"Open source drives innovation by making yesterday's technology a commodity, forcing proprietary vendors to innovate in order to justify their paychecks. This got me thinking. Patents are short-term monopolies (20 years) designed to give inventors sufficient time in which to recoup their R&D costs and turn a profit. Open source turns the 20-year patent term into two years, if that. As a relentless, ever-growing competitor, open source keeps the proprietary world in check and on its toes to a degree that the industry has never before seen."