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On Jan 30, 2008 8:07 PM, John Devlin <> wrote:
> 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?

I was startled by reading that too, but I have to say it's fairly
accurate from my experience. But it's not a matter of "leeching"
knowledge; it's really the language barrier. Reading English is
basically a required skill in the technology field, because of all the
literature, software documentation and internet resources available
(even the Lua reference manual was not available in Portuguese until
very recently, and PiL still isn't). So, many computer professionals
here in Brazil are able to obtain the information they're looking for
from English-based online forums and mailing lists, but don't feel
confident enough about their writing skills to participate in them.
Even people who don't read English well can at least guess their way
through from code snippets, error messages and limited understanding
of the language (given that computer terminology in most languages are
full of English terms).

-- Hisham