Jogging in Singapore's Jungle

On the way back from a week long trip criss-crossing India, I spent yesterday in Singapore. Preparing for my 16 hour non-stop flight home to LA today, I went out with Simon S. and Mark S. for a warm and wet 11K run through Singapore's jungle, and not the concrete type. Most people are surprised to hear that a few minutes drive from Singapore's bustling downtown you can be in the middle of the jungle. Well, it is only 1 degree from the equator. Today, we followed an 11K jungle path around Singapore's MacRitchie Resevoir. The rain was pouring down at 7 am but since we had all gotten this far we decided to go for it. I had never been on this run, which Mark S. says is normally crowded with hundreds of runners on Saturday morning, but with today's downpours we only saw a handful of other runners along the way. It was an amazing run.

I need to do a more complete trip report on the flight back, but I have a few minutes before I need to leave for the airport so here are a few highlights of my trip. Yesterday I met with several senior officials from Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) and gave them an update on OpenSolaris. I almost fell out of my chair when one of the officials responded back, "we have 1000's of students learning programming in Singapore with proprietary software and we think it is time they all started working with open source". Note to self and Andrew, remember to followup on the Singapore open source strategy summit we discussed.

How does Singapore, with several thousand new developers each year, compete with India that is churning out at least 100x as many? Our software team in India showed me some statistics that even amazed me. India is expected to have 30,000 software development companies and 2 million developers by 2011. Today, the age of the average developer in India is 25. The Singapore EDB has good cause to worry, and even better cause to start thinking seriously about open source. What I told the Singapore EDB was that they shouldn't worry about competing with the millions of developers in India, they should worry about working with them. Developers don't buy software, they join communities. Singapore's EDB has done some amazing things on a small scale. They helped sponsor the Grid Discovery Zone, a mini network.com utility compute grid, where any researcher in Singapore can get free access to a 16 processor core Solaris Container running on a grid of Sun Fire x4600 servers. Singapore has a huge potential to collaborate with their nearby neighbor, India, on open source, and India has definitely adopted open source at the national level. I've been visiting Asia regularly, including India and Singapore, for the last ten years and have observed the changes and rapid growth. It is great to see that both countries now appear poised to embrace the world of open standards and open source that one company, co-founded by an Indian by the way, has promoted for the last 25 years.

Time to run to the airport. I have a busy week ahead, but with 16 hours to catch up on email and hopefully a little sleep, I'll be ready.

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