Lots of open ended questions here. I don't claim to have all the answers? Customers as a whole do have some of the answers.
So where do you stand with respect to the debate of what constitutes stepping on ones intellectual property? Who benefits from the open software and hardware contributed to the community by corporations, students, developers, etc? Would you be a happy customer if your broadband provider forced you to get ip telephony service with that ISP connection? How would you vote if your doctor insisted that you take that famous aspirin brand because she served on its parent company's board?
Isn't the internet about unleashing freedom worldwide? Do you think developing countries have really controlled and restricted access to the internet? Today you can connect to the internet via wire, wireless, satellite, etc. Do you think you can stop the continued worldwide proliferation of the internet?
Was there any turning back when President Ronald Regan gave a famous speech which said:
Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here
to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down
Does the software community have the forward momentum of 0 gravity space with a vacuum? The push has already happened. Are only imaginary objects in its way?
In the case of open source software will the majority (customers) or few minority (vendors) dictate long term? Customers are never bashful to tell us what they want and need. Do beer manufacturers force you to use only certain beer nuts with their beer? Does Apache, Eclispe, Netbeans, Debian, OpenSolaris, Ubuntu, RedHat, openSUSE, force you into a corner to use only one kind of beer nut? What if they did? What would your reaction be?
Electric utility companies in the U.S.A. offer their customers choices to select who is their source generator. Do you want coal fired or wind generated electricity? Do you want a fixed or variable KwH rate? You have options and can change the source generator even though you keep the same electric distributor. For me I have KeySpan Energy here in Massachusetts, U.S.A. In fact I have the option to participate in selling electricity back to them if I generate it via a means such as solar panels! What a concept. They even send me money when I buy a qualifying EnergyStar Appliance.
My son is boxer underwear, low riding jeans but keeps his hair cut short. When I was his age, I wore briefs, bell bottom jeans and long hair (1970s). Times have changed and will continue to keep changing.
What type of momentum do you think countries such as China, India and South America have with respect to the open software movement? Take China for example. If you have anything to do with technology in your line of business go there and visit. I have been there two times in the last 6 months and the rapid pace of change, development and m-o-m-e-n-t-u-m is incredible. You probably do not want to upset China the customer, as they are a rapidly expanding customer base. Take China Mobile. They have more subscribers today then well established phone providers based in the Western part of the world. This was not true a few years ago. The change is that rapid and more importantly it has mass.
As an engineer I had to take Physics I,II,III and IV. One formula you learn is F=ma. Force=mass\*acceleration. A speeding nerf ball has little mass and hence small force despite any acceleration. On the other hand an accelerating freight train has significant mass and is a force that is very difficult to stop by another moving object even if it is another freight train...