I bought a G1 today and while going through the whole sales process with the t-mobile rep, she wouldn’t stop bringing up the fact that the software was all open source. I am sure she did not have a complete understanding of what it means for android to be open source, but it sure was great hearing non tech people rave about open source projects.
I believe that open source software is great in a situation where it is only a part of the package. Make the android platform open source and let developers from all around the world contribute to it, which will result in better code, less bugs/exploits, faster development time, great documentation, and a community with a solid understanding of the system. This won’t make money, in fact it may bleed money, but it will make an amazing platform with a ton of great applications, themes, and 3rd party addons. Those extra features are going to keep customers happy, entertained, enthusiastic about the product. Now customers will be willing to pay for the rest of the package, such a cell phone device, plan/minutes/data, and whatever other services and features can be cooked up by google… and all of those will make money.
As a programmer, I love using open source software for the reasons mentioned above. I wish there was more open source projects in the mainstream market place that everyday users knew about. Right now I think when people think of open source they think of dirty hippies wanting to give software away for free, which is so far from the truth (well, partly). Hopefully android will turn open source into a house hold name and really push the open source business model further along.
When you play like a monkey you are going to find yourself in a lot of trainwreck situations. It feels like this type of play has become part of my daily routine.