"Open source doesn't innovate -- so goes the old saw.
Proprietary software vendors, including Microsoft, would have you
believe the open source movement has produced nothing but knockoffs
of existing products and cast-off code that couldn't cut it in the
"But while many open source projects, such as OpenOffice.org, do
in fact represent well-established categories, to claim that open
source has contributed nothing new to the software landscape is a
gross exaggeration. For starters, much of the software in use on
the Web today -- from the Firefox and Chrome browsers to the Apache
Web Server to scripting languages such as Perl, Python, and Ruby --
began life as open source projects.
"The open source movement remains a font of innovation to this
day, and not just in the commercial sector. Numerous projects
founded by universities, loosely knit communities, and individuals
are exploring areas yet to be taken on by mainstream, proprietary
software products. Here are just seven examples of exciting new
ideas in software that you may be able to buy from proprietary
vendors someday, but that you can only get for free from the open
source community today."