The concept of open source has revolutionized the technology industry. Over the past 10 to 15 years, open source has established itself as an economic movement—an economic movement that has leveraged both the distributive and collaborative power of the Internet; an economic movement that is based on free and fair markets; and is driven by the needs of the end user or customer.
Now—as much as some people would like you to believe—this isn't an ideology or a fad. It isn't a communal experiment either. At its most fundamental level, open source is an economic movement. It is a new way of doing things that is rooting out inefficiencies in the software sector—inefficiencies that have become ingrained in the sector for decades. In that sense, open source is the philosophical essence of capitalism in action.
The best way to get an understanding of the economic movement of open source is to compare the hardware sector with software. In 1996, a computer with a 486 CPU, 8 MB of RAM, and a 500 MB hard drive cost $3000. In contrast, today a mere $300 will buy you a Celeron/Pentium processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 80 GB of hard disk space. In essence, in a matter of 12 short years, we get hundreds of times the computing power—at just a tenth of the price. That is price/performance improvement of thousands.
The remarkable price/performance improvement has largely ...