Yes, it’s all very interesting, and I appreciate your viewpoints, thanks for taking the time to explain some of these reasons as they all seem quite valid.
I for one am glad there was a differentiation between Antegros and Manjaro because the Antegros team had the thoughtfulness (and political/legal will) to put ZFS into the installer, which was helped by the legal judgment achieved with Canonical lawyers regarding combining ZFS with their main repository, which obviously laid the groundwork for some smart individuals deciding to take it one step further and put it in the installer (THANK YOU!). If I had not heard this on a Manjaro forum somewhere I would have never heard of Antergos, or decided to give it a try.
So the point that the underlying system is all very similar (such as the Gnome example), with the Arch team organically creating the OS over several years, and other teams making it more accessible, it’s all very beautiful in its own way.
Perhaps it is a little idealistic for me to think that there could be one answer for all people, or that the teams could work together in a more meaningful and thoughtful way to achieve market share, rather than engaging in political squabbles. It’s understandable that when people’s ideas diverge, their work can and should diverge, rather than getting mired in the decision making process.
Interestingly, I live near Seattle and I’ve worked at Microsoft as a banquet server and been present during some of their product development meetings. It seems very difficult for them to work through their decisions about what to do, as well - many products get left behind, a lot of work is put into divisions that go nowhere (e.g. Windows Phone), and some projects that seem to sustain their main core of end-users begin getting dwarfed by the shift of resources into more lucrative revenue drivers (e.g. OS development teams being shrunk while growing teams for cloud services like Azure, Office 365 and Educator).
If you’re on a Windows Phone team, it must be devastating for a team to work so hard for so long on something that never takes off, see their teams get eviscerated by layoffs, and the company just give up. For those who would like to provide a better OS, which arguably reaches a greater audience than cloud services, it must be difficult to see the company shift resources away from that which affects more people for niche user groups that pay more money. But I doubt these decisions come easily, especially when there is such a creative element to making these products - or even, somewhat altruistic element to trying to make things work for the greater good of the greatest number of people.
So I guess what I’m saying is it’s nice that without the profit incentive that the creative aspect of programming can be allowed to be the main driver of innovation. That’s neat that people can develop friendships by being on these development teams, too.