Phipps' example of the second wave was the Apache web server software; the message that came from this was that volunteers could write better software than corporations. Ubuntu, he said, marked the end of the second wave, software that was "almost commercial" and able to effectively compete in a very crowded marketplace.
Until the emergence of the internet, the market was something like a wheel, with all the spokes radiating out from a central source and dependent for their movement on the centre.
Once the internet arrived, the topology became more like a mesh; there was no need for an intermediary and transactions could go in a myriad directions.
"We moved from hub and spoke to peer-to-peer," Phipps said.
Moving from a procurement-driven market to an adoption-led one meant moving from a scenario where users are customers to one where users become customers. "Businesses now adopt open source because they have control; they are not bothered so much about the cost savings," Phipps said.
The present scenario was one where vendors had to be part of the community. It was not a case of "I want to buy your software, so sell me a licence", rather one of "I have installed this software, sell me a support contract," in other words a subscription model.
While the top two subscription model vendors, Red Hat and Novell, come close to this description, Phipps said the same kind of subscription sold with the enterprise Linux distributions which these companies put out, should be extended to the community distributions - Fedora and OpenSUSE.
Then and then only would they become part of the third wave, the scenario where people were installing and then seeking subscriptions that would give them support, defect resolution/warranties, upgradeability, indemnity and production support tools.
Phipps said that some of the worrying aspects still present in the open source arena included the difference between FOSS licences and other licences (one is a contract between two parties while an open source licence is best described as "a constitution for a community"), and software patents (broken).
The third wave was all about freedom, he said.
Concluding, Phipps, who gave his presentation using a MacBook, held up the shiny piece of hardware and flashed a slide on the screen which said: "The greatest enemy of freedom is a happy slave," an apt illustration of the position he is in.
He held up his netbook and requested any member of the audience who could, to give him a hand in getting some free operating system working propely on it.