Mad Dog Hall said something a couple months back in conversation that really resonated with me (he's really, really good at that, btw ;). he said that too often in the Open Source world we let the competition set the agenda when it comes to public discussion about our respective technology. just look at Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign; it's really little more than a bunch of pretty sad, paid-for "benchmark and analysis" papers and a lot of agenda setting.
when it comes to innovation, i think this is very true. depending on which close source camp you look to, they keep wanting to bring innovation back to "original ideas" and "massive amounts of R&D spent" or even "our artists used $COLOUR first!". then they point at Free Software and say, "you don't have any of that. you're not innovative!"
that's called setting the agenda.
well i'm here to help take it back. Free Software is innovative. we're developing code out in the open: that's an innovative development strategy. we give away our results, sometimes with little provisos to ensure quid pro quo: this too is innovative. we bring technology to places that have never had it, or never had it in their language and budget range before: that too is innovative. we have projects like Enlightenment pushing the boundaries of graphic gaudyness. we have new ideas ermerging like .. Plasma.
see, there is no other mainstream desktop out there that fuses the desktop plane, the panels and The Third Layer with easy to make components. you can certainly point to places where we've seen aspects of that concept before. we could probably even find something just like it in academia somewhere. but the fusion of those ideas and bringing them into the mainstream is innovation. and i have this silly little hope that if we allow ourselves to accept that we can innovate and press forward blindly into the unknown spaces of "we haven't been there before" that we'll surprise even ourselves.
oh yeah, i've also managed to come up with a first draft of the Plasma website. the content is still being put in place, edited, refined, improved, etc... i'll probably do a formal launch next week. let me know what you think of the design (Pinheiro is a graphics deity =).