Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats - WSJ.com

Read the full article for a timely reality check (via Patty Seybold [I haven’t been able to get into “retweet” mode yet…]).  I think it’s time for me to go dust off and review my copy of “In the Beginning … was the Command Line” (also available for reading on-line here)

At the end of 2010, the "open-source" software movement, whose activists tend to be fringe academics and ponytailed computer geeks, found an unusual ally: the Russian government. Vladimir Putin signed a 20-page executive order requiring all public institutions in Russia to replace proprietary software, developed by companies like Microsoft and Adobe, with free open-source alternatives by 2015.

The move will save billions of dollars in licensing fees, but Mr. Putin's motives are not strictly economic. In all likelihood, his real fear is that Russia's growing dependence on proprietary software, especially programs sold by foreign vendors, has immense implications for the country's national security. Free open-source software, by its nature, is unlikely to feature secret back doors that lead directly to Langley, Va.

The final sentence of the article:

The irony in these developments is hard to miss. Information technology has been one of the leading drivers of globalization, and it may also become one of its major victims.

A Walled Wide Web for Nervous Autocrats - WSJ.com

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