Consider this scenario. A new product is announced. On balance, it seems like a result of competent engineering. It has some new ideas, some of them are even good. It has some design mistakes, too. In short, it's probably something worth using in some circumstances, yet nothing in any way groundbreaking or innovative, and hence in no way guaranteed nearly universal adoption.
Yet the creators do not despair. They chose a nice, catchy name, preferably short but high-tech sounding. A an aggressive marketing campaign commences, helped by enthusiasm of ill-informed third parties that trumpet a new, ground-breaking innovation in screaming headline on front pages of trade magazines. Soon, the new technology enters the mass conscience as a fundamental advance, a revolution that will bring huge benefits to everyone and everything --- even though it's really just some competent engineering, rehashing an idea that arose decades ago.
Sounds like something out of corporate world? Surely, as you were reading this, a name of a certain company out of Washington State, and a suite of technologies named after a TLD came to your mind. And surely, this doesn't happen in OSS world, right?
Well, if you though that, you were wrong. In fact, as I wrote the paragraphs above I had exactly OSS in mind. It is happening more and more every day. Let's name some names: D-BUS, various uses of SVG, to a smaller extent, HAL, and to a very limited extent, COMPOSITE1. People treat these solid projects as some sorts of great breakthroughs. Users demand developers to support these "groundbreaking" technologies --- without even being clear about benefits, if any. Journals publish articles that are quite frankly embarrassing in their lack of background knowledge. The only bright spot seems to be that the developers are generally limiting themselves to usual overenthusiasm about their work.
Come on, folks. No one invented RISC here. And there is no shame in that. Major breakthroughs like that are extraordinarily rare, and often require decades of hard work to fully refine. If there is one truly original refinement of a core idea in some project, that's more than enough (and probably a highly compelling reason to use something). None are necessary. In open source, we are generally engineers, not researchers. Doing a good job, and getting the little details right is what counts. But I think we also share with the ideals of scientific pursuit the belief in honesty and transparency. And giving one's work an appropriately modest stature is a part of that.
And to our users: you honor us by using our work. Please, also honor us by trusting our technical judgment. Don't ask us to use library X or technology Y. Tell us what you need. May be those things are the best way to it. May be they are not. But ultimately, it's up to the people who do the work to decide. And, please, stop treating things as breakthroughs and revolutions when they're not. The world will be better without the geek equivalent of screaming teenage girls seeing their idol.