Once upon a time there was pretty much one dominant way for open source projects to produce software. It was called the ‘itch to scratch’ model, as proposed by Eric Raymond in his book ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’.
I consider this model to be a cultural-method for producing software, in that not many formally learn this process, rather it propagates by participation and lessons learned are handed down from one person to the other either by witnessing events or discussing the pros and cons of how to make open source software. There are very few that book learn the process.
It was such a pervasive methodology that many have referred to it as ‘the open source way‘.
However, I think it is true to say that these days Open Source software (in the formal sense) has been produced in as many ways as there are to produce software. With that in mind, there do appear to be two dominant models now that have proven out over time…the first is the ‘Itch to scratch’ model where one or more developers (usually exclusively devs) have a problem and they work towards solving it with openly licensed code. The second I am not sure has a name, (it may do and I don’t know it) which I’ll call for now ‘enlightened self interest’. This second category is generally groups (any type of organisation) that work together to solve a shared need.
Just pinning this idea here for now…