Coffee, copper, coal, and oil, all are differentiated. There is light sweet crude, heavy crude, and others. Copper from different mines has different properties and quality. Coffee is highly variable. Yet all are commodities.
The base unit doesn't have to be exactly the same, it just has to be measurable in terms of value so that you can compare one against the other.
This assertion has been corroborated in recent debates I had with an ex-commodities broker who was very clear that the commodities he bought and sold were quite frequently differentiated and variable.
For those who care, that was Dr. James Mitchell, CEO of CloudOptions, who was previously Global Head of Commodities for Morgan Stanley. Blog postings here: http://www.cloudoptions.com/blog/
This article's argument is essentially that if OpenStack is the winner, then everyone else loses. This is not a zero sum game, so there can be multiple winners, but just as with Linux, it's likely that there will be a very small number of winners and those will mostly dominate and then there will be a very long tail.
Linux success (as you can see in my original slide deck) meant that UNIX and other early x86 UNIX derivatives (e.g. SCO UNIX, 386BSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD) essentially "lost". But Linux "winning" meant that we have a relatively standardized server operating system running globally, which actually increases competitiveness, allows for people to focus their learning and knowledge, and makes everyone's life better. The conclusion that is leapt to isn't really supported by any evidence. It's simply asserted.
I say this as a long time BSD guy. I wasn't happy that Linux won, but I am happy that we have a relatively standard server operating system.
To imagine that this will be any different with the cloud operating system wars is nonsensical. Clearly there will be one or two major winners and OpenStack is positioned to be the primary winner at the moment.