This recession will be great for free and open source because of the shortage of cash. Last recession saw the mainstream legitimisation of open source operating systems...because it was clear and away the most cost-effective choice. The saying I use is, "come for the price, stay for the quality". Perhaps this recession will legitimise many of the applications (CRM, finance, etc.) higher up the stack.I think he's made a good point, but the impact won't be quite as high as he - or I - would like. The fact remains that the most important factor in a choice of technology is confidence in the technology. Large software vendors will continue to court the people making the decisions, giving them misplaced confidence about proprietary software, disarming any financial concerns through spreading FUD about TCO.
That said, I'm still optimistic that the financial crisis will mean open source software is at least considered more frequently where it wasn't before. Like I said, I agree open source makes even more sense during these cash-strapped times - my argument is one of impact.
I'm in complete agreement with Nat about open source / cloud services though:
Open source services and cloud computing will benefit from the tight financial situation where conditions will favour opex and not capex. It wil be nigh impossible to borrow to buy hardware or a major software license. An open source software product is free to get through the door, and services around it are delivered from opex not capex. Similarly, cloud computing lets a company pay a little to use someone else's enormous capital investment.The comments are worth reading, too.