With North America apparently bleeding jobs along with much of the developed world, I wonder if there should be less focus on creating really cheap software and more focus on ensuring programmers, who provide the kind of value companies like Google are clearly getting, are compensated for that value.
In the end I dont think Free is just killing OSS, I think it is killing one of the primary incentives to create great software in the developed world. Free should be Free as in Freedom. Free as in Free Beer works for some things but applied globally it substantially appears to reduce the value of the people creating software.
Open Source advocates, executives, and people in general, often do whatever they can to avoid looking at things they disagree with. Whether it is ignoring indications that a politician they like isnt honest, or a product they advocate (Linux) isnt really for everyone, we as a race often put on blinders and avoid the bad news. When that is done in business you have the kind of problems that have plagued a number of big companies eventually including Google. When it happens to an initiative like Open Source the unintended consequences and collateral damage can be painful enough to drive the supporters out of the industry over time.
I dont argue it is nice to hear good news, and youll note Im actually not suggesting any change in buying behavior. Im just suggesting there are likely things you too dont want to hear that you need to listen to that probably go well beyond this subject. And there are always people who want to dictate what you can and cant hear. Keeping others from controlling your information sources and closing that information gap could do a great deal to prevent the kinds of problems Ive pointed out above.
My advice, as is generally the case, is simply to make your own choices based on information that is worthy of your trust and thus self assure your own success. That is as true of Open Source software as it is of any choice youre likely to make.