From the BBC
In many ways, I actually think the real idea of open source is for it to allow everybody to be “selfish”, not about trying to get everybody to contribute to some common good.In other words, I do not see open source as some big goody-goody “let’s all sing kumbaya around the campfire and make the world a better place”. No, open source only really works if everybody is contributing for their own selfish reasons.
Now, those selfish reasons by no means need to be about “financial reward”, though.
This is an important point about open source software.
I’ve contributed to a few open source projects and in every case, it was because of what might be described as “selfish reasons”. I had made either enhancements or bug fixes to software. I could have held onto those changes, but commercially, they would have had little value, so there was no benefit in me locking them away. There was also almost no cost in sharing them with the original author. Finally, pushing back those bug fixes meant that if accepted, I wouldn’t have to apply them to the code again. I could just download the latest version, run my tests and go.
If you look at a company like Intel or IBM, why do they contribute open source drivers for their hardware? Because they like Linux users, or because they want to sell more hardware?
And how did a company like Red Hat get to be worth $10bn when CentOS software is pretty much the same thing with the branding stripped out? Well, because people don’t so much buy Red Hat for the software, as for the support that you get when you buy it.