In this article it is reported by Apache head Greg Stein that there will be no Commercial software in the future.
Apparently, according to Stein, people will make money in the software industry by selling support, installation, configuration and maintenance.
Bollocks, I say. Does he truly believe that the literally millions of professional developers are going to work for free, and hope they can make a living out selling support?
It may be true in the future where companies may give away a base software package and charge for customisation and support, but it would more than likely be closed source. In this case why would you give away your source to a competitor, when all you are charging for is your time. They could undercut you, using your source.
The other thing that doesn't make sense to me as a developer with his model. I can see how you could make money customising an Open Source application for a client's needs. I for one wouldn't enjoy doing that. It's horrible working with other people's code, no matter how good it is.
Call me old fashioned and unenlightening, and this may come back to haunt me in the future, but I don't see a time in my professional life span where there will be no Commercial software houses.
I come from a small marketplace, which may be leading my thinking. You have to work bloody hard to get and keep clients. You do all you can to lock them into using your software. Making the source of that software freely available to all and sundry just wouldn't happen.
So, I think there will always be a place for commercial software.
However, I can see the value of using OSS and customising it for the customers needs. This would be the most likely way of making money - whether most developers would like to take someone elses code and build on it is the question.
I suspect most would not.