"Much ado is made of applications, and in particular Free
and Open Source Software "chasing tail-lights," or limiting itself
to tracking the designs of others. This is all fine and dandy,
since at some point the chasing ends and a bit of leading happens.
As they say, "Even if you're on the right track, don't stop, or
you'll be run over."
"The other effect which kicks in and keeps things interesting is
that managing programmers is akin to herding cats (anyone who
doesn't understand the metaphor is invited to collect a dozen cats
and walk them for a kilometer without leashes). Programmers would
rather do "fun things" than boring old mainline stuff, which leads,
naturally, to interesting features."
"This can be seen in a plethora of smaller projects, and for
larger examples consider GIMP and the soon-to-be-Open StarOffice,
which in many ways is the office suite that Microsoft wished for,
even though in some details it is indeed still chasing tail-lights.
The desktop integration is coming along very well, and StarWriter
invariably produces cleaner and more standard HTML than Word ever
will. GIMP, meanwhile, has nearly completed its first lap around
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