Wrong Way on North American Integration

U.S. Will Demand Passports from Canadians, CBC News, 5 April 2005, http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/05/passports050405.html (from Democratic Underground).

Sad news in the quest for One North American

In response to a new rule requiring most Canadians to carry passports for entry into the U.S., Public Security Minister Anne McLellan said Americans may also have to carry the document to enter Canada.

Our system has really always worked on the basis of reciprocity,” McLellan said outside the House of Commons.

And therefore we will review our requirements for American citizens and we’re going to do that in collaboration with the United States.

Exactly wrong. The reason Canadian passports will be needed is that the Canada’s very loose immigration rules. While the United States has beefed up security since the 9/11 attacks, the Canadians have not. This is despite the fact that several known terrorists, including the would-be Millennium Bomber, resided in Canada.

Canada should fully harmonize its immigration rules with the United States and Mexico. There should be one North American frontier. North American citizens should be able to freely move between their states and provinces, secured by common border policies.

Canada’s policies only promote division and do nothing to bring us into the future together.

Calling Jackie Chan

Singapore fair puts brides on display,” by Tran Dinh Thanh Lam, Inter Press Service, 2 April 2005, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/GD02Ae01.html (from A Singapore Angle, and others).

I saw this movie. It ends with Jackie Chan saving everyone with light-hearted kung-fu stuntery. It was pretty awesome.

News of the public exhibition of Vietnamese brides for “instant marriage” at a recent fair in Singapore along with the sale of young Vietnamese girls to single men in neighboring China seeking wives has shocked the public here.

On March 17, police in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, arrested four young Vietnamese men ranging from the ages of 19 to 23 for selling their girlfriends to a Chinese syndicate. These men first made friends with the eight girls by chatting to them over the Internet. They were then enticed to travel with the men to Lang Son province in the north. Once there, they were sold to the syndicate for 5,000 yuan (US$600) each.

These guys all are very young, but have wicked hearts. The ringleader, Dao Ngoc Dung, is evil enough to sell his two lovers,” read a statement on VietnamNet, an online news portal.

I think that was dialog, too. If only Jackie would stop making terrible American movies and realize his Korean heritage.

Barns, not Bits, for Developing Countries (Sun Actually Insane)

Sun criticizes popular open-source license,” by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com, 5 April 2005 (from Slashdot).

Corporate nonsense followed by some commentary

Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz on Tuesday proclaimed ardent support for the open-source software realm but criticized the General Public License, a widely used foundation of the programming movement.

The GPL governs Linux and countless other projects in the free and open-source software arena. But a key tenet of the license creates a situation that amounts to economic imperialism, Schwartz argued at the Open Source Business Conference here

Economies and nations need intellectual property (IP) to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. I’ve talked to developing nations, representatives from academia and manufacturing companies that had begun to incorporate GPL software into their products, then…found they had an obligation to deliver their IP back into the world,” Schwartz said.

The GPL purports to have freedom at its core, but it imposes on its users “a rather predatory obligation to disgorge all their IP back to the wealthiest nation in the world,” the United States, where the GPL originated, Schwartz said. “If you look at the difference between the license we elected to use and GPL, there are no obligations to economies or universities or manufacturers that take the source code and embed it in (their own) code

“Open Source” software development is a collaborative way of writing software. It finds its roots in IBM’s early philosophy towards software and is often used today. In open source, anyone can change a computer program, but then they have to share those changes with anybody. Open source products are typically free. Tivo, parts of new Apple computers, and many popular internet tools are made with open source software. In contrast, other types of software development don’t let other developers modify programs like that. Open source is not perfect, but it is a pretty good idea that has real popularity.

The GPL is a legal document that many open source projects use. It uses legal language that can stand up in court to extend the open source movement. But the important part is this…

Schwart’s statement makes no sense. Developing software requires a massive national infrastructure. Money needs to be poured into education and human capital before a country can have a significant software industry. Every country consumes software, but almost no countries produce it.

For Schwartz to say that open source is “imperialistic” is amoral, at best. Saying that free software is bad because it hurts software makers is like saying the Sun is bad because it harms lightbulb makers. Worse, saying free software is bad because it prevents the emergence of Gap software makers is like saying the Sun is bad, because one day Siemens may open a lightbulb factory in Nairobi.

Developing world economic gap must be based on real economics, not Schwartz’s neo-managed-economy dreams. End Agriwelfare to help end world poverty. Don’t turn to deluded mercantilism.

Update: Blind Man’s Eye sees Schwartz’s statement as a diversion from the bigger problem of patent reform. Did I play into Sun’s plans?