Missing the point on open source benefits

Activists at the World Social Forum in Brazil, headlined by John Perry Barlow, celebrated open sourcethis week. "Brazil spends more in licensing fees on proprietary software than it spends on hunger," said Barlow.

Activists at the World Social Forum in Brazil, headlined by John Perry Barlow, celebrated open sourcethis week.

"Brazil spends more in licensing fees on proprietary software than it spends on hunger," said Barlow.>

Good point. But the wrong one.

It's not open source's price that makes it powerful in the developing world. It's that you can see open source, you can fix open source, and your efforts make youpart of the open source community.

Open source users don't have a choice in this. If you are to fix your problems and improve your systems with open source, you really have to be active.

And it's in being active that developers become powerful. It's in being part of a world community -- where they are judged only by their contributions -- that they are raised up.

This is the headline Barlow could have, and should have made. Open source isn't just free. It's empowering.

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