A colleague recently made a statement to the effect:

“These developers are really interested in the future plans for WebSphere Application Server. Many of them have invested a significant portion of their career on WebSphere. They have invested time building skills with WebSphere.”

I’m wondering whether a developer who has built skills with OSS product A is more, less or equally invested in the product’s life than another developer who has built skills with a commercial enterprise product B.

On one hand, it’s simpler, faster and cheaper to get started with an OSS product versus a commercial enterprise product. The lower barriers to entry result in developers championing for a product with their manager/director/CIO. The alternative is having to use the ‘corporate standard’ with minimal input on the choice (usually).

On the other hand, do the lower barriers to entry for OSS products enable developers to more easily switch their OSS product choice?

On the other, other hand, do the lower barriers to entry simply get the developer in the OSS product door? Once there, they ‘invest time’ to build skills with that OSS product and are unwilling to give much love to alternative choices, OSS or otherwise? <my vote is on this option>