James Governor of Redmonk (I might jeopardize our ranking in the next magic quadrant if I say that he's the best software analyst on the planet. D'oh!) reckons that Open Source Software is Social Media. I agree wholeheartedly - this is exactly what we're experiencing in OpenSSO. We would be building the next version of Sun Java System Access Manager (sorry - I have to appease the branding gods, and that string gets this blog entry listed on the Access Manager blogs page) regardless. OpenSSO is building a community (btw - we're up to 432 members now) around the product. Random folks get to use it for cool stuff, we can make that cool stuff available for others, system integrators get to see inside the product and do a better job for our mutual customers, and we get feedback from the community at the earliest possible opportunity - from the design docs or code itself. Not to mention contributions from the wider community - the building software bit. It's a win all round. Except for our competitors. Shame, that.
I'll leave it to James and the other analysts to figure out where Open Source makes sense and where it doesn't, but, I have to say, it's working for us!
UPDATE - bonus customer quote from a Software Engineer at Google: "I like the fact that I can look at your source and give it to my security guys and get the blessing. That's the main reason I'm looking at Sun's stuff and not some closed source vendor"