Suppose you go the conventional closed-source route. If you do, then you put your firm at the mercy of a supplier monopoly—because by definition, there is only one place you can go for support, bug fixes, and enhancements. If the supplier doesn't perform, you will have no effective recourse because you are effectively locked in by your initial investment and training costs. Your supplier knows this. Under these circumstances, do you suppose the software will change to meet your needs and your business plan...or your supplier's needs and your supplier's business plan?I do think that he was overly optimistic about the marketplace providing "multiple service companies bidding" for our support business, but that is beginning to happen. And we're also starting to see the creation of the "captive support organization[s]" that he predicted as larger library systems begin to recognize that it is cheaper to build a new, or adapt an existing, open source ILS than it is to pay for even one year of a license and support contract with the larger proprietary ILSs.
Contrast this with the open-source choice. If you go that route, you have the source code, and no one can take it away from you. Instead of a supplier monopoly with a chokehold on your business, you now have multiple service companies bidding for your business—and you not only get to play them against each other, you have the option of building your own captive support organization if that looks less expensive than contracting out. The market works for you. (cite)
I can only wonder how long it will take the large ILS vendors to recognize that the only way they can compete is by opening up their systems and simplifying access to our data, which they are merely storing. Continuing to restrict access and block innovation will only drive more libraries to systems that let librarians, and their users, be creative.