The culture's (and my own) understanding of large projects that don't follow a benevolent-dictator model is weak. Most such projects fail. A few become spectacularly successful and important (Perl, Apache, KDE). Nobody really understands where the difference lies. (There's a vague sense abroad that each such project is sui generis and stands or falls on the group dynamic of its particular members, but is this true or are there replicable strategies a group can follow?)
As a matter of observable fact, people who found successful projects gather more prestige than people who do arguably equal amounts of work debugging and assisting with successful projects. Is this a rational valuation of comparative effort, or is it a second-order effect of the unconscious territorial model we have adduced here?