Is open source the way back for U.S. manufacturing?

What we're moving toward is a world where everyone works together on everything, with the leaders being those who implement best. That's a world where U.S. manufacturers can compete.

The assumption that the U.S. leads because of Intellectual Property, and thus that the developing world mainly benefits from open source, may need some re-evaluating.

There are a growing number of areas where the U.S. is falling behind. Manufacturing, for one. And this week I took two interviews about how open source may help us come back.

OpenMFG has launched a Drupal site to accelerate work on its ERP Suite and report writer. "We’re trying to open up the issue tracking system, which a lot of people don’t do," said CEO Ned Lilly.

This is an important point because there are as many levels of open as there are folks to interpret the word. There's open as in free, open as in licensing, and open as in transparent. Each is a little more open than the other. Transparent development is about as open as it gets.

Then Kurt Sand, senior manager at Telelogic Solutions, reported in to tell me about that company's commitment to the Eclipse Process Framework.

Here the word commitment is meant literally -- the company has "commiters" working actively on code for Requirements-Driven Development, Model Driven Architecture, Enterprise Change Management, and Systems and Software Development.

Sand said the resulting tools will be "minimal, complete and extensible," a system that works not just for software development but all "enterprise processes."

What we're moving toward is a world where everyone works together on everything, with the leaders being those who implement best. That's a world where U.S. manufacturers can compete.

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