This InfoWorld article on open-source has the following statement from Brian Behlendorf:
One of the key insights of open source is that there are good reasons to attach people to code. Apache isn’t just a Web server, it’s a Web server with a community around it. To treat software like Legos, without thinking about the context and the community, is a losing proposition.
I heartily agree. I think some of the strongest points for many open-source projects are that they are so open – not just in the code – but in the development process, and in the interaction of the people involved. Through mailing lists, newsgroups, bug trackers, and now weblogs – you can really cut through the crap and see what a piece of software is really about.
And of course without people being involved in these projects, leveraging the work of other people, things wouldn’t be where they are today.
I’ll add my disclaimer here: I’m not against commercial software, heck, I even use commercial software,
but I hate to think of how dismal the software world would be without the contributions of open-source. If we
took all the open-source code out of Mac OS X or even out of Windows, well, things wouldn’t quite work
as well. (Mac OS X wouldn’t even exist!) Of course we wouldn’t even have the internet here to discuss this now, would we?