I once read Bill Gates complaining that Open Source rests on the commodity hardware substrate that he engineered. I don’t doubt that. Gates carefully saw to it that all his complements were commoditized, that the only strong profit center was the network hub created by his operating system.
In a curious twist of fate we now discover that industry of commoditized hardware producers has the habits of mind that will allow it to thrive as the software industry become increasingly commoditized. These habits are going to be extremely disruptive to a lot of the economy.
This story (archive.org)is a lovely example of how the social contract around the open source licenses is creating a huge increase in innovation and fucundity that older intelectual property schemes had managed to keep a lid on. Notice the key role played here by the GPL.
We certainly do live in interesting times.