My friend Luis, who was smart before he started going to law school, has an interesting discussion of the expansion of the open source model:
There is no guarantee, but community practices evolve to make it statistically likely that help (or bug fixing, or whatever) will occur. The internet makes this possible- whereas in the past if you wanted free advice, you had to have a close friend with the right skills free time, you can now draw from a much broader pool of people. If that pool is large enough (and in software, it appears to be) then it is a statistical matter that one of them is likely to have both the right skills and the right amount of free time.
The question Luis poses: where else (the law?) has/will this also occur?