Free and open-source software
Open Source is becoming very prominent in the world of software and posing a serious challenge to commercial products. In this software development model, networks of people connected by the internet collaborate to evolve software and make it freely available to other people. Not only is the software available for anyone to use but the source-code used to create it also available to view and modify; this code is normally kept secret by software firms. Making source-code available means anyone can customize the software, improve it and spot flaws in it. Usually the improvements are made available too creating a positive feedback loop.
Many people make easy problem solving
If the software is useful to many people then there is a wide audience who are able to spot and report problems, and even fix them. People are motivated to contribute because the result of their work benefits everyone. Someone putting in effort on an open-source software project knows there are people of a similar mind-set putting in effort elsewhere that will be useful to them also. What goes around comes around. The fact that thousands of other people are able to make use of the software having put in no effort themselves at all or haven't paid any money simply isn't an issue - after all it costs nothing to replicate the software and the developers are only too happy that it is proving useful to a wider audience. It is maximizing it's utility.
Because of the mutual benefit open source encourages collaboration on an almost unheard of scale as well as promoting rapid evolution and stability (qualities not often associated). There are now high quality open source projects filling every major category of application and what is more, they are usually available at no cost.