Monday Jul 07, 2008

Contributing OpenSolaris Translations

One of the best talks at OSDevCon in Prague recently came from Petr Tomasek, Robert Malovec, and Ales Cernosek. They talked about globalization issues, and I especially liked it because the guys focused on how to contribute translations to the OpenSolaris project. In fact, they built a pilot system providing community access to back end computers with the end result being a package living in an IPS repository. If you are interested in globalization and want to contribute to the OpenSolaris project, check this out because your feedback would be most welcome. Here is the paper describing the details (from page 84 to 91). Here is the video presentation. And here is the slide deck.

As this system matures, I hope it -- or future versions of it -- will move to the Internationalization and Localization Community Group on Conversations for that community group take place on i18n-discuss.

Monday May 12, 2008

Japan Inside China

Very interesting. A little Japanese inside China -- [i18n-discuss] Solaris Teacher Training and Sun University Tour- Dalian. Next time I visit China, I have to spend some time in Dalian to explore this China-Japan connection. I first read about this in a Tom Friedman column, but it's not talked about that much here in Japan. Gotta check it out.

Sunday May 11, 2008

Immigration a Key to Innovation

Great article in Newsweek from Fareed Zakaria -- The Rise of the Rest -- about how large chunks of the world are dramatically improving and growing significantly in an era of ever reducing violence. Finally. A positive view of globalization, and one distinctly lacking all the fear about the US falling to second class (or even third class) economic status (which is nothing more than propaganda). The gloom-and-doomers and isolationists in the US are an obviously and obnoxiously vocal minority, and they will miss this positive view because it's actually based on embracing the entire world with that nasty word -- immigration. Zakaria says that "the potential for a new burst of American productivity depends not on our education system or R&D spending, but on our immigration policies. If these people are allowed and encouraged to stay, then innovation will happen here. If they leave, they'll take it with them." 

Avoiding Competition

You catch that Fortune article -- You have 7 years to learn Mandarin -- about China surpassing the United States economically in seven years? Whether it's seven years or fifty doesn't really matter, I suppose, since people will be arguing about how to measure this for a while. And the measurements themselves are changing, it seems. How convenient. Whatever. I think it's cool either way because it offers new opportunities, and that´s what I´m after. In fact, aside from the word freedom, I can´t think of another word that describes Americans better than the word opportunity. Can you?

But Fortune seems defensive. We are supposed to "worry" about this, and we are told that American individuals "can avoid competition with Chinese workers by doing place-based work, which ranges in value from highly skilled (emergency-room surgery) to menial (pouring concrete). But the many people who do information-based work, which is most subject to competition, will have to get dramatically better to be worth what they cost. For government leaders: Improve U.S. education above all."

The first part of that paragraph is ridiculous. You can't "avoid competition" in a global economy, and I´m not "worrying" at all. Why not embrace the change as an opportunity? In fact, wouldn't be cool to live in China for a bit to check all this out first hand? Wouldn´t it be cool to learn some Chinese and interact with Chinese from their perspective for a while? I don´t see very many people in the US thinking this way about the rise of China (and India, for that matter, and some other emerging markets around the world, too). In fact, Sin-Yaw Wang has it right when he comments about the Fortune piece: "The new generation of business leaders, now in their 20s or 40s, must learn to do business in China and with Chinese. 7 years is not that long to master a language, especially when one is not even trying." I agree. And I´m reading this view (the not trying bit) over and over again. It´s defensive. Oh, well. I suppose that´s an opportunity for those who see it differently, right?

Thursday May 01, 2008

Crazy English in China

Fascinating piece about this guy Li Yang teaching "Crazy English" to huge crowds of people in China. His technique is rather unique, but I can see how it may have significant benefits for anyone learning another language as an adult. The larger language issue in China, though, is illustrated by this utterly amazing quote from the article: "Linguists estimate the number of Chinese now studying or speaking English at between two hundred million and three hundred and fifty million, a figure that’s on the order of the population of the United States." Just think about that. Just think about how that changes things in the future with language barriers beginning to melt away and what means for global communications and global economics. Also, Ampontan has a detailed analysis of the article that's well worth reading and adds some interesting context from Japan.

Monday Apr 28, 2008

Blowing Hot or Cold on Japan

Japan May Escape Recession as Chinese Surge Increases Exports: "Japan's manufacturing sector is actually a showcase for how to implement globalization,'' said Jesper Koll, director of Tantallon Research Japan, a hedge fund. "Whether it's Russia, the Middle East or Latin America, take your pick, Japan's on top of it.'' -- Bloomberg

Good economic news about Japan is rare, but this article above cites the possibility that Japan may dodge a recession (due to the slow down in the US) because some key Japanese industries have diversified into rapidly expanding markets in China and throughout Asia. That's cool. And perhaps other Japanese companies here, and even entire industries, will take a lesson from the manufacturing and auto guys and learn how to be a "showcase for how to implement globalization." We'll see. The results will be obvious either way.

Saturday Apr 26, 2008

Compressing Languages

Lzma on OpenSolaris: "The author of LZMA, Igor Pavlov, was not only willing to relicense the source code under CDDL ... but also willing to re-write the compression code in C. And, he did that in just a matter of couple of weeks -- truly outstanding. That, to me, is the power behind open source and the sharing opportunities it provides for the broader good." -- Alok Aggarwal, commenting on getting full language support on to the new OpenSolaris CD.

That seems like a wonderful contribution to the OpenSolaris community around the world on the eve of the OpenSolaris 2008.05 release. Test OpenSolaris RC2 here. Sign up to indiana-discuss to talk about it. Post to and read the indiana-discuss jive forum here.

Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

A New Focus

It's not every day you get to re-write your job description, but that's exactly what I'm doing. It's not a big deal, really, since the OpenSolaris project is growing and changing, and we need all sorts of people doing all sorts of things -- and we don't have nearly enough people or resources to exploit all the opportunities globally, but that's another story (and a good problem to have, too). Anyway, I view this as just a re-balancing of my job based on four factors:
  1. Getting elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board,
  2. The evolution and changing needs of my team in California,
  3. My own career goals, and
  4. The unique opportunities offered by my geography.

I'll still be doing project management and building OpenSolaris communities globally, of course. But I'm going to narrow my focus so I can get closer to some engineering projects that not only generate contributions but also help lead to revenue for Sun. And I'll still be interacting with developers and users, but I want to get involved with other open source and standards communities and more customers, partners, universities, and governments as well. I'm already getting more requests to brief customers about OpenSolaris, so I want to expand that it if possible. And although my focus has always been global, I'll surely be spending more time in China and India and other parts of Asia since those markets are growing rapidly and since I live in the neighborhood. I'll also be exploring some new opportunities in Eastern and Western Europe this upcoming year.

Here's a rough split of time and projects:

  • Website: 40% on website development projects, especially the implementation and support of the software platform on which runs.
  • Globalization: 20% on g11n engineering projects.
  • Governance: 20% on OGB initiatives across the entire OpenSolaris project.
  • Advocacy: 20% on user groups, conferences, and presentations globally.

There's a fair amount of crossover there, but that's ok since it gives me the flexibility to mix and match projects under some main categories that make sense if I absolutely had to quantify them. What changes significantly, however, is the project mix and time split. Governance, website, and globalization are all new and will take up most of my time. But there will be many opportunities for community development in APAC with user groups, conferences, and engineering projects. And although all of this involves advocacy to one degree or another, I'll now be focusing those communications efforts specifically on the projects I'm driving rather than anything I can get my hands on across the entire OpenSolaris community. That's a critical point. That also will be a big change as I specifically let go of some stuff in order to take on new stuff. There is no other way to grow, in my opinion, unless you have a solid core competency but also aggressively reach out to grab new things. So I intend to build from that perspective.

And finally, I'm now getting closer to the globalization engineering organization at Sun with a dotted line report to Mimi Hills, the director of g11n who manages software development operations at many sites around the world. I'll be adding some OpenSolaris-related g11n engineering projects to the mix of stuff I do for Bonnie Corwin's OpenSolaris engineering team. First up with g11n will be to evolve the language/country portals on so we can properly implement the localization of content on the site. This is important as we build the OpenSolaris community around the world. If you build globally, you are actually building across languages and cultures, and that's very different from building within a single language and culture.

So, we'll see how all this goes. It's all based around engineering project management and community development, but hopefully much more focused and much more valuable. For two years now I have been busy creating additional networks to support these moves. I've had an excellent FY08, and I expect FY09 to be even better. Should be fun.

Sunday Apr 13, 2008

Mega Regions

Unlike emerging economies within specific nations -- such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- there is another way to look at the global economy, which is via something called the mega-region. That´s the real driving force of the global economy, according to Richard Florida in Wall Street Journal -- The Rise of the Mega-Region.

Florida says that "
[t]he world's largest mega is Greater Tokyo, with 55 million people and $2.5 trillion in economic activity. Next is the 500-mile Boston-Washington corridor, with some 54 million people and $2.2 trillion in output. Also in the top 10 are mega-regions that run from Chicago to Pittsburgh, Atlanta to Charlotte, Miami to Tampa, and L.A. to San Diego. Outside of the U.S., you can find megas around Amsterdam, London, Osaka and Nagoya, Milan, Rome and Turin, and Frankfurt and Stuttgart."

He also says that
"China is not our real competitor. Rather, we should be thinking about the great mega-regions around Shanghai, Beijing and the Hong Kong-Shenzhen corridor, which account for roughly 43% of the output of the entire country."

Interesting perspective. Florida recommends a few ways of dealing with the megas, but the one I found most engaging was the promotion of density to increase innovation and production. So much for suburbanization, I guess. I´m not sure how this works with the Internet, though. The Internet enables massive distribution (or decentralization, I guess) of talent, innovation, and, in many cases, production. Does that support or undermine this mega density perspective? Perhaps both.

Saturday Apr 12, 2008

g11n Blogs

Melanie Parsons Gao is collecting a fine list of Sun's g11n blogs. This is good reading for me (well, what I can actually read, anyway). Although Sun is opening its stuff and building engineering communities around the world, our internal software development operations have been global for quite some time. It's interesting to see the distinction between the various regions and cultures and how the people involved in globalization are helping build communities across all those firewalls in all those countries.

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

Multi Lingual Announce

Nice to see opensolaris-announce going global (here, here, here). The list used to be only in English, but lately it's growing in language diversity. In size, too. It's one of our more popular lists.  Sign up here. All Projects and Community Groups have their own announce lists, but members are also welcome to use the main opensolaris-announce list to communicate with the entire OpenSolaris community around the world.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2008

Contributing in Globalization

Yesterday I asked for Contributor status in the Internationalization and Localization Community Group (CG) for work on the OpenSolaris Portals. It looks like it's coming through. Very cool. I'm already a Core Contributor in the Advocacy CG, and that's for four years of promotional activities and project management support related to the OpenSolaris User Groups. My projects across the two CGs are actually very much related: users, advocacy, language, culture, emerging markets, globalization, etc. That trend will continue and increase as I focus even more on globalization.

Sunday Jan 27, 2008

Japan: Time to Change?

Japan and its GDP: "It's really no wonder we're having a hard time getting attention in Japan." -- Joi Ito

I agree. And these trends argue for sweeping changes in Japan. I mean, really. If not now, when? I would love to hear anyone argue that nothing ought to change on this island. To me, all of these global economic trends are wonderful opportunities for the Japanese to grow in new ways. Bottom line: Japan will change or it will be changed. Period.

OpenSolaris Starter Kit: Global

We've already sent OpenSolaris Starter Kit more than 35,000 people, and 87% are to developers in countries outside the United States.

Monday Jan 21, 2008


The Sun Globalization team announced today they are releasing SunPinyin under CDDL and GPL. This should help in the open input effort for OpenSolaris.

Monday Jan 14, 2008

A Closed Network

Decline in Japanese students abroad cause for concern -- "As the number of Japanese students in the United States decreases, the number of Chinese, South Korean and Indian students is surging." -- Kyodo News

This article articulates a trend that can only lead to one result: the further isolation of a closed network.

Monday Jan 07, 2008

Japan and Friedman`s Globalization 3.0

After thinking more about this conversation on globalization, I re-read Tom Friedman`s The World is Flat over the winter break. The book is out in paperback, of course, and Friedman calls this updated and expanded version "3.0" in the introduction. It`s about 650 pages, but it`s a really quick read. Especially the second time around. Friedman tells lots of excellent stories that take you right along on his own personal journey around the world. There is a lot of talk of China and India, of course, but Japan comes up from time to time, too. And that`s what hit me this time around. Japan.

Some brief background first. Friedman breaks down the history of globalization into to three gigantic meta categories -- countries, companies, and individuals. Basically, globalization 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. And we are just now entering 3.0, the era of individual globalization, where everyone who has access to technology (that`s Friedman`s "flat-world platform") has to compete with everyone else in the world who has access to technology. Now, it took 500 years of globalization to get here, but that`s where we find ourselves now. And I think the key point to the book is that globalization 3.0 is very, very different from globalization 1.0 and 2.0 because 3.0 is based on, in part, the individual. That`s where Japan comes on.

Although Japan comes up from time to time while Friedman discusses globalization 2.0, I could find very few (if any, actually) references to Japan and globalization 3.0. Friedman goes to great lengths to talk about how individuals can compete in the new flat world, but that discussion seemed to be focused primarily on the United States and Western Europe and the emerging markets in Eastern Europe, India, and China. That`s when it hit me that Japan seems vulnerable under Friedman`s theory since Japan is not based on the concept of the "individual" at all and it`s certainly not an emerging market. It`s all about "groups" here, and individuality is somewhat rare among the average Japanese -- certainly among the millions of workers that make up corporate Japan in and around Tokyo. I didn`t think about this when I read the book the first time since I hadn`t lived in Japan yet. It`s obvious now, though.

So, can Japan, which is famous for its vertically integrated corporations (the exact opposite from Friedman`s open and horizontally flat world), compete in globalization 3.0? How would "groups" of people even recognize this as a problem? And how would these groups of people transform Japan`s various corporate global supply chains into an economy that recognizes individual global competition? This is not as great a problem for the west since most western cultures are based much more on the concept of individuality -- especially the United States. Friedman hints at this cultural issue when he quotes various Chinese leaders who recognize this very problem in China. China (and Korea, for that matter) shares with Japan some of these East Asian characteristics of groups. But China seems to be changing specifically to compete on all levels -- country, company, and individual. That third part is most fascinating here in East Asia. Will China pull it off? Will Japan recognize the issue and engage down at that level?

Some Friedman flat world videos here at MIT and here on Charlie Rose and here at the NYT.

Friday Dec 28, 2007

Stiglitz and Friedman on Globalization

Here's an interesting conversation between Thomas Friedman, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, and Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, discussing globalization -- Transcript: A TimesSelect/TimesTalks Event on Globalization. It's from April of 2006, but it hardly feels dated at all. The entire word is discussed, of course, and it's fascinating. But I think India and China probably grab the lion's share of air time.

At one point in the conversation, Friedman talks about getting three things right -- education, infrastructure, governance -- in the context of how some countries are modernization and globalizing more effectively than others. From Friedman:

"China and India, China in particular, actually increased the pace of its reform in a lot of those areas. So Mexico went from being right on our border to a thousand miles away, and China went from being thousands of miles away in some ways to right on our border. But -- And I’ll just finish this one point because this is important. People have to make choices. Governments have to make choices. Priorities. Look at India. Today they’re about, I think, 70,000-80,000 Indian foreign students in the United States. There are roughly a similar amount from China. I think there are about 10,000 from Mexico. Those are also choices societies are making in terms of how to get educated, what language to learn and how to become a competitor and a collaborator on this platform. So you have to -- Development is a choice. It’s not some inevitable thing. You have to choose to bring your infrastructure, your education and your governance to the level where you can access this whole new technology platform."

They are obviously talking about why Mexico has not fully realized the benefits articulated by proponents of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). And although that issue is certainly complex, what shoots out at me is actually a country not mentioned in this 15,000 word conversation: Japan. Why is Japan not mentioned in the context of globalization? I think it has a lot to do with the quote I cite from Friedman: choices. Both government and individual. Now, many would argue that what India and China are experiencing is simply the result of their economies rapidly growing due to modernization and that Japan is already a mature market. Heck, many at Sun make that argument to me when I bring this up. Sorry. I don't buy it. That's only a small part of the issue. The biggest part is attitude. China and India want to globalize. You can read it in their political rhetorical can you can hear it and see it where you go there. Japan, on the other hand, shows little interest in globalizing compared to some of its biggest neighbors in Asia. Also, the "mature market" bit falls apart when you look at the United States the last two decades. To say that mature markets can't grow and change and continually modernize is just wrong. It's all comes down to attitude. Well, ok, it's more complex that than, of course, but that's where it starts.

Anyway, check out Stiglitz and Friedman. Very interesting stuff. Extremely complex, though. Can you predict where things will go? I can't. It's very cool working at a global company right at the foot of two massively emerging markets, though. There is such huge potential throughout all of the Asia Pacific region. 

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Czech Translation Contribution Integrated

Fuyuki Hasegawa just announced that Czech translations for the kernel commands and libraries have been integrated into build 74. This is the first contribution of its kind for OpenSolaris, which is excellent news. Generally, these translations are done by Sun globalization engineers, but as you can see we are expanding to include contributors of many kinds now. See Hasegawa-san's note here. See the entire thread discussing the issue here -- Czech OS.o translation available. If you'd like to get involved in globalization projects like this, go to the Internationalization and Localization Community Group and give us a shout on i18n-discuss.

Wednesday Sep 05, 2007

Russia OpenSolaris Portal Opens

We can talk Russian now since the Russia OpenSolaris Portal opened last night -- That makes 10 OpenSolaris Portals in about as many months, and there are only two left to open from the original group. So, now that the vast majority are open and nascent communities are forming around them, it's time to start specifying what a version two of the portals would look like. That conversation has started on i18n-discuss, so if you'd like to participate, please feel free to join in. The first phase of the portals was about getting some space carved out on the site, building some teams, and translating some content. That was it. Very simple. The next phase should be much grander. But we'll need to articulate just exactly what that is in order to have a productive technical conversation with the website engineering team.

By the way, Russia is the number one destination for OpenSolaris Starter Kit shipments followed by the U.S., Poland, and India. I have to get to Eastern Europe soon. :)


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