Open Source Nurtures Innovation
With his usual rigour, Stephen O'Grady considers whether open source is innovative over on his blog. As ever, his view - that "innovation is a function of incentive, not the software development model" - is worth understanding and accepting, but I think there's more to consider here. While it provides no guarantees, I believe an open source environment potentially makes software innovation cheaper and easier.
As a proprietary developer, you are responsible for the eternal care of every line of code you add to your software. In the early days, you can be very productive, creating clean, fresh software that is compelling and doing so fast because you're in complete control of the process. But the code you create is your sole responsibility, and as it gets more and more substantial - and as you have more and more paying customers depending on it - the burden of sustaining it grows.