This sickness tends to be found most frequently in open source communities. Not every open source community; but it certainly has more of a tendency to appear in open source then in others. I've called it the jealous child syndrome because it tends to look a lot like a spoiled, selfish little child guarding its toys and refusing to share with others. I've written previously about the power of open source to encourage sharing and while in most communities this is the primary viewpoint shared...sometimes it is more difficult to practice what you preach.

What is the jealous child syndrome? I'm glad you asked. This is a behavior where individuals within an open source community proclaim the project is open to everyone and no one has a controlling voice; when in reality they wish to maintain complete control over the community and the direction of the project. Their personal views, opinions, and beliefs are projected onto the community and they wish to see the direction of the community always follow their lead. In essence, the jealous child wishes to share their toys while still holding closely onto them. I've seen it with my own kids. They are told to share the toy they have with another child and begrudgingly they offer it forth but refuse to let go. They have obeyed in the offering to share but they have never relinquished control.

When this behavior and these personalities exist in an open source community the entire community suffers. This is a limiting factor to growth. Though their lip service would try to say the community is lead by the community, the truth is the community is lead by their beliefs and opinions and anything contrary is quickly confronted and denounced. This behavior is unbecoming to open source. If you control the community say so. There is no fault in doing this. The problem lies in saying one thing and doing another. Regardless of the situation the key is to be open with the community.