The differences notwithstanding, the genre has made massive strides and the term open source is now prime marketing material. There are dozens of entities which claim to sell software that conforms to the open source guidelines - much in the same way that unscrupulous people try sell "halal" soap in Muslim countries. How the word halal, which refers to a method of slaughtering animals, can be applied to soap is anyone's guess.
These days open source software attracts serious money. (It also attracts its fair share of charlatans). Nearly every major technology company has some kind of involvement with open source - if not openly, then under the covers. There are two camps in town - the Microsoft camp and the open source one.
In the second camp, you can put everyone who does not want to be locked in and dictated to by Microsoft. In the first, you can lump everyone who really has no option. But even those in the first camp often stage a defiant gesture of protest - Dell with its sales of Ubuntu Linux and Asus with its eeePC are two which come to mind.
As open source enters the second decade of its existence, there are plenty of pitfalls ahead. Attempts to lock down things through the use of digital restrictions, and the use of software patents to curb development of FOSS are two.
But equally as dangerous is the spectre of software companies like Novell which join hands with Microsoft for the sake of short-term gains. Co-operation in interoperability can always be used to create lock-in. And projects like Mono are an acute danger as they open the door to patent lawsuits down the track.
There is a tendency among FOSS people nowadays to think that the commercial acceptance of free and open source software means that the community can drops its guard and allow snakes to enter the garden. If this attitude persists, there may be no FOSS to talk about at the end of the second decade.
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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.