Developing World Needs Linux

Posted by: Ice

Developing World Needs Linux - 06/22/03 04:26 PM

To get the economy of a developing country going, its government must stamp out corruption, ramp up efficiency and use open-source technology to build a cheap, reliable information infrastructure, experts at a conference sponsored by the United Nations told investors and policy-makers this week.

By sticking with basic, low-cost, open-source technology, developing countries have a better chance of establishing vibrant economies, executives at the Net World Order conference said. The event was held at technology trade show CeBIT in New York City and was sponsored by the Business Council for the United Nations, a U.N. strategy research center.

"These countries need cheap and efficient technology to make the giant leaps necessary to catch up with the rest of the world," said Bruno Lanvin from the World Bank. "Many are now using Linux, which looks to become the No. 1 operating system in China and India soon."

Also under discussion at the conference was the need to reconstruct Iraq's technical infrastructure in a way that would provide economic opportunity and terrorism-fighting capabilities to the local government and the international community. The goal shouldn't be to simply rewire Iraq's phone and Net access, some said.

The country should be wired with chemical and radiation detectors, cameras and other sensors to give security officials a heads-up on saboteurs bent on keeping the country in disrepair, said Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, a Middle East economist and member of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force. Participants discussed ways to build terror-tracking and alert systems into the infrastructure of developing nations.

The importance of openly sharing information was the central thread of the conference.

Investors attending the "Developing World" session were advised to look into open-source projects by Rishab Aiyer Ghosh from the Maastricht University Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology.

Ghosh also pointed out that without knowing the needs of the developing world, any tech projects are doomed to fail. When geeks are put in charge, they tend to lust for the newest, coolest technologies that often do not suit developing nations' needs.

"Stick to the basics," Ghosh advised.

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