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Open source : race or teamwork ?

This is not really a game dev question, but there's lotsof
open source developers here, so I thought I'd give this
a shot.

Recently I made a patch for some open source project;
I'm not gonna give out the name of it because my intent is
to ask a question, not write a hidden flame ;)  The patch
was a moderate work to write (few nights of figuring out
how the data flow worked, and then patch some).. in
advance I was assured that nobody was doing the same
or even considering it, so I took all the time in the world
to make sure that the patch was very stable; the initial
version had some troubles, so I didn't ship anything back
for CVSing, just kept patching, testing, polishing, even
asked some friends to help betatesting.  The surprise came
when I finally decided I'd release my patch to the authors,
and they said "thanks but no thanks, we did this in the
meantime" :)

That's actually the second time in a row I end up writing
for some project, with the final contribution being nada,
and not because of code quality.  Since time is scarce,
my question then is, is this how open source projects
generally work ?  Is it how they should work ?  Or was I
just in bad luck ?  Is this kindof "tnx but no tnx" accidents
(misunderstandings, basically), an unfortunate side effect
of all open source projects, or is this in your opinion not
really the right thing ?

I repeat I don't want to hit back on the original authors;
they're cool guys and I don't blame them.  But, I thought
that open source worked like every author interested
in contributing could ask for a piece of the pie, work on
improving it in all peace and quietness, and ship the
result back.  Speed of delivery is not important, stability
is : you wouldn't want your contribution to introduce
so much bugs that everybody else's work is nuked
or heavily delayed.  However, my experiences so far
suggest that OS development is more of a race : it's a
jungle, you can contribute if you want, but don't expect
anybody to wait for you to finish up; if someone else
thinks he can do it faster, he will, even if he knows in
advance how much time you already invested and/or
near to completion you are.

What do you people think ?  Do you prefer one of the
two ?  Is teamwork feasible ?  Or is racing just the
reality of it, and live with it or stay away ?

I'd like to know so I know if open source development is
still worth my time in the future.  Thanks..

not mad but slightly disappointed
-=<Short Controlled Bursts>=-