The Economist writes:
The open-source process of creating things is quickly becoming a threatand an opportunityto businesses of all kinds. Though the term at first described a model of software development (where the underlying programming code is open to inspection, modification and redistribution), the approach has moved far beyond its origins. From legal research to biotechnology, open-business practices have emerged as a mainstream way for collaboration to happen online. New business models are being built around commercialising open-source wares, by bundling them in other products or services. Though these might not contain any software source code, the open-source label can now apply more broadly to all sorts of endeavour that amalgamate the contributions of private individuals to create something that, in effect, becomes freely available to all.
The biggest worry is that the great benefit of the open-source approach is also its great undoing. Its advantage is that anyone can contribute; the drawback is that sometimes just about anyone does. This leaves projects open to abuse, either by well-meaning dilettantes or intentional disrupters. Constant self-policing is required to ensure its quality.