Originally Posted by Tinkster
I don't know why exactly, but the word market in
the context of OpenSource products still makes
me cringe ... :}
Well, whether we like it or not, there is market even with OpenSource... however the scope is different than with proprietary... I for one do believe in mixed environment where open and closed source programs coexist in "harmony". The thing is that with OSS the user has the last word. There will still be markets. Either be it hardware or specialized software for a particular task that is of no interest for the "general public". OSS runs on hardware, and as such it [hardware] must be acquired. As of late there seems to be an agreement with software and hardware providers to perpetuate a cycle of software and hardware renewal, which is fine, but the problem is that there is no recycling of old hardware program. Or not that could be evident.
The fact that the userbase is expanding means there are marketing oportunities in Open Source, but there are challenges for anyone willing to compete in this area comercially: These users are more concious and aware than the "normal" users, and yet this userbase is expanding... Which means only smart products will attract these smart people. Take the immense success the iPod has been for Apple, not only for thier own users, but "foreign" too. Even on officially unsupported platforms like Linux and BSD, there are quite a bit of them who own an iPod... Which ultimately means business for Apple. The fact that there's market, doesn't necessarily imply there's going to be sales or that the users will simply buy anything thrown at them... I choose to believe that we, OSS users, are a smart market. And yes, there are business opportunities, if marketed correctly and fairly.