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Re: Documentation Standards was Re: [ox-en] UserLinux

On 8 Dec 2003 at 10:58, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

The free software revenue model simply outsources software
production to the third world. Bye bye jobs for western programmers.

Local support companies will remain eg; RedHat Europe's main purpose
is installation support. But as you'll note from RedHat Europe, its
employees don't do much programming - support is not programming.

Can you support these claims?

About RedHat Europe - I know a few of them there itself and I know 
well people who work closely with them.

If you mean free software revenue model outsourcing software 
production to the third world, then I posit a simple example - 
imagine you're a provider of Linux distros and have a consulting arm 
who ports their Linux onto consumer electronics devices for their 
manufacturers and provide support & installation customisation.

Now said provider is asked by a cash machine OEM to port Linux onto 
their cash machines, replacing the legacy DOS based system. The 
provider asks various third-party programmers they know to quote for 
developing the necessary drivers for the Linux kernel. They get back 
a figure. Then their Asian arm finds a programmer who can do the 
identical job for one third of the price. Guess which one the Linux 
provider will choose?

Free software is particularly prone to this because Linux skills are 
particularly available in third world countries over say .NET which 
costs a lot of money. Now I'm the first to say that the third world 
should get much more of global wealth, but I do recognise that 
western programmers are going to get it in the neck.

There'll remain jobs in local-sticky jobs like face-to-face support 
and installation. Bespoke software (which is rarely free software) 
will remain in the west the longest. But jobs for programmers 
(including proprietary, eventually) will move to the third world as 
it's economically inevitable - it's sufficiently cheaper that the 
extra costs created by non-local timezones and language aren't big 
enough. Especially if the commercial entity has or can find a third 
world based outsourcing provider such as the ones Accenture and IBM 
have opened.


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