One of the beautiful aspects of open source software development is that individual contributors are, generally speaking, under no obligation to contribute their work. People who find time on their hands, and an inspiration to do something great, write some code and share it with the world. End of story. Or at least, that’s the way I see it.
Disregarding whether the accusations are true or not, it pisses me off when somebody is criticized for giving something away, yet somehow not giving enough. What part of FREE don’t you understand? Somebody, in this case John Gruber, wrote something great, and gave it to you for free. It’s a technology you would not have access to without his generosity, and which you could not even obtain commercially, had he chosen to keep it private. A completely new, compelling solution which is available to you because one man had the community-serving idea that it should be open. Are you getting my drift?
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California. A city famous for its hippies, vagrants, and college students. (At some point in my youth I aspired to fit into each of these classes of people.) One day I was walking down the main downtown strip, Pacific Avenue, with a half-finished paper cup of coffee in my hands. A panhandler yelled out to me: “Can I have your coffee!?” Feeling generous and well-caffeinated, I surrendered my cup and strolled off. Moments later, the man shrieked after me: “There’s no whisky in this coffee!”
You can’t please everybody. In the open source community, and in the larger community that consumes open source goods, there will always be complainers. For some people, free simply isn’t good enough.
I believe that anybody who gives away the results of their hard labor for free should be praised. By no means should they be expected to contribute more than they already have, or to bend to the screeching whims of their consumers. If you don’t like all of what you’ve received, take what you do like, and modify it to make it perfect. Take the free cup of coffee, and add your own damned whisky.