Here's an interesting story on open source and the likely impact on industry. From the Economist:
The main loser (so far) as Linux advances is Sun Microsystems, one of the largest server vendors. Its Solaris software is generally deemed to be the most capable flavour of Unix, the family of powerful operating systems used in servers. But for many applications, Solaris is overkill, and Linux, a less capable flavour of Unix, is good enough. Many people who would once have bought expensive Sun boxes running Solaris are now running Linux on cheap, PC-like machines instead.
This has forced Sun to embrace the technology that threatens its existence. Last year, Sun launched its first Linux-based server. After several zigzags, it has now decided on its Linux strategy. As well as offering cheap boxes running Linux alongside its more powerful Solaris-based ones, Sun will include its server software with both Linux and Solaris, to make its Linux boxes more attractive and to allow users to "trade up" to Solaris. Even so, many in the industry believe that, thanks to Linux, Sun is doomed.
The clearest winner is IBM, closely followed by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell, each of which has done well selling Linux servers. IBM embraced Linux in 1999, and now offers it across its entire range, from lowly PCs to mighty mainframes. Linux has also boosted IBM's mainframe business, since a single mainframe can be set up to behave like dozens of small Linux servers. Firms with mainframes have thus been able to scrap entire rooms full of Unix servers, such as those made by Sun.
This is pretty much what I've been thinking for awhile now - Linux is a nice alternative to expensive Sun hardware, and is "good enough" for many situations. This is going to be the next big shock that runs through the IT industry, in my opinion - when Sun starts to crumble, the shockwaves will affect the server space (Solaris) and the developer space (Java). All the folks who are operating under the delusion that Java is "open" could be in for a few surprises...