Occasionally people ask me what I think about Plasma Active appearing on various devices, knowing that we're working on a tablet ourselves. It's a really good question, and gets to one of the core tensions around open culture: the interplay between control and benefit.
The conventional wisdom is that to maximize benefit, control must also be maximized. Thus the historical emphasis on proprietary technology in the IT industry, something that has been slowly but surely shifting with time but certainly has not fully swung away from proprietary-is-better.
There are benefits to openness as well, however. It opens up avenues for collaboration which in turn has effects such as lower risk, shared costs, greater market confidence among other network effects.
It can appear easier at first blush to succeed with complete control, especially since that is what most of us are taught and exposed to as we grow up. Control is not without its merits: at the very least, it's certainly faster to make decisions when you don't have to work with others. This particular factor causes some to place a higher valuation on control that it deserves.
So what about Plasma, and in particular Plasma Active? In the case of Plasma Active, if we had tried to keep it to ourselves, to control development tightly, to control what people did with it, to deny other companies from participating .. it simply wouldn't exist. Even if it did manage to exist in some way, it would have nearly zero chance of long term success.
The lack of dictatorial control opens long term opportunities for us .. and for those who join us on the journey. Some things would certainly be easier with more control, but it would be an overall net loss as the diminished participation and interest could never be balanced out.
This (very abbreviated) argument is not how I personally arrived at the current balance of control and permissiveness, however. It's just how I defend the position in economic terms. For me, personally, it is ultimately a matter of human and social value.
One must ask themselves: would I be OK to die penniless and unknown if what I did made the world better? Would I rather be wealthy and well known (which is anything but a guarantee even with all the control one can imagine) and leave the world at best no better and at worst diminished in some way?
Obviously those aren't the only two choices we have in life; it's somewhere in between, but the questions are useful tools for thought. With my answer in hand, it then became a matter of figuring out how to not end up a starving and forgotten person while leaving the world around me a better place for whatever little I manage to do in this life. This motivated me to explore and understand the economic argument, which are certainly not my own but the distilled wisdom of people who have been thinking about these things much longer and deeper than I have.
Oh, and I think it's beyond awesome that Plasma Active runs on the Nexus 7 and that people are installing it and using it there. Which is why we support those efforts without question. :)