Tapping the New Zealand market

By Nicholas Petreley, LinuxWorld.com |  Operating Systems

All right. Next week I promise I will get to the topic of using Python for web applications programming. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. As for this week, I just got back from New Zealand and Fiji and simply couldn't resist sharing some raves and rants about my experiences.

I visited New Zealand to give a two presentations at the Computerworld expo in Auckland. My first presentation dealt with Linux standards. My message was simple. I predict Red Hat will remain the de-facto standard. While Linux Standard Base (LSB) may be a necessary effort, it is far too little and too late to level the playing field for commercial distributors. As much as I'd like to see all distributions adopt Debian as their base distribution, I'm afraid the only way commercial Linux distributors can remain in the game for the long haul is if they adopt Red Hat as their base and add value from there.

In the second presentation I gave an overview of open source web applications development tools. As I said, I vow to address the Python portion of this topic next week.

The New Zealand Computerworld show was not Linux-specific, but Linux was supposed to be a prominent part of the show. However, most of the Linux vendors cancelled at the last minute due to poor planning on the part of vendors and to the lagging economy. Even Red Hat cancelled its booth at the last minute.

That, in my not so humble opinion, was a big mistake. New Zealand is a largely untapped resource when it comes to Linux and open source. And if any country is likely to adopt open source solutions in a big way, it is New Zealand.

New Zealand is a marvelous country populated with some of the most talented people in computing. And it has one very big advantage that we in the states do not have. It is not rich enough to throw money at new ventures. And it is not wealthy enough to throw money at every computing problem that comes along. That makes New Zealand one of the most ideal markets for open source solutions. And it makes New Zealand one of the best places to create a branch office for open source products.

I've said it several times before in different ways, but the point bears repeating, especially in this context. Many, if not most of the dot-coms that are faltering today should not be faltering at all. They should be growing at a comfortable and profitable rate. But they are not, because they overspent in an unrealistically enthusiastic market.

Part of the irrational exuberance expressed itself by tossing dollars at problems that should have been solved with less money and more intelligence. This is where New Zealand and countries like it have an advantage over the United States. They can't afford to throw money at problems, so they think the problems through and solve them in the most cost-effective manner.

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