Eine leuchtende grüne Ampel neben einer roten, die mit dem Wort 'GO' beschriftet ist.

5.1.2007 | Von:
Atul Chitnis

The Fox of Innovations

What would be a solution to that?

Well, the solution is to go and show them that getting involved in free and open source software is a lot of fun. And it's very productive in other ways as well. You get much better at your job, you learn aspects of team work that you wouldn't have heard of before; you're certainly not micromanaged, which is the way in any software firm these days. And you can actually learn to enjoy programming, developing, dealing with people, seeing people using your code.

One of the biggest advantages is this: In India, many people seem to think that all the good stuff happens only in western countries – what I call the "God factor" –, and we are people who should only worship. There's a belief that it's some kind of genetic difference. But because people are now getting involved in free and open source software, they're beginning to see that it's not like that. They begin to function at a peer level. And that kind of experience – working at peer level with any kind of people all around the world – gives you a confidence that rubs off on your day-to-day work with other people. You become much more confident, you have a much bigger picture in front of you.

Because in software companies as you would find them in India, you usually focus on very small things, immediate things, you don't look left, right, or at the big picture. You are only told, literally: "I want 600 lines of code by the evening." That kind of environment is not very productive, and people experience burnout with it.

A lot of people that come into the free and open source world say that for the first time, they're beginning to enjoy their work. From my perspective, that's a big thing, because it works at a human level, and it has a really major impact on how things are going to be in the future.

Open source software is often non-commercial. Is there a chance that it will actually raise the GDP, the economic welfare in a developing country?

It's not going to be directly responsible for it, but it will certainly influence that happening. By empowering individuals, you are empowering a nation. A nation is its citizens. We cannot fix everyone: We cannot fix the tailors, we cannot fix the mechanics. But we can make things better for the software people. And by doing that – and India has a very large software sector – you would be influencing the way the economic outlook of a country is going to be, yes.

Interview: Sebastian Deterding

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