After to listening to an interview with Doc Searls, Jay Cross expands on the analogy of open source software as the material for DIY’ers of information technology.
The DIY crowd just want to build things. The closest analogy is to the construction industry. They share a common language ("builds,""tools,""builders"). Linux is the DIYers’ lumber, a raw material for virtually any job. Neither software construction nor building houses locks you in to a particular supplier. The housebuilder doesn’t say, "We’re building this house on a Weyerhauser platform…."
The fact that Open Source code is free delegates decision-making lower in the organization. You don’t need a purchase order — or official approval — to use it.
As IT becomes ubiquitous, many of us just want to build things that will address our issues, and open source gives us the material to start with. No, open source is not perfect, but without it we couldn’t afford to test out many of our ideas. Open source lowers the barriers to innovation, because you have free building material, and only have to supply the labour.