The news yesterday that China’s largest software testing organization was joining the OSDL was at the same time a bit exciting and scary to me as an American-based developer.
The government-funded Beijing Software Testing Center was founded in 2002 with a primary goal of accelerating the development of China’s software export industry.
What this means for Linux could be great — I mean having the government of the most populous nation on earth pouring resources into the development of Linux is amazing. This should have a real impact of Linux’s development — especially in the Chinese market and other markets in Asia.
On the other hand, it also means that we as Americans are at risk of facing yet another formidable, low-cost competitor in the software and services industry.
Unlike Microsoft Windows, which brings revenues in the end back to the US in dollars, Linux allows countries like China to be much more in control of their own destiny — and dollars. It allows them to grow software industries faster and to keep dollars at home that would otherwise be spent on software made here in America.
If here in America we tie ourselves to Windows (and the innovation rate of a single corporation such as Microsoft) we may find the rest of the world taking up Linux and using it to accelerate innovation collaboratively at a pace even Microsoft can’t keep up with.