The nature of open source products is gradually changing, with open source attracting even more quality software as developers and manufacturers open source, software or technology that was hitherto proprietary.
Granted, quite a few quality software applications were made open source as a last resort when their demise seemed imminent - Xara, StarOffice and Netscape spring to mind. However, there is also a bundle of quality software that cropped up from nowhere to conquer significant market share and give paid-for proprietary software a run for its money - Linux, Apache and MySQL all fall into this category.
Soon, says Dana Blankenhorn in his blog at ZDNet, to remain competitive, software developers might have to open source to benefit from its advantages.
Changes are already underway. Microsoft, for example, has treaded quasi-open source waters with its shared code license, whilst Sun Microsystems is gradually outsourcing software development - OpenSolaris and StarOffice - to the open source community, enabling the company to concentrate on the more lucrative services sector.
HP has also announced that it was seriously considering open source services, and, last but by no means least, IBM has been a fierce advocate of Linux and other open source software.
IBM is behind the Eclipse movement and, although they are the world's largest patent holders, they often release some of these into the public domain. Now, if they could do the same for Smartsuite and OS/2, that would be nice.