The Motivation Factor (otherwise known as, how to make a living)
This piece only briefly touches what may become a very important issue for the whole free (libre) software movement:
The only obstacle for ex-commercial developers when it comes to developing Open Source software is the justification. The connection between code and money is no longer obvious. You give away the thing you have spent hours writing.
- Peter 'darkewolf' Crystal (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), "Developing with Open Source (http://www.freshmeat.net/news/2000/03/25/954046740.html)"
I know that this issue has been discussed ad infinitum in many arguments about open source, and I also know that there are a number of companies who are making money with open source related products. At the same time, you have to wonder that if (when?) the open source movement really catches on, why would anyone hire a software developer? Why develop software when someone is giving away the source to a perfectly usable product?
We may see a massive reorganization of how software is funded. More integration between the hardware, software, and support companies, similar to the business plans of RedHat (http://www.redhat.com/) and VA Linux (http://www.valinux.com/), seems to be an obvious direction. We may see an increase in contract programming, where a company is hired to add a new feature to their software, or maybe the SourceXchange (http://www.sourcexchange.com) style of bounty programming will be popular.
At the very least, commercial software companies as well as the open source community should keep a close eye on this situation. If the market really does begin to change how financial rewards for creating good software are distributed, anyone that is not ready for the new economy may miss out.