Because the software industry is a relatively new and complex human endeavor, growth in the sophistication of the FOSS community, in its small way, mirrors similar stages in the evolution of civilization. Now, at their current stage of evolution, the software and technology industries are most advanced in the developed economies. But they are facing broad new competition from the developing world. The two sides of the digital divide can choose to compete each other out of existence, or they can rise and together meet the challenges created by their global interdependence.
Governments are in the cross hairs of the forces of globalization. For everyone to benefit fairly, governments in the developing world must adopt an information technology policy that balances the interests of international trade and collaboration with increased self-reliance and knowledge creation.
National Linux distributions have special responsibilities. They should encourage a nation's open source activities as broadly as possible rather than present an isolated solution based on inevitably limited resources.
OSS can be harnessed to its full potential to help build knowledge economies in developing countries.
Open source software and traditional knowledge are close cousins in the same family of shared human knowledge. In the digital age, misapplication of concepts of property rights may strain the natural harmony of the family.
Weak industry momentum is prompting China to re-think its open source software business strategy. This is a good time for China and others to look beyond product models based on traditional proprietary thinking, and see the wider doors of opportunity that open source software services can open.
There is concern that GPL-covered software may be unworkable in up-and-coming developing countries where rampant piracy may ultimately compromise IPR protections inherent in copyright law.
FOSS has helped revitalize the academic model of knowledge cultivation which is being adopted by many of today's information harvesters.
In developing countries, new business and government processes enabled for ICT can only be nurtured by using open source software.
Cheap PCs for the billions of digital have-nots are still expensive and, worse, are not designed for the people who need them most.