BRIC Countries A Huge Opportunity For FLOSS

Brazil, Russia, India and China all have governments that support use of FLOSS for many different reasons: cost, security, local economies and building IT infrastructure. They also contain 40% of the global market for PCs and have high rates of growth.

Taiwan is currently focussed on serving this market and expectations for Taiwan’s IT industries are huge:

  • Taiwan plans to ship 100 million handsets in 2011, 65% of global shipments.
  • 19 million smart phones will ship in Q4 alone, 66% growth p.a.
  • Taiwan plans to ship 86% of 61 million tablets shipped in 2011.
  • In 2010, Taiwan’s IT sector took in $229billion for PCs and handsets, $54.9billion for displays and $52.8billion for semiconductors.

The rapid changes in the IT industry favour emergence of GNU/Linux and FLOSS along with the emerging markets. These markets are cost-conscious and much less locked-in to the USA’s way of doing IT. The world is not planning to replace PCs on three-year cycles and stay with Wintel. The world wants small cheap computers and Taiwan and China are only too glad to produce them. If they run FLOSS, so much the better margins.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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11 Responses to BRIC Countries A Huge Opportunity For FLOSS

  1. Contrarian says:

    What #pogson seems to miss time and again is the notion that markets are not just technical niches, but very dependent on geography as well. He wants to dismiss the huge success that Microsoft continues to have in North America and Europe by suggesting that poorer economies will be more likely to go with cheaper solutions if/when they begin to use PC technologies in a big way. He wants to paint that as a decline for Microsoft, but he is missing the essentials of marketing thought.

    Marketing a comuter in the USA and Canada is much different from marketing a computer in Europe or Asia or Africa or South America. Each region has its own unique characteristics that product offerings must adapt to or else suffer low acceptance rates. It is not necessary to win all the time in every market to be successful either.

    Similarly it is not necessary to conquer every product market that might touch on other product markets that a company might be a leader within. It is OK for Microsoft to dominate PC OS without being the leader or even successful in things like phones or internet search. Microsoft has to decide for itself whether its ability to penetrate these markets is a wise or rational move on their part and whether they can profitably dominate some niche or other.

    They made a rational decision to enter the video game console and game software markets and their Xbox division is now contributing several billion dollars to their bottom line after a few years of difficult entry experiences. Maybe they will someday make a go of smart phone and tablet OS, now dominated by Apple as they eventually did with the game market dominated by Sony.

  2. Phenom says:

    Exactly, Pogson. Russia exports resources, and has no other industry worth mentioning. Not will it ever, considering the lack of investments in any field.

    And GNU/Linux has no place in the context. You don’t built industries with OSes, you do so with adequate legislation, working judicial system, and freedom for people to innovate. Currently Russia lacks these all, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. For my purposes, Russia has a home-grown GNU/Linux distro.

    From the CIA World Factbook:“Russian industry is primarily split between globally-competitive commodity producers – in 2009 Russia was the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, the second largest exporter of oil, and the third largest exporter of steel and primary aluminum – and other less competitive heavy industries that remain dependent on the Russian domestic market. This reliance on commodity exports makes Russia vulnerable to boom and bust cycles that follow the highly volatile swings in global commodity prices. The government since 2007 has embarked on an ambitious program to reduce this dependency and build up the country’s high technology sectors, but with few results so far. The economy had averaged 7% growth since the 1998 Russian financial crisis, resulting in a doubling of real disposable incomes and the emergence of a middle class.”

    GDP per capita is about $16K so they seem to be making progress in spite of history/government. GNU/Linux is probably part of their solution to their problems which they know best.

  4. Phenom says:

    Pogson, please exclude Russia from BRIC, and leave it BIC only. Russia has no industry like BIC, it is simply a supplier of resources to the rest of the world. Russia has no secondary, let alone tertiary economy sector. BIC have secondary, at least.

  5. Arup says:

    M$ has no bugs, now thats a delusional M$ fanboy rant as ever, I guess service packs are just to enhance the OS. Get real fanboy and since you are not even close to any one of these countries in reference, Linux is more common than your narrow focused mind can even perceive. India steals IP???? Show me one instance.

  6. see

    The Debian repositories are increasing in number of packages from 18000, 23000, and next, 28000 yet the number of reported bugs varies from near zero to a bit over 1K during the release cycle. Those bug-counts include all the apps. That other OS gets over 100 “critical” vulnerabilities discovered each year in the OS alone. Those are bugs which allow remote execution or privilege escalation.

    In a report sponsored by M$, it was found that annual patching events for the OS alone with that other OS were 39% more than FLOSS for the whole system, and with that other OS each patching event covered 75% more vulnerabilities. see

    Interestingly, that report could find that other OS cheaper only by dividing by the number of vulnerabilities the total cost of patching… and by magically finding the cost of a FLOSS patch being higher. I can tell you for certain that even with WSUS that other OS takes much more effort to patch then Debian GNU/Linux using openSSH and apt-cache. WSUS patching is hit-and-miss with repeated attempts being required to install a patch and WSUS does not cover most applications.

  7. Vonskippy says:

    “Quality control is ensured by open development, access to source code and open bug tracking.”

    You’re joking right? Name one Distro that has LESS bugs in it’s current release then it had in it’s previous release.

    QA in Linux (except for a few rare cases – like Apache, Mysql, PHP, Perl) is a joke. Bugs last thru generations, let alone point releases. Feedback from users is more likely to be scorned, ridiculed, or ignored then they are to be listened to, considered, or fixed.

  8. Brazil promotes use of GNU/Linux to boost the local economy. Russia is looking at lowering costs and preventing illegal software being used. China promotes use of GNU/Linux with the stated goal of gaining independence from USA in IT. None of them are looking away…

    You can find illegal copies of that other OS everywhere on Earth but GNU/Linux is still very widely used. The negatives you cite may also be matters of efficiency. Duplication of effort allows us to actually make a choice for the best product instead of the only product. Quality control is ensured by open development, access to source code and open bug tracking. Zero marketing/advertising is a negative in that is slows down migration/acceptance of GNU/Linux but on the other hand $billions don’t need to be spent unnecessarily. Linus does not need to advertise Linux because other businesses who profit from distributing/configuring/managing Linux do. Android/Linux does get advertised but it’s mostly not Google doing the advertising. That works. Those who benefit from providing the OS can give back by advertising. I see way more ads and better prices for Android/Linux than the competition. On retail shelves, I see way more space devoted to Android/Linux as well. GNU/Linux is designed by the people who produce and deliver it to be easily maintained. That’s what repositories and package managers are about. It’s a wonderfullly low-maintenance system. Did you see Vista.0? It was a dog. Pretty crappy if you ask me. Remember the “long good-bye”? Vista-incapable lawsuit? How about Phoney “7” not being able to cut-and-paste? Pot calling kettle black…

  9. Vonskippy says:

    Brazil, Russia, India and China all have governments that look the other way while their citizens steal other countries IP.

    When Microsoft products are also free, guess which one their users choose (hint, it’s not Linux).

    Linux has huge potential, not opportunities. Too bad it’s pissed away on duplicated effort, lack of quality control, zero marketing (worse then zero – just check the stupid names most linux apps have), hodgepodge product support, and just plain crappy 0.0.x releases.

  10. Many millions of people are somebody.

  11. D-G says:

    Huge opportunities for F(L)OSS in Europe and North America. But nobody wants it. Pity.

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