Seeed Studio has provided a very open product, with published hardware schematics and a working firmware implementation published as open-source (MIT license). They host an open wiki* and set up resources on code.google.com. So what more do you want from them? To heavily develop further on the open-source firmware? I do not think they have the resources for that.
Ben did amazing improvements of the firmware and published it as free software under LGPL. Anyone else releasing firmware based on this must also release the modified source, so it is not like “everyone is doing a closed source from the open source”. Previously there were people making closed-source firmware based on the old 2.5 code, but compared to the free software Ben v3.0 I think they are all a joke. Of course Ben himself is free to do what he wants with his own work, so he can release closed-source versions as long as he comply with the original MIT license. After all he has done, I don’t see how anyone can complain about his voluntary work. You are free to work with the open-source version and you can use the closed-source firmware if you prefer.
Open source is not about telling others to do something, but to use the sources yourself. If you want community, it is about participating, not waiting for a company or anyone else to act. Open source projects often just happen, as long as there is an interest.
Except for Antonio’s work which was committed on svn I haven’t seen a single patch from anyone! Only numerous requests to Ben for releasing his latest work. But if we can not make anything useful with the current, open-source, well working firmware code, what more would we do if we had a little more recent version from Ben?
On the other hand, if we contribute code and features to the LGPL version, people will start using that (if the features and improvements are interesting enough) and in the end, maybe Ben will be tempted to contribute his work to it?
The source code is free, so it can not be taken away by Seeed, Ben nor me. I am hosting it on gitorious and have tried to make it clean and easy to work with for anyone (on any platform or compiler ). Anyone can clone my tree and host it themselves. But I am happy to receive patches and merge requests and maintain the “de facto” official code tree, if no one else does it better. So just keep coding…
BTW, with more people working on the code, I think it would be nice to have a development mailing list where people can post and review patches, because the forum is not suited for this kind of activity. But if there is no activity, no reason to set up the list yet.
*) I mean the “garden” wiki, where I built up this stuff http://garden.seeedstudio.com/index.php?title=DSO_Nano/Development