Krzysztof Kowalczyk has an insightful takedown of the free lunch plea from Google's Adam Bosworth in regards to databases with dynamic schemas. In the process of taking down Bosworth, Kowalczyk seems to forget, though, that even when the bigcos are tagging along for the ride, most open source software is simply not done for them. It's done for small businesses. By small businesses.
Open source is the route that allows us to escape the hierarchies of old and form markets of coordination for mutually beneficial progress. It's bootstrapping a competitive alternative to having an army of 50,000 programmers kept on a campus. So even when the big guys are extracting a lot more value than they're adding, it's not a zero sum game.
While Kowalczyk bills Google with "we take it all, give nothing back" there's a big disconnect to concluding "open source doesn’t work as well as they tell you". Bosworth may whine that he isn't handed technology he needs for free, and from that perspective it may not work as well, but that was always the side story.
The primary line is that open source helps small businesses and individuals achieve bigger and better things that they could on their own or from buying proprietary systems. You know, like building Basecamp, sharing Rails, and reaping continued improvement to the both of them through a community of like-minded.
P.S.: I love the selective quoting skills of Dare Obasanjo that includes almost the full thing except for the paragraphs on how open source could "cut off the air supply" of Microsoft and leave him without a job.