Founder and CTO
Spencer: As projects grow to compete with one another, it helps the de-facto leaders of the project to focus and be better and faster at delivering value to users. In Asterisk's case, there are forks of the software that lack alignment with the project. These other projects have not gained traction as a whole but have driven Digium to be better at delivering the promise of both community-driven software and commercial for-profit software. This helps reinforce our model's effectiveness. At the end of the day, there are few top-notch developers to go around, limiting the number of projects that can gain traction in any given market, so that's the biggest downside to the competition. The hardest part for me personally as it relates to competition is having built a company to support my open source project and having to compete against companies who use my own software to build businesses which are not only competitive to my own but take away from my ability to support the very projects they're using to build their businesses on. To some degree, this is a risk of open source, but it doesn't make it easier for me as a developer/entrepreneur.
Astor: I want to see more of it. Conflict is always tough on communities, but it also always drives better results in the long run. In this, conflict is akin to competition, which drives better performance, speaking from a capitalist's perspective. Most of the competition and dissent within open source communities happens around questions of what to build and how to build it, both of which are essential to spurring innovation. As for tensions between commercial and noncommerical approaches to open source, I think the aversion to business interests are fading. Serious developers are generally very interested in seeing their work become successful. And in this age, success means widespread use, which is very much tied to the need for the kinds of services, documentation, and support business interests can provide.
Open source programs manager
DiBona: No, I think that it is a shame that the open source development community fights so much, but ... if that's what it takes -- and I think it might be exactly what is needed -- to create great software, then so be it. It is funny, though, for all the talk about open source infighting, it is nothing compared to what is happening within some companies -- not Google, thankfully.