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Software The Almighty Buck

Evangelizing OSS in the Caribbean 280

An anonymous reader writes "Here is an article on NewsForge regarding evangelizing OSS in the Caribbean. I'm wondering what others think of the impact efforts like this may have on software development jobs in the US. Is IT still a viable field to get into and if so will it last?"
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Evangelizing OSS in the Caribbean

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  • by kurosawdust ( 654754 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @05:54PM (#6425337)
    I've got the perfect theme song: "No Windows, No Cry"
  • oh yes (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2003 @05:54PM (#6425338)
    pasty-faced nerds roaming the streets of Kingston. I give 'em 5 minutes before they're robbed and hacked up with machetes.
  • Re economics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @05:57PM (#6425350)
    If they can't afford office they sure as heck can't afford joint developent of free code with U.S. programmers.
    • "The two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago (TT) relies on imports for almost everything except beer, rum, some locally-grown farm products, and oil -- and oil is its major cash export. That oil is expected to last, at most, another 35 years. After that, how is TT going to pay foreign companies for software licenses?"

      My family is from T&T (although I was born in Canada) so let me clarify a few things:

      It's more than 2 islands. There are a lot of little islands too but the 2 main ones are Trinidad

      • Re:Resources in T&T (Score:2, Informative)

        by joshsnow ( 551754 )
        T&T has 2 major exports, not one: Oil and drugs. Seriously. The US suppliers take their yhats down from Florida and sail into Tobago beaches. This is where they load up on that which was produced in South America, particularly Colombia. The other main industry is tourism which is obviously not a cash export.
        Not sure that staging drugs from South America through Tobago rates as an 'export' strictly speaking. Drugs are staged through the Bahamas, St.Vincent and the Grenadines etc, so nothing unusual th
        • Re:Resources in T&T (Score:4, Informative)

          by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@@@snkmail...com> on Saturday July 12, 2003 @08:35PM (#6425786) Journal
          "Is this true? True, the standard of living for many people is 'lower' than in North America or Europe, but the quality of life could be said to be higher in some cases. I remember the first time I went to Tobago, (to meet my future in-laws). We came from Barbados having stopped there for a week on the way out from England. Being in Tobago after being in Barbados was a shock, true enough. The way of life, the lack of creature comforts, no big department stores etc. However, after a few days, I found I wasn't missing them. Life was laid back, simple and cool."

          You'd be surprised how it has changed. It is getting a lot more touristic, although I think there are still no big department stores or strips with McDonalds, KFC, etc.

          But I do agree with the part about being laid back, simple and cool. I think the smaller the island is, the further back into the 'past' you go with regards to how relaxed and friendly it is.

          "Anyway, enough already. You forget to mention the racial differences and the break down of wealth between the different racial groups. You also forget to mention the TT Government monopoly on oil distribution and (AFAIK) production. The corruption etc. I personally think Tobago would be better off without Trinidad."

          True enough. Because I didn't grow up in TT, such things are not so apparent to me, but I am well aware of the struggles between the Afrian versus Indian populations and the stigmas that exist even today.

      • Brian Lara rocks! 'nuff said. (And so does the annual carnival at Port of Spain... waaay cool stuff)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The commercial, and particularly the retail, software industry is in big trouble from open source software. As software becomes a commodity, producing it will become less and less valuable to employers. Oddly, it still costs lots of money to create professional, polished consumer software, but the usually weak open source imitations are "good enough" for most people, or will be fairly soon. The real question is what happens when companies stop doing the basic research and innovation that open source deve
    • What makes you think open source developers only copy ideas? Part of the article (you read it right?) had to do with cabilities of open source software that are unmatched by anything else.
    • Operating systems should be free and open. Software should not. This is honest dissent, not a troll so moderators need to find someone else to mod down.

      Having Windows controlled by Microsoft instead of the public allows them to wrestle companies to their knees. On the other side, the open source movement has as many innovative ideas as Microsoft which is damn near zero. By creating free software, the open source movement kicks third party companies in the kidneys while Microsoft is efficiently pushing them down already.

      If Microsoft opened the source to Windows (perhaps 98) tomorrow, Linux would die a quick death or revert back to being a tool of hobbyists.

      In fact, that might be the ultimate weapon in any potential trade war with Europe. ;)
      • If Microsoft opened the source to Windows (perhaps 98) tomorrow, Linux would die a quick death or revert back to being a tool of hobbyists.

        No, IMO, we'd just have a near perfect wine in about a year... and Linux use would skyrocket. Be honest, have you ever used anything but windows for more than a day? Really? That kind of comment makes me think not.

        Re your software point... wtf? You want to ban people making open source applications? How much sense does that make? Law should not there to sustain any
    • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe ( 550052 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @08:51PM (#6425840)
      This sounds like an MS baiter to me.....open source solutions are as good as the users want them to be....if you don't like something, fix it yourself or pay an opensource programmer to fix it for you.....the real question boils down to "how much is that bug really bugging you?"...Even MS products are released with an "acceptable number of bugs"....let's not get hung up on perfection when simply getting the job done is more important.

      Here's my take on the "Software Ecosystem" as Bill likes to call it......people will forever onward need to get custom stuff done on computers...it's a fact. Not every project can be mass produced for the world and sold to billions of people for INSANE profit levels. I believe that most computer work is custom stuff, a little glue here, adapter there, specialized GUI for operators....this is where most of the rubber meets the road...it will always be there.

      OSS equalizes the playing field for people/companies that want to realize all of the profits themselves. No MS tax, no tax to others, simply your brain and as much as you can produce. OSS is also good for business because they own the software that they've paid to be created...no extra tax in the future for them either, no update charge, no extra fees to keep current on MS Exchange Server, Backoffice server or whatnot....they write spec's for something, it's produced, they pay once and own the source...if they need maintaince, it's easily purchased from a competitive field of qualified professionals.....it's good business.

      I've got no problem with people "buying" a solution either, that's part of the capitalist system. Define what you are good at, find a market niche and purchase the rest from people that are good at their respective areas.

      It's the tax created by MS's "network effect" that has lots of people chafing...the idea that somehow I MUST send a good percentage of my profits elsewhere....it's MS's "Toll Booth" philosophy that's gonna cause them trouble....people don't like paying tolls, and they usualy find ways to either "slug" the meters or sneak around....In this case, they build their own seperate "Information superhighway"....OSS

      OSS simply levels the playing field for programmers and buyers....we've all (people who use OSS) come to the conclusion that sharing a free OS, even with it's bugs (open to interpretation, I have not found any) is better than paying the increasingly draconian "Windows Tax" EVERY time you turn around. Pay for this, pay for that, pay to get inspected, pay when the inspectors kick in your door, coming to check your licenses. MS has turned their OS into a shakedown at every level.

      Most disingenous was Bill G's comment about OSS keeping countries poor and being fine if you want your country to stay backward and agricultural....bullsh*%....it gives them a "leg up" on the competition, not a deficit. This put's the competition strictly on brain power rather than lawyer power.

      Time's gonna come when everyone is gonna have to pick which side of the revolution they want to be on....I've already done that because I see that MS can't win this fight...there's no company to buy, there's nobody to really sue (yeah, SCO fud, but they are going home in a wheelbarrow)...This can't be stopped primarily because it's really good for business and programmers alike.....it's only bad for the "Toll-booth operators" like MS.....
      • The company I work for is a small .com -- yes, we're profitable :), probably because we actually have a viable business model... Most of our servers are really cheap Intel boxes, and we have some very inexpensive server-grade Intel boxes for our most critical servers. The savings just from not paying the MS "tax" for server software is nearly half our yearly IT budget(minus salaries). It's been years since we've bought new servers; our last hardware purchase was several gigs of ram for under $500, and th
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:05PM (#6425380) Homepage
    Jah, mon! We got the bobsled team feelin' irie after jammin' on tuxracer a few times.

    Besides, mon, lemme tell you -- after they said that Linux had superior rastability, we were sold.

    "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." (Redemption Song)
    • by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@@@snkmail...com> on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:33PM (#6425455) Journal
      " Jah, mon! We got the bobsled team feelin' irie after jammin' on tuxracer a few times.

      Besides, mon, lemme tell you -- after they said that Linux had superior rastability, we were sold."

      You obviously are not fluent in Caribbean languages ;-) What you just wrote there is Jamacian. Here is the Trinidadian translation:

      Ya, man! We got de cricket team feelin' rel good jammin' on de tuxracer a few times.

      Besides, man, lemme tell yeh -- after dey say dah Linux had de bes' reliability fo' true, we was all sole!

      Seriously, in high school in Trinidad, they teach english as a second language. This is according to my mother who was a teacher in that country for many years.

  • by henriksh ( 683138 )

    I'm wondering what others think of the impact efforts like this may have on software development jobs in the US. Is IT still a viable field to get into and if so will it last?

    IT will always be viable to those that enjoy the field. Maybe salaries will go down. So fscking what, if you enjoy what you're doing?

    The fact that Free Software is gaining in popularity is a Good Thing (tm). Yes, it will lead to lower wages and perhaps fewer jobs, but society as a whole will benefit.

  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Flabby Boohoo ( 606425 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:16PM (#6425408) Journal
    Now the RIAA will start a campain against the OSS pirates in the Caribbeab.... oh, wait....
    • Re:Great... (Score:3, Funny)

      by wadetemp ( 217315 )
      That's fine, they'll never catch them. The OSS pirates sail on the fastest ship in the world, the Black Perl. (Or is it the most obfuscatable ship, I can't remember.)
  • Will it last? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 )

    IANAEconomist, but I doubt that any of the US economy is going to last.

    Forget long-term sustainablity issues, and just notice the increasing flood of companies moving manufacturing offshore to cut their costs. Certainly a smart move if all else were equal, but as more and more companies do it there's going to be less and less money to go around for the American worker, and as the total worker income drops the total consumer spending will drop as well.

    And consumer spending amounts to almost 2/3 of the US

    • Please. I hear this same argument all of the time. Although we have challenges to overcome in the next few years, to bet that US economy will not continue to be the world wide leader for the concievable future is insane.

      The US started the IT craze. The IT industry is being increasingly taken over by countries outside of the US. The US started the biotech craze. The biotech industry, is and will continue, to be increasingly non-US based. The US is starting the nanotech craze right now. Eventually co

      • Re:Will it last? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Poeir ( 637508 )
        You've hinted at something I wanted to mention, so I'll reply to your post. This is primarily opinion, but I'm reasonably confident that fact would back it up if I bothered to do any research.

        For a long time (at least back to 1901, if not much farther), the main export of the US hasn't been cars, refrigerators, microwaves, drugs, televisions, computers, weapons or indeed anything physical. The primary export has been new creations that no one has ever done before. The product that the US will primarily
      • The point isn't whether the US will still lead world markets, the point is how many people in the US will be benefiting from this position.
        The US has between 30 and 40 million people living in poverty, that's a whole 3rd world country within the US borders. The US is the only G7 country without public health care. The top 1% in the US has more wealth than the bottom 95%. And with continued Reaganomics (like Bush's tax cut for the top 5%) this disparity will only continue to grow.
        I don't know about you, but
        • > The US is the only G7 country without
          > public health care

          Free healthcare is worth it.

          > The top 1% in the US has more wealth
          > than the bottom 95%

          And the top 1% pays 25% of the taxes.

          > Bush's tax cut for the top 5%

          People earning from $20K to $27K had their tax burden reduced by 10% with the tax cut.

          • > > Bush's tax cut for the top 5%

            > People earning from $20K to $27K had their tax burden reduced by 10% with the tax cut.

            The news said people making $30K will take home an extra $3 per week, $90K will take home a whopping $15/week.

    • That's a good thing - as wealth flows out of the US where it has been hoarded in recent years it will flow into poor countries. This will raise the standard of living there, whilst the standard of living in the US drops - evenutally they should meet somewhere in the middle, bar fluctuations.

      It won't quite work like that (because it's not a perfect capitalist market) but it's close. Look at the standard of living rises that have occured in the now-maturing tiger economies and even China - the next big wave
    • Your argument assumes that there is only a finite amount of wealth in the world, and that if we do not concentrate it here, it will go somewhere else and leave us impoverished. In reality, wealth is generated according to human production. If we (meaning the nation, or even the human race as a whole) produce more, we are more wealthy! Even if we have less 'money', which is just paper anyway, but more things we like, we are better off. Therefore not at all outsourcing is bad, as it allows us to enjoy the
      • but for society there is only one correct solution.

        Now, having said all this, I think you are quite right that the bottom could still fall out of the U.S economy, quite possibly due to consumer spending. I am inclined to think the levels of household debt are alarming here. Consumers do not have much more to spend.

        So your "correct" solution leaves the bottom falling out of the US economy?

        Just how do you define "correct"? You a Libertarian cultist or something? (I'm joking.)

        The real problem should be

    • Basic international economics. Without barriers, prices eventually reach an equilibrium. Country A has many peaches, so peaches are cheap. Country B does not have some many peaches, so peaches are not so cheap. The countries trade, Country A peach farmers win and country B farmer lose. Country A consumers win, while country B consumers most pay a bit higher price due to the increase in demand. However, the OVERALL QUANTITY OF CONSUMPTION INCREASES. That means the economy wins as a whole.

      Other countries ha
  • by janda ( 572221 ) <janda@kali-tai.net> on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:26PM (#6425436) Homepage

    There will always be a business need for programmers to glue software together and create things that nobody else sells or builds.

    For example, the IRS changes their reporting requirements every now and then. I don't know of any company that would risk an OSS bug in that kind of software.

    There will always be a need for people who can do software upgrades and systems work. A lot of that can't be sent out of the states because of the cost of shipping the computers around.

  • by yintercept ( 517362 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:30PM (#6425450) Homepage Journal
    You need to sell an awful lot of trinkets to cruise ship passengers to buy a proprietary office suite.

    Hopefully the OSS revolution will help rid the world of the indignity caused by cruise ships filled with passengers buying trinkets.

    As for the question of IT jobs. The software developing jobs will gradually fade into memory, but there is still a need for having IT skills, and there will continue to be jobs for network admins, data entry and report writers, etc.

    The main goal of OSS is simply to end the idea of software development as a business. Software development is only one piece of the pie.

    But back to third world evangelizing. Most US software companies have found out that they cannot afford serious OSS development. When the flaws of the revolution become apparent, it is natural to move to the third world.

    The question is whether or not the natives have caught on to the double edge sword. Preaching free software and creating a world where software is only taken and not traded, then the third world nimrods who fall for the propaganda will find their software development skills worth less than the local trinket makers.

    None of the natives are buying
    any second hand American Dreams

    Jimmy Buffet

    In someways I see this little Stalin-wannabe iconoclast preaching in the third world as the ultimate act of contempt. Giving your work away for free doesn't work in the first world. So you preach to the peasantry of the glories of the revolution to the third world.

    It is a fun example of history repeating itself. The fearless leader preaches the glories of revolution to the peasantry knowing full well that the dictatorship of the prolitariat intends to pave the roads of their paradise with the blood of their followers.

    • The main goal of OSS is simply to end the idea of software development as a business.

      Where'd you get that one from? Free software is not putting anyone out of business. If anything, it encourages innovation by commercial developers. If you haven't noticed, commercial software makers have been forced to make increasingly better software in order to stay competitive (just compare Win2K and Win98). That is good for the industry. As long as the industry stays innovative, nothing is going to move to the
      • The fact that the Microsoft monopoly has been bad for the industry does not make OSS by default good.

        I actually agree with most of the points about the advancement of knowledge and innovation that come equipped with OSS. I agree with the ability to see in the code, etc., etc., etc..

        But there needs to be an economic reward for the developers. What we need is something different from this world of mega monopolies and free software revolution against the machine. We need to figure out how to create a stru
        • Strange. You seem to have reversed half your viewpoints since the parent post -- in which you stated (in essense) that OSS was an evil communist plot to rob everyone of the ability to make a living. OK, I'll bite. I'm bored so what the hey. Maybe you aren't a troll afterall.

          But there needs to be an economic reward for the developers. What we need is something different from this world of mega monopolies and free software revolution against the machine. We need to figure out how to create a structure wh
        • There has to be an economic reward for the hard work it takes to become a great software developing center.

          There is. You:
          a) get nice software that everyone can use and boosts the demand for computers (and thus other, commercial software)
          b) get a group of experienced software developers that know how to write software

          You realize that some small company in Trinidad can't compete with the likes of Microsoft? You can't be a small fish in a pond dominated by sharks, you know.

          I would love to be able to mak
    • The main goal of OSS is simply to end the idea of software development as a business. Software development is only one piece of the pie. But back to third world evangelizing. Most US software companies have found out that they cannot afford serious OSS development. When the flaws of the revolution become apparent, it is natural to move to the third world.

      Completely wrong. OSS is about ending the idea of software development as an artificial monopoly business. It's not about "free lunch for everybody";
      • Wrong again. Unlike software licenses, OSS development is not an ongoing cost. You develop (or enhance) the software to meet your needs, release your changes back unto the community, and then forget about it. If those development costs are less than that of proprietary licenses, you are saving money.

        There are plenty of valid pro-FLOS arguments, but this isn't one of them. Your 'if' should be at least all caps--licensing a proprietary solution is almost always cheaper (monetarily) than developing the same
        • There are plenty of valid pro-FLOS arguments, but this isn't one of them. Your 'if' should be at least all caps--licensing a proprietary solution is almost always cheaper (monetarily) than developing the same thing in-house, because in the proprietary case, the cost of development is spread across all the licensees.

          However, in most cases, "in-house" OSS projects don't necessitate starting from scratch. So if enough of the work is already done, OSS is often still the way to go. There are a lot more IF's
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:34PM (#6425457)
    Not only that, OpenOffice and other Open Source programs can be customized and modified at will -- by local programmers instead of by companies overseas

    But one of the reasons MS is achieved so much success is because they made their stuff very easy to extend a long time ago, witness the gazillions of VB coders out there who use MS components in their apps, for example its a doddle to stick another button on to IE and code whatever you want behind it in C++ or VB taking advantage of almost all MS office functionality/disfunctionality depending on your point of view. Jesus the number of people I have seen working in major corps who depend on their self built spreadsheets to get anything done alone defies belief.

    I always find this a very disingenuous argument for OSS as it implies MS software cannot be customized when it obviously can. Yes you dont have the source code but the occasions where the OS source is required are few and far between for application developers.
    • by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @07:38PM (#6425649)
      You IP address has been noted and the OSS Inquisition has been dispatched. Slowly step away from the computer and place your hands above your head.

      You will be assim....errrr...not be harmed.
      Thank you for your cooperation.
    • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @09:15PM (#6425923) Homepage
      I always find this a very disingenuous argument for OSS as it implies MS software cannot be customized when it obviously can. Yes you dont have the source code but the occasions where the OS source is required are few and far between for application developers.

      How much more customizeable can you get than having the source code? What I mean is, if you have the source, you can do *anything* concievable with it. Not just the things that Microsoft predicted you might want to change (even if that does happen to be 99% of it).

      Say, what's the fastest way to rename 1,000 files according to some regular expression on your Windows box?
      • Most people don't need to do anything concievable with their computers... They need to do a small subset of those things that Microsoft predicted they might need to do.

        And Microsoft gives them a happy, shiny, easy way to mess just with those things... Most VB coders would fall flat on their face if they had to mess with a large, poorly documented, open source application writen in C/C++/Java/whatever (add to that the fact that many OSS applications are written in esoteric (by VB standards) languages like P
      • And when you need to send the file to someone else on their computer, they need your modified code, along with the code that someone else hacked together to add something else for another file. And now this middle person has two patches which may be incompatiable.

        Whereas, with the windows version, two people send one person two spreadsheets with VBA in it. It works - albiet probably has virii in it too, but oh well.
        • by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Sunday July 13, 2003 @12:16AM (#6426568) Homepage
          And when you need to send the file to someone else on their computer, they need your modified code, along with the code that someone else hacked together to add something else for another file. And now this middle person has two patches which may be incompatiable.

          Right. That's why everybody submits their patches to the original author, who merges them, ensures they are compatible, and releases a new version that works for everybody.
    • Why customize . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Idou ( 572394 ) *
      when you are going to be forced to upgrade at some particular time that you have no control over?

      How can a company afford to pay programmers to customize after paying monopolistic prices to get basic functionality?

      What if some of the tools I want to use are not part of the MS collective, how will I get the MS parts to talk to the non-MS parts (I have actually taken an Excel file, dumped it into .csv in both Excel and Open Office? I don't know if my version of Excel has some kind of bug, but its output was
  • Dah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:37PM (#6425471) Homepage
    Is IT still a viable field to get into and if so will it last?

    No. Absolutely not.

    Alice spends 40 hours a week at work developing databases, and 40 hours a week working on OpenOffice.

    Bob spends 40 hours a week at work writing an office suite, and 40 hours a week working on PostgreSQL.

    I will use Alice's office suite, and Bob's database.

    Think hard: Did you all expect your open source project to put everyone else out of a job but not you?
  • by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:40PM (#6425475)
    Basic programming jobs will leave the US. As applications get more complex there is less incentive to hire local programmers to do basic code work. I can hire foreigners to do the grunt work or use OSS toolkits/libraries to save money. I can then put that money into my core business which is marketing. Everyone that works at a software hous knows that marketing runs the show.

    Th US has always exported jobs. I started in IT in 1989 as an IT Manager and have avoided the development and engineering jobs like the plauge because they where being outsourced. In 1994 I changed my focus from IT Managment to security because better network management tools had arrived an made it easier to outsource IT Management. Through the 90s I watched my IT friends getting laid off as the companies they worked for outsource management to IBM, Exodus, C&W, ... In 2003 I took a promotion from Dir of Corp. Security to Dir of Production Operations and was laid off several months later after increasing uptime and everything else. Did I know that I would probably loose my job by taking the promotion? Yup! As a start-up on the decline I realised my director of sec. position was irrelevant so I angled for the Dir of Ops job which was very relevant to the company. I got the job and made improvements which benefited the company and I probably expended my employemt by over a year. Because I took the initiative to provide a service that my company needed I made out pretty well in the severance area.

    It's up to me to make my self relevant to US employers and I have found that the easiest way is through being in management (though the politics are a bitch). You can't make an impact or change the world if you are locked in cube coding our trapped behind 15 miles of cable in a server room.

    • It's up to me to make my self relevant to US employers and I have found that the easiest way is through being in management...You can't make an impact or change the world if you are locked in cube coding our trapped behind 15 miles of cable in a server room.

      Thank you, from the bottom of my cube-locked heart. If it weren't for folks like you, who would make all the outsourcing and layoff decisions?
      • Since, you brought it up. When I said the politics are a bitch I meant it. When I took that promotion I laid off several members of the team I took over. Why? They where under performing. I replace them with qualified people from my old department who would have been laid-off themselves. As Dir of security I oversaw the lay-offs of 400 people within the company. Only 3 where my decision. I fought to keep the people that where loyal to me and did their jobs well. Thats all any manager can do. I put my ass on
    • Basic programming jobs will leave the US. As applications get more complex there is less incentive to hire local programmers to do basic code work. I can hire foreigners to do the grunt work or use OSS toolkits/libraries to save money.

      Huh? This doesn't make any sense. As applications get more complex you need programmers to do complex programming, not grunt work. I mean, there's nothing saying foreign workers can't do that, but complex applications certainly do not mean you need more grunt workers. If

      • I had a complex dev project with 50 US programmers. Keep 5 brightest US programmers as project coordinators managers. Hire 70 programmers in India to do the implementation and still save money.

        Is it the right thing? I don't know it's just what I see going on. But I see US programming jobs moving towards R&D and Process Automation over the next 15 years. Will I be right...no idea. Take a look at what the big players are doing and saying and let me know what you think.
        They have systems building systems o
    • ...because you had so many typos and misspellings that it made my head spin. I'm not the type to pick on mistakes like this, but I marveled at the quantity and type of errors in such a short message:

      "Th US has always exported jobs. I started in IT in 1989 as an IT Manager and have avoided the development and engineering jobs like the plauge because they where being outsourced. In 1994 I changed my focus from IT Managment to security because better network management tools had arrived an made it easier to

  • In-house code (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:52PM (#6425516) Homepage
    An awful lot of code is purely for in-house applications. This kind of stuff simply isn't threatened by open source, in fact I think it is helped.

    Commoditise all the building blocks you want. Operating systems? Fine. Office applications? Yep - alright. Development tools? Yes please, we like that. When you're finished, you still left with a ton of tools that need plugging together to do useful work for a business.

    Now, if your business just needs Office to write letters and send invoices, plus a database to track stock, then you were never in the kind of software market I'm talking about anyway. If, however, you happen to be a multi-national bank needing realtime market data information feeding to custom databases, with their own trading front ends etc. - this kind of stuff is only helped by Open Source. Give us the middleware (in this set-up, the OS and database is almost immaterial) and we'll carry on building the final product thank you. Always plenty of work for developers here.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • by JessLeah ( 625838 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @06:56PM (#6425527)
    ...Guybrush Threepwood.
  • by PinglePongle ( 8734 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @07:05PM (#6425550) Homepage
    for people who are passionate about it. For the "this looks like a good way to make a quick buck" brigade, I think the game is up...

    Seriously, I've been through a couple of IT recessions, and it's never pretty. If you're good, care about your work and want to work hard, there are still plenty of opportunities. If you're into IT because it's well paid and involves no heavy lifting, you'll find it hard to get by untill the next boom (I've been through a couple of booms, as well). And in the confusion, lots of good people get laid off, and lots of clowns stay around - it's not fair, not clean and good people get screwed.

    So, right now, IT is like most other jobs - if you're good, enjoy the work, and have people-skills, you'll probably be okay. If all you want is a fat paycheck in return for an MCSE, bad attitude and the ability to use TLAs without blushing, no, IT is pretty terrible right now...

  • Story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @07:26PM (#6425613)
    My wifes family moved to from Jamacia to the US when she was 3. a few years ago we went to Jamacia and she was upset to see how poor the country was compaired to the US. The fact is as with most Caribbean nations more Jamaicans live outside Jamaica than live there. This is due to a lack of oppurtunity at home. If the people in these nations have more access to OSS or any technology it's a very good thing. They have more oppurtunity for education and we get more skilled immigrants.

    The US is an immigrant nation and for the past few years population growth in the US is being fueled by immigration because fewer US citizens are having kids. It only makes sense to outsource our our needs to countries with high migration rates to the US. South America and Asia. That way we increase our skilled population base.

    People like to attribute this to evil globalism or money grubbing multinationals but it's simple. If we don't have generations of skilled workers in this country it will cease to exist.This is not a bad thing for the US.
  • by lamontg ( 121211 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @07:31PM (#6425631)
    Is IT still a viable field to get into and if so will it last?

    Yes. But in the future it won't be enough to merely understand how computers work in order to make it in the IT field. You will need to understand how an IT department fits within the overall structure of an organization and how to meet the requirements of your internal customers. You will also need to understand how to scale your IT services within the organization. There are entirely too many bad system administrators out there who really need to get either educated or purged, and even the current IT downswing hasn't been able to do it. There are still too many people who are in the IT job market who should simply stop sending their resumes around. 1999 is over, and you weren't that good.

    If you can't think beyond "this machine is broken, here's how to fix it" to "this process is broken, here's how to fix it" then don't bother going into IT. There are already way too many people who are perfectly technically capable in IT but who have no idea of how to solve, or in some cases even identify, a larger problem.

    (And yes, I had a bad week at work)

  • Having recently been made redundant, I'm not sure that programming is a viable career option. One of the reasons for the redundancy was that the company is outsourcing development to India. OK, so the major reason was that we were the subject of a "merger" (takeover) and they wanted our customerbase.
    BTW "we" were the result of another merger which had occurred 18 months earlier.
    I see the combined company eventually employing only business analysts, project co-ordinators, salesmen and client liason people.
    • I see the combined company eventually employing only business analysts, project co-ordinators, salesmen and client liason people.

      With the exception of salesmen making in-person calls, I don't see any reason why these functions can't be outsourced as well.

      The last frontier is, , , management.

      While a CEO of a company who has outsourced all its core functions isn't going to render himself redundant on purpose, he has in effect, built an overseas organization capable of doing all the business the original or

  • Trinkets offensive. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooGoo ( 98336 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @08:09PM (#6425721)
    Selling trinkets to cruise ships. If I had to sell trinkets to cruise ship passengers to feed my family I would. It has nothing to do with the price of an office suite. It means that there is no need for office suites. There is no oppurtunity to use one whether it is free or not.

    These trinkets are usually hand made by familys to be sold. It's a family business designed to fit their markets and has to do with the "bandwitdth" of their ecomony and
    not the price of an office suite.

    The US economy has a ton a bandwidth to support many industries. Just because they don't doesn't mean it's bad for them.

    Begin Rant
    I'd much rather sell a "trinket" than stand on the corner begging for cash for food.

    It's not like OSS doesn't have a need for trinkets. Look at ThinkGeek.com selling trinkets to geeks. Ooooh look at the shiny light on my new Mach 3 combination LED flashlight, key chain, bottle opener, tire repair kit. Or my desktop refrigerator that holds a 6 pack of Geek Drink of Choice, or caffinated soap. What the fuck is caffinated soap for? Maybe it's for removing the blue thinking goo from my ass when I sat on it in my new ergonomic Quake Battle Chair.

    Maybe our economy has too much bandwidth.
    End Rant
    • I like the idea of economic bandwidth too. One of the biggest problems with the IT industry in the UK and facing tecchie grads right now is coming to terms with the fact that the economy just doesn't have the economic bandwidth to gainfully employ them.

      There is still a staggering number of incompetents employed in IT in the UK that the last recession didn't purge. They are the people who will buy trinkets. Hehe.
  • Its only downhill from here. No there is no future for most people in the IT field.. so no, one should not aspire to get into it..

    Find something longer term, like being an attorney..
  • Investment and reinvestment. Those two words are the root cause of the decline and the ultimate collapse of the IT industry. Read the article. Then read other articles about US companies outsourcing development to foreign countries and off-shore locations. In every one of them, the word investment is frequently used. In this case, it is the Carribean countries who may be able to invest the savings realized from moving off MS Office to OpenOffice.org in development of an IT infratructure and education.

    But t
    • to save a few bucks now, US companies are virtually guaranteeing that in a few years time, there will be limited to no opportunity for US citizens in the IT industry.

      Not only IT. Almost all R&D is exportable. Check the bioinformatics and drug chemistry mailing lists. How many American names can you find there? If I'm a chemical company, I'd love to have my R&D in a country where the folks can just chuck stuff down the drain when they're done with the experiment. And as for mechanical design -

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