Then give this presentation that Miguel linked to on the origins and evolution of GNOME a look. Its got a charmingly self-deprecating humor to it, but also is a solid historical look at some of the major decisions and contributors to the GNOME project.
Speaking of contributors, I was interested to read the following “Sun Microsystems soon stepped up to the plate” on Slide 43, which was preceded by a (presumably) unintentionally humorous quote from Havoc Pennington on Slide 42: “There seem to be a number of Sun people on the mailing lists that need people to give them tasks, or just need friendly guides around the GNOME universe. Feel free to help them out.” This is the same Sun, I guess, that hates open source 😉
Anyway, the deck is a great look at how open source projects can transcend the boundaries of nationality, corporate affiliation and otherwise – both for good and ill – to become a quasi-movement in and of themselves. Let me add my thanks to the GNOME team for providing my desktop for the past year or so, and I look forward to future releases (when’s 2.10 coming out of x86 in Gentoo, I wonder?).
One additional note, if there’s a demand for copies of the deck in a Powerpoint rather than OO.o format, let me know and I’ll see about getting one posted.