I've been getting news here and there about the parting thoughts of Microsoft's software chief, Ray Ozzie. He wrote a blog entry which appears to see the future as not wrapped up on a PC. I'm still chewing on this one.
My general view of Open Source is that it should take on the things that are so fundamental that they should belong to everyone, or things that are ignored because they can't be sufficiently monetized. (Obviously Open Source moves beyond that scope, and shall as long as there are technical enthusiasts who want to make things better for the sake of having them be better.) As devices like smart phones, and things we haven't even imagined yet, become a part of our daily lives, the landscape changes. Trying to hold onto the old paradigms (did I just use that word?) becomes unreasonable. Things keep moving forward.
Perhaps we really are entering a stage of computing where the hardware and the specific applications become less important than the integration and accessibility. I'd like to believe that Open Source can play a huge role in this by providing a sort of neutral space where everyone can play without having to "lose." Companies could roll their expertise and service into popular and effective projects. This doesn't mean that people won't pay for anything anymore. Many of us choose to pay for service or packaging or expertise in areas where we could probably do it ourselves. Technology will be no different.
I have no grand insights here. Like I said, I'm still chewing on this. It's very interesting, though. Very interesting.