Sales revenues, service/consulting revenues, code contributions, downloads, user reported bugs, reading the financial documents of companies competing with open source are a few of the ways I can think of to objectively measure open source forces in the software industry. It's safe to say open source is a huge force in the industry. How did this come to be?
Obviously it's not easy to compete with the likes of IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft. And yet open source projects are doing so. They have been doing so for some time and some are even winning. What makes an open source project so successful?
Matt Assay had an excellent blog post summarizing a talk from John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla. Some of the key points that really jumped out at me include: