The philosophy of Richard Stallman is a good read on Open Source and the benefits it brings - http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html

If more people were like him the world would be a much better place, free exchange of information, people not motivated by money.

Unfortunately people are protective of their 'intellectual property' - which is meant to cover patents, copyright etc (which are completely different things). IMHO patents are not needed for software (the Internet, HTML, GNU/Linux are proof of that) - you can innovate without patents.

The fact that China/Korea/Japan are developing a Linux distribution are proof of that. The third world is now leaning heavily towards Open Source - they wish to keep control over software rather than depending on outside companies and sending money abroad rather than keeping it in the country.

Also Europe seems to lean more towards Open Source - just look at the Linux kernel. Many Open Source developers come from Europe and other non-US countries (because of the DMCA and the US Patent office issuing lots of software patents that cover obvious things - i.e. think Eolas)