FACTS: Matt adopted B2 and forked WordPress, Mark adopted Linux and forked Ubuntu.
EPIPHANY: The mainstream success of any open source software is directly proportionate to the passion of the people who adopt it.
MORE THOUGHTS: Building a decent product on GPL and distinguishing it from the competition is not enough. You still need people with heart to endorse it; people who are passionate and believe in its utility. Corporate backing, funding, partnerships and marketing definitely aid spreading a platform far and wide but a face that stands for everything in the product is priceless, a face that wouldn’t fail the community for minting money. WordPress and Ubuntu are my favorite examples.
Open source is not just a fad anymore and it’s more than just a cost benefit. In fact, we are embracing open source software more and more based on the merits of the software than its cost benefits. So when I see an open source project fail I wonder if people working on them had enough conviction.