[Warning: loose thoughts ahead!]
Microsoft's Eric Meijer gave a talk at Google yesterday, and afterwards I had lunch with him. One of his remarks was (I paraphrase) that Microsoft users want to be told what to do, while the Java community is more vocal or argumentative. (He didn't discuss the Python community but in my experience it falls in the latter category.)
Now, while lying sick in bed with a hacking cough, I am reading George Lakoff's "The Political Mind". This book tries to model the distinction between conservative and progressive politics on the differences between two different ideal family models: the strict father (from which most conservative moral virtues flow according to Lakoff), and the nurturing family, from which the progressive moral virtues derived.
The parallel with Microsoft users vs. Java users seems to be all too obvious: Microsoft as the strict father: If you are loyal you will be rewarded, but if you stray you will be punished; whereas in the Java (or Python) community benefits and moral goodness flow from helping each other (which includes sharing open source software, and, apparently, bikeshedding :-).
What about other companies and communities? I can't help thinking of Oracle as the ultimate strict-father company, which makes me worry about the Sun takeover. Are Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman strict fathers?