Open Source and The Gap


David Eaves posted a piece overlaying the Firefox 3 Pledge Map and Thomas Barnett's map that divides the world into the "the functioning core" and the "non-integrated gap."

As you might expect, there's a high correlation. People in the gap aren't connected, so they have less access to computers, use the 'Net less, and participate in open source projects less. There are some exceptions--like Scandinavia on one side and Columbia and Turkey on the other.

David makes this comment:

Non-Integrated Gap countries with the most pledges are Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, Peru, and Indonesia -- interesting list. Seems to suggest that many of the countries the US tries to isolate are actually the most connected.

I too find this ironic. I think that the Bush administration has made a huge mistake in not pushing these countries to integrate more fully. Forget their governments, their citizens want to be connected and once they are, the policies of their governments will follow them into the functioning core. They have to.

As Tom points out, terrorism is "what's left" after the cold war and I see it as a reaction to connectivity. Terrorists, while exploiting the connectivity of the 'Net, would deny that connectivity to people because it leads them away from the fundamentalist societies that the terrorists promote.

David's analysis is just one more data point in the argument that some of the world's seemingly most dangerous countries have citizens who are ready to connect. The world (i.e. functioning core) needs to take advantage of that.

As an aside, I just pre-ordered Tom's new book 'Great Powers: America and the World After Bush' from Amazon. I'll schedule another IT Conversations interview with him after the book comes out. I had a great conversation with him a few years back.