Fewer acknowledge Moore's Second Law, which is that development costs rise alongside this complexity.
Something like that exists in software, and this has made open source a vital ingredient in innovation.
Take Eclipse Europa, which is due out next Friday. By itself it won't be that innovative. But it provides a base on which companies like BEA and IBM Rational build their commercial tools.
As Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, described it just now:
Software is so complex that no one other than Microsoft can create its own stack. We have a platform companies can rely upon, allowing them to focus on innovation and differentiation on top of it.
Without open source the software economic model would be broken, because software is so complex. In software development 80% of the money goes into maintenance. By doing what Eclipse enables, you can save a lot of that cost.
Even when an open source project is not innovating, it's enabling innovation. In a world driven by Moore's Second Law, it's the main ingredient.
Without open source, software innovation stops.