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On 24 Jan 2008, at 12:57 , Roberto Ierusalimschy wrote:

Dr. Dobbs recently published an article about South American Software
Development, with a part (Page 5 in 5) about Lua:

-- Roberto

Interesting article. I'd like to learn more about software development from the perspective of developers in other countries.

Three things caught my eye. One was the size and global reach of the South American software community:

"Nearly one professional developer in ten worldwide is working and living in South America ... IT spending [in Brazil] is growing at a double-digit rate. As an exporter of software, South America generally is a player and is growing at a double-digit rate. Outsourcing relationships with South American companies are already big business, and often a smart decision for North American companies. IDC identifies Latin America, which also includes Mexico and Central America, as having a pool of software developers essentially equal to Central and Eastern Europe, a region that many consider a hotbed of software talent... As South America increases in importance in global software, we can expect the region to offer new and expanded markets and a rich and savvy pool of programming talent. But the example of Lua points out that we could also see significant original software coming out of the region."

Another was the economic policies that helped create that pool of talent:

"'From 1977 until 1992, Brazil had a policy of strong trade barriers (called a 'market reserve') for computer hardware and software motivated by a nationalistic feeling that Brazil could and should produce its own hardware and software. In that atmosphere, [our] clients could not afford, either politically or financially, to buy customized software from abroad'... Like in 1987, when Brazil banned MS-DOS. Or when, in 2005, Brazil announced that it was switching 300,000 government computers from Windows to open-source software like Linux, dropping all proprietary software ... Past protectionist policies in Brazil, now more or less abandoned, nevertheless led to today's self-supporting and well-educated community of knowledgeable software developers."

The third was an observation about the Brazilian software development community's purported 'rigid national boundaries':

"I referred to the relative isolation of South American programmers, and that needs explanation. It's primarily an issue of language and the scarcity of Spanish- or Portugese-language versions of commercial software and tools. But there are more subtle cultural factors at play here. A recent study on the use of online forums for software found that Brazilian programmers rarely join in global forum discussions, although they do mine them for solutions to problems. Not so, though, for Brazilian forums, which they participate in. The study concluded that 'foreign conversations are construed as asocial "sources of knowledge" while local forums are seen as spaces that bring together national or local communities of developers.' This suggests that the software development community has more rigid national boundaries than might be thought. This is interesting, because when we ask programmers what tools they have found that make them more productive, they frequently talk about using online discussion to tap the collective wisdom of the community of programmers to solve problems."

I was surprised to read that. Perhaps it's inaccurate?