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Software globalization affects build-versus-buy decisions at every level and phase of the software development process. One of the most interesting and controversial issues is the expansion of Linux, an open source operating system, into software development efforts in developing countries. Linux is an interesting example of a globally available software product that has nontrivial choice and productivity implications for software projects in developing countries. We examine the positive and negative effects of adopting Linux and ways to achieve the greatest benefits for developing countries and policy makers. Linux communities and Linux-friendly companies can also help promote diversity and flexible options by working to make proprietary and open source operating systems more interoperable.
Date of Publication: Jan-Feb 2004