The issue isn't whether open-source software is more "tainted" than privately developed software ("Sourcing Linux," Aug. 4/11, p. 18). The potential exists in either case for code to be copied and reused without permission. The key difference is the opportunity for users to receive a meaningful indemnification from the commercial software provider, which they don't receive from the open-source software provider.
A rigorous vetting of open-source software during the development phase is important. But an indemnification that can be relied upon would be even better. Perhaps one of the growing numbers of intellectual-property lawsuit insurance providers would be interested in providing insurance against copyright- or patent-infringement lawsuits. Kelly D. Talcott
Partner, Pennie & Edmonds, New York
Time To Call It Quits?
Is there some point Herbert W. Lovelace was trying to make, other than yes, IT does get hit with the burden of the rest of the company's financial mismanagement ("Expense Cuts Put Everyone To The Test," Aug. 4/11, p. 104)? Or was it that in the end, your hard-working, integrity-filled staffers will be let go as a means to increase the company's bottom line?
I'm considering getting out of this field. It seems to get worse every year. Kyle Kessler
IT Manager, mvi HomeCare, Youngstown, Ohio
A New World Economy
We Americans must face the reality of what the senior George Bush tried to portray in his remarks about the "New World Order" ("Taboo," July 28, p. 32). This phrase implies a new world economy based on best goods and services at the best prices and delivery schedules. Most Fortune 1,000 companies with U.S. headquarters are already multinational firms that manufacture much of what we purchase in other countries. The most recent move to outsource IT is just another step along a path American companies have been walking since the mid-70s.
Some will say the international playing field isn't level, but in reality it's just constantly changing. Protectionism will only create greater imbalances. Our best strategy then has to be to learn how to change and grow within this New World Economy. John Gouskos
Senior Partner, The Marbus Group, Cleveland
How Much Profit Is Enough?
I'm a small shop with some large projects in the pipeline. I've been approached by local reps of Indian outsourcing companies. I could give almost all the work to them and make two or three times the profit. But...
That's really what it boils down to: How much profit is enough? I could put a couple of developers out of work and make more for me. I won't. I'll do the right thing. That's the secret joy of capitalism: doing well enough to do the right thing.
When all the highest-paying tech jobs have been offsourced or outshored (or whatever the latest euphemism is) so American companies can be more competitive in a global market, who in America will benefit? It may be that there is a principle underlying capitalism that's even more fundamental than the drive to increase profit at any cost. Thomas Derenthal
President, Intelligent Data Systems, Atlanta
Outsourcing Erodes Tax Base
One hears a lot about U.S. jobs going to firms outside the United States, but so far local, state, and federal governments haven't complained about lost tax revenue. If one local job leads to two or three other jobs in a local economy, it stands to reason that for every $100 million going overseas, the tax base is being eroded to the tune of $200 million to $300 million. Maybe politicians aren't as hard up for our tax money as we hear. Bob Matz
Business Solutions Executive, SAI Enterprise Services Group, Gaithersburg, Md.
If we cut costs by sending jobs overseas, then our bottom line will certainly look better ("Offshore Outsourcing: A Means To An End," July 28, p. 78). Of course, that's such a myopic view it's almost laughable. Have CEOs thought out far enough in the future to see that people in India or Russia, etc., don't buy very many U.S. products or pay U.S. taxes?
Government intervention is critical. As long as executives continue to focus on short-term profits, we'll need the government to put up some artificial barriers to slow the flood of U.S. jobs out of this country. Tom Devine
President, The Barco Group, Cincinnati
Now that anyone can transform raw video captured with a camcorder into an Internet masterpiece, we're seeing a groundswell of activists, artists, moviemakers, businesspeople, and just plain folk using the Net to distribute their video productions. This is the alternative to the dearth of creative programming displayed on most national networks. Mark Shapiro
Webmaster, Internet Video Magazine, San Diego
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.