source software are driven by first-order optimization: it may be, in some cases, cheaper to use Linux or outsource work overseas.
However, I don’t think the comparison holds up that well.
Much of what’s outsourced is ‘commodity’ work. Even if the projects were written in C# rather than Perl, that work would go overseas.
China and Israel’s choice to use Open Source over Microsoft tools means that for those decision makers, the Open Source value proposition is better than Microsoft’s, Apple’s, SCO’s, or HP’s (to name a few vendors.)
I don’t see offshoring going away unless eXtreme Programming and other rapid methodologies are adopted by IT organizations, and are demonstrated as less expensive than outsourcing ‘traditional’ methods.
However, there’s a market for platforms, and Microsoft, Apple, and Open Source compete.
Robert, if Microsoft wants China, then Longhorn, as software you buy, has to be more compelling then good old grubby command line and scary window manager Linux. But regardless of if it’s developed in .Net, J2EE, Project Builder, or LAMP, most likely we’ll see most IT work developed in China and India.
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