"If this hypothesis is supported by future research, a reinterpretation of the entire history of the free software movement will be necessary. For this analysis suggests a starkly different logic to open source development than is contained in most of the popular literature on the subject. In particular, it offers support for the hypothesis that early open source work thrived because its development took place in an immature and publicly-subsidized market.... Is free software truly free? It may be something for which developed countries have already paid: through early funding for academic research and development, and support for public research at times when the market for certain types of software was immature. It is hardly accidental that early "hacker" communities emerged at organizations with the resources and will to subsidize long-term development."
The Fading Altruism of Open Source Development