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NewsForge: Free Software in Russia? Da!

Oct 07, 2003, 02:30 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by J. Quinn Martin)

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Stuffed into a small office on the top floor of the Institute of Philosophy in downtown Moscow, Alexei Smirnov and a dozen other techies sit hunched over laptops, pecking rapidly at their keyboards as open source code flickers across their screens. This is the nerve center of the ALT Linux team, a chain of Russian-speaking Linux programmers that stretches from Siberia to Israel. In many ways, this is also the core of this country's burgeoning open source movement. In this nation long known for its skilled programmers and a love for anything that is free, open source is starting to take hold.

"Six years ago ALT Linux began as a volunteer corps of coders eager to improve programs and show off their programming skill. In the last few years it has morphed into a company with 30 staff employees in four cities, plus another 120 unpaid programmers who participate just for kicks..."

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