Salesforce.com recenlt launched its AppExchange platform. This was also commented on by Nick in his Blog. I was however surprised to see him (and other industry watchers) so optimistic about it. Bacisally AppExchange will allow other companies to develop and deploy their open-source(?) Apps on the Salesforce.com proprietary platform. Its a Microsoft approach to software development (you have to use their platfrom), or as Henry Ford would have said if he were alive today (with due apologies to his Model T quote) : "You can run any app here as long as it is only designed for Salesforce.com platform".
Larry Ellison in his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld made a very interesting point - Linux is industrial strength today not because of some radioshack developers working the days and writing code for it in the nights, but because many corporations like IBM, Novell and Oracle have embraced it and extended their intellectual capital to make it enterprise ready. A poor cousin to Linux like Salesforce.com, who is already under pressure from other CRM vendors, and neither has the wherewithal nor the capabilityto match the features the other vendors (SAP, Oracle) are adding daily, has no option but to try leveraging the open source community and gather whatever remanants it can. I doubt they will get anything worthwhile other than the crumbs, with due respect to Nick's post. I personally pooh-pooh their idea and dont have any spare change for them.