Is Open Source Creating a 'Tidal Wave of Job Losses'?

A major conglomeration of industry trade groups points to open source as one of the causes of tech employment malaise. Not everyone agrees, however.

Red Hat? SUSE Linux? Apache? MySQL? These are bad, evil, un-American entities. Apparently. They and the rest of those dirty rotten open-source software scoundrels are responsible for a "tidal wave of losses in U.S. jobs and competitiveness."

That's the view of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of trade bodies that includes such notables as the Business Software Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The IIPA recently submitted its Orwellian-sounding "2010 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection & Enforcement," an annual review of intellectual property protection and market access practices in foreign countries, to the U.S. Trade Representative. Ten countries make the "priority watch list" of naughty boys this year (down from 13 last year), including Indonesia.

What has Indonesia done to make it onto the Special 301 Priority Watch list? Turns out it had the temerity to send out a circular endorsing the use and adoption of open-source software within government organizations, which it hoped would "result in the use of legitimate open source and Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and a reduction in overall costs of software."

Who could object to that? The IIPA it seems. A developing nation that seeks to reduce its software costs and sees value in being able to access source code to modify the software it uses to best suit its needs "simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open-source software and related services."

Read the rest at ServerWatch.

Tags: open source, Linux, IT Jobs/Salary, IT career

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