At the November meeting of NovaJUG, Hugh Brien said he did not understand the fascination with Ruby, saying, “If a .Net guy came in we would all throw rocks, why are we excited about Ruby?”
Partly it’s the appeal of free beer. In my experience engineers are cheap. (You can always tell if you are at a meeting for engineers, the food is pizza at best, for marketing a hotel banquet room, and for PR elegant luncheon or swank cocktail party.) Engineers will cheerfully trade ease of implementation for price (a reason they must not have control over requirements).
But the appeal of Open Source goes beyond cost. It is accurate to talk about Open Source as a movement. Clearly programmers have the feeling of participating in something quite special.
I am still unclear on the difference between Open Source and Free. Some definitions:
Why “Free Software” is better than “Open Source”
Difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software"