Matt Asay explores open source in Japan and concludes that it may be time to give the place a second look -- Open source: Made in Japan?
Good post. He points to some excellent examples of open source
contributors in Japan and also corporate and government use of open
I found Matt's blog being discussed on the Tokyo Linux User Group list -- [tlug] "Open source: Made in Japan?" blog
-- today where Curt Sampson
was talking about the language/culture barriers in Japan and also how
Japan is home to more NetBSD developers than any country outside the
United States. I didn't know that, but I'm not surprised I didn't know
since Japan is a country absolutely determined to down play its role in
just about everything possible. It's exactly the opposite behavior of
the United States, which tends to over play its hand in just about
Anyway, I agree about the language/cultural barriers. They are big.
Generally, I find very few in the west interested in software
development taking place in Japan, and I also find very little interest
here in exploring anything outside of Japan. It goes both ways. It's
tough to look inside, and very few here are looking outside. There are
obvious exceptions, of course, but I've been quite surprised by the
size of the east/west divide for a market so big. See Matt's blog for
the exceptions, by the way, which are all very encouraging.
I think similar issues were present in China, as well, but recently
when I go to China and visit the universities I find the students much
more willing to learn from and engage with the west. They are loud and
enthusiastic and bold. I'm no expert on China, and I could be seeing
only one part of that market because they have so many students in
computer programs now, but it seems to me that the trends are clear and
distinction with Japan is now very big. Whereas the language/cultural
barriers here in Japan are the same as always (and I can find no one to
dispute that), they seem to be going away in China.
Another factor for Japan may be that this market is mature and
expensive and suffers from under exposure because massive attention and
resources are flying to China and India because those guys are rapidly
emerging and sucking up all the publicity. I was also thinking that
some of this may be just a mis-understanding since the west and east
view "community" and "contribution" and "individual motivation"
somewhat differently. Who knows. Some good opinions on the Tlug list,
too. Check out the thread.
Also, Matt mentioned Ruby. Very cool community. I was so impressed with the Ruby community a while back. Here are all my blogs on Ruby
. And Matt mentions the Japanese government getting involved in open source, too. Well, they are also exploring OpenSolaris (here
). Oh, one more thing: the Japan portal for OpenSolaris
is our #1 portal by far in terms of total page views hitting the site. But, man, the Spanish
are catching up jet fast! :)