Just a quickie on a thought that struck me while responding to a friend's email - too many students are not aware of the quiet FOSS wave that is happening under the surface, particularly here in China. They are still focusing their learning efforts on Java, C# and Windows without a thought to picking up basic FOSS skills.
Yet if you pay attention, you can see the trend. From today's news, HP made $25 million in sales directly related to Debian GNU/Linux. This is just one Linux distribution mind you, and one with no commercial company or advertising budget behind it. Exoweb is slightly responsible for that as we (and our clients) bought more than EUR 15k of servers from them last year. :)
In our daily work integrating with third party providers, we are seeing more and more FOSS based products. Not all are fully FOSS based - many are WIMP (Windows, IIS, MySQL and PHP). This FOSS trend is especially noticeable from startup companies or companies with limited legacy infrastructure. We love this of course, since they are typically easier for us to integrate, host and maintain. Yes, we (or our clients) do pay a fair amount for these products so they are making a lot of money while being FOSS based.
My point? For anyone who really wants to be in the tech industry, FOSS skills, no matter how basic, will give you a valuable advantage. Otherwise you will be locking yourself out of a rapidly growing portion of the industry. Besides, as a craftsman, wouldn't you want to know every tool available? Otherwise how can you use the right tool for the job?