The whole open source ideology in the IT sector is a great reminder about the whole "Knowledge is Power" concept.
It started out big with the Linux kernel. Soon slowly big corporations embraced it.It did take time for Linux to be accepted by the mainstream consumer (I am typing this on WinXP though, however I did have an installation of Fedora Core 2 earlier).
Open Source doesn't just mean however making the code of a piece of software public.It could mean making 'anything' public. (Anything over here refers to the creative juice that has been used for product development.)
When the whole Mp3 revolution came around most people just thought of it as just another fad that would pass over .(Thanks to the Ipod now though it has become a way of life for most of us). If anyone would recall the mp3 file sharing service 'Napster' controversy with one the biggest bands, Metallica. It just goes to show another situation of open source in use. (i.e. Creativity vs Making Profit from it)
Personally I think that if it wasn't for open source it would only serve one purpose.(Make the rich, richer while keep the poor in the dark). For eg. How many kids in India in the 90's would actually go out n buy a Metallica Audio CD.(and I don't mean buying pirated stuff here)
Just another case of the big evil corporations having their monopolistic way.
"DON'T BE EVIL" is the idea on which one of the most successful corporations today(Google) has been built. (Keeping products free while earning from other corporations advertising on their products works well.) I mean if there was an ad on a cab which promoted a tobacco product, but if that cab was giving the ride for free, people would still take the cab as it remains a choice whether to accept the product or not.Google is based on the idea though of "Don't be evil" and NOT "Knowledge is Power". The difference lies in the fact that the usage of the product is free for the consumer but the creativity behind the product is not.(eg. The source code for Google Search will never be made available however consumers are free to USE the search engine as much as they want and in whichever way they want.)
The conflict seems never ending though for now with all parts of the corporate world taking sides with some compromises being slowly made by both parties. Google for now though has reached a rather innovative way out from this conflict.(Good for us.)