When it comes to softwares, a typical user thinks about Windows OS, MicroSoft Office as it is, by and large, the de-facto interface for the most people while computing.
However, such softwares' source code(that is the primary information to how these things work) is protected from the users due to proprietary copyrights and self-centered motives, thereby, effectively stopping all of us to give 'shape' to it in order to enhance it further. Basically, all proprietary stuff owned by big companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and so on is available only after paying them money in addition to being limited by the technical constraints of their products. So people, and developers, that use them are basically dancing to the companies' tunes.
I am not cribbing about these technologies. Sure, I really appreciate the way Windows has shaped up personal computing, Mac OS makes me drool, the list is quite huge. But it is really demeaning to observe that these cos. do a lot of unethical practices to promote their stuff. Interestingly, Microsoft always claim that their Windows is faster, safer, and so on, which is a big piece of lie, and people have seen it again and again with each release of their windows OS that it is not the case. Similarly, Mac has put an Iron Curtain around their Iphone Application development, limiting innovation and at the same time, squeezing out moolah from their customers, who have to pay exorbitant prices for using any application.
While it is initially skeptical from the perspective of a non-technical person to use a seemingly 'Free' technology due to its hacked-assembled manner as well as the complexity involved in its use, the landscape is fast changing. We are seeing user-friendly Linux distros like Ubuntu, increasingly useful applications for a variety of tasks and at the same time, increasing reliance, particularly amongst the biggies mentioned above, to cast on to the benefits of open sourced stuff.
To contribute in a open source software, I have repeatedly said, and would reiterate that you do not need to have a guru like knowledge in any computer field. Most of the FOSS projects also require skills like creativity in form of graphics, animation as well as in stuff like language translation.
Its a turning point for businesses and industries (we are coming out of the recession corner), and people are looking again for constant innovation. Be it LAMP in small businesses or open sourced SOA in big ones, FOSS is the way to go for the entire business community as it is the cost-effectiveness that has being noticed in an important way. Thus, for the time to come, FOSS would continue its meteoric rise in importance amongst all types of softwares.
Please note that the above views are my own and may not be solely constructed as truth without further consultation. So basically, don't come after me with a lawsuit based on what I've posted above.