Open Source = Less Global Warming
Steven Chu, the current US Energy Secretary, argues that open source software will cut down on global warming. Long story short, widespread adoption of open source software would cut down on IP- and standards-related conflicts, allowing both the so-called first and third world to quickly reap the benefits of technology, particularly in doing more with less power. Yes, there’s a us-against-them aspect to the idea:
But he is adamant that great efficiency, particularly in buildings, will significantly reduce the number of power plants built. To really take effect, he says, global co-operation on technology to improve efficiency is vital. And that co-operation, he says, could be best facilitated by open source software to avoid the wrangling over intellectual property that is sometimes a source of tension between developed and developing countries in climate change talks.
That line of reasoning requires quite a leap. A leap based on the assumption that well-designed software will keep future buildings running smoothly and efficiently, and the hope that open source software will eventually gain widespread acceptance. Assuming that entrenched players would want to perpetuate the proprietary-software-for-profit scheme, all I can say is good luck.