There was a time when I thought open source software was unequivocally awesome (can’t help loving free software!), but have increasingly had second (and third) thoughts.
The open source model works when the developer(s) has a source of income other than the product. If you get paid to do other work, live off your parents, receive money from a foundation, or have a good Kickstarter presence, you can afford to give your product away and still eat. But if developing software is what you want to devote your best energy to, and you have no other means of support, the open source model has the potential to undermine what you do.
One of the problems with commercial software is that it tends to be prohibitively expensive. People are willing to shell out $30-50 for a video game, but not $400+ for a software application. I believe that at the right price point, the increased volume would more than make up the difference. RobotC at $79 does pretty well in this department, especially for a niche product.
I do realize that open source software has the potential to benefit many people, especially those in impoverished areas. However, if priced properly, software can be made accessible to the many who can afford it, while giving fair compensation to those who devote the best part of their lives to it. For those without funds, a grant or developer donation could provide a good number of licenses to the especially needy if the product costs only $30. I would be willing to pay on that order of magnitude for most products that I have use for, especially if it reduces glitchiness and the likelihood of bricking my hardware.
I mainly operate from the consumer side, but I’m also interested in hearing what developers (and potential developers) think. I’d like to know under what conditions/contexts you think commercial vs. open source are most beneficial rather than just an “all awesome” or “all awful” assessment.