Who ultimately forced Sun to open-source Java? Was it external pressure, either from Java developers or the open-source community? Or was it internal, perhaps a mandate from CEO Jonathan Schwartz?
Answer: None of the above. According to Jonathan himself, it was Brazil.
Maybe it's not surprising that Brazil would have this kind of clout. Brazil is the B of BRIC, the common acronym for the huge and influential emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Brazil is the sixth or seventh largest market for software worldwide, and IT spending there 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.
But the fact that Brazil would use its clout in the furtherance of open-source software says something about the culture or climate for software development in Brazil and, to varying degrees, other countries of South America.