I had a great conversation with a colleague Vir Bhanu of Knowledge Systems, located in Bangalore India. Vir is a great guy, and I hope to do business with his firm in the future on a number of projects we are currently working on. Vir shared with me a great article from Thomas Friedman, the author of "The World is Flat" (recommended by another colleague, but I digress) - Freidman shares the perspective that "ideation" and sales and marketing are spawned via the Western companies and the core development is best done no where else in the world other than Bangalore. Vir had an interesting perspective on how the value add of Offshore Development actually increases the GDP of the countries using it as they essentially have all this found margin, that they can invest and spend in their countries of origin, continue to innovate etc., I would imagine some of that goes back to development in India, so it is a pretty good model - depending how you look at it.
This brings me to the original point of my post - which became very apparent to me when I read this article written by Jo Best of Silicon.com. The article states that M$ is going to offer amnesty to the Indian government via a licensing deal for the illegal copies of Windows currently being used in the Indian Government for 1$, an install. As long as they agree to in the future purchase valid licenses. My first thought was "wow neat", my second thought was 'Wow, huge opportunity for Linspire or Xandros to possibly move in and score a huge deal", my third thought was "WOW, the Indian government in conjuction with the top software companies in Bangalore, have the opportunity to take an ownership stake in a Unix based OS and get it on par with Tiger and XP". Why woudn't they do this? It isn't like they don't have the knowledge workers, or base to do it. If anyone is going to take a run at M$'s OS domination they might be the only ones that can do it. (Imagine embedding Skype in an OS.... *drool*)
Perhaps it is just a pipe dream, but I firmly believe that the Indian development community needs to think a little more like the American marketing machine and take some ownership stakes in developing technologies like Xandros and other Unix based OS's and distance themselves from M$ a little. With that many uber talented programmers available, Opensource solutions could explode and free us all from M$ like monopolies. This is a good thing, and opens the door for true universal and open IT communication technologies. They need someone to plant the seed, and help with the capitalist side of it... I would gladly volunteer.