How do you make a popular piece of desktop software even better? You open source it so that your users can become your co-developers.
In the case of the excellent Quicksilver - a Mac OS X application that lets you easily launch applications and more - you release the source code under an Apache license and invite the desktop world (i.e., everybody) to collaborate on shaping the product in the community's image.
While this sort of community development doesn't always materialize in many open-source projects, I'm convinced that Quicksilver will be different because it's an application that many developers already use and love and who therefore have an interest (and, presumably, an aptitude) in modifying.
Here's what users can expect from the open-source release in the short term:
Although the Google Code site for the project is a bit bare thus far, it does contain all the Quicksilver code, including the most recent version. Alcor suggested he would be cleaning up the code before the open-source release, so it should be pretty easy to dive in and figure out what's going on.
In terms of what Quicksilver users can expect from the transition, the answer is "probably not much," at least initially. Work is going to continue on the utility, but there may be a few more hands helping out to fix bugs. I also think we'll see better plug-ins down the road, since developers can now add any code they need directly to the application, as well as gain an understanding of how the app works.
This is very exciting. It's one thing to open source a product when it's on its way into oblivion, but quite another to do so when the product is at the top of its game as Quicksilver is. I just wonder if Apple might not decide to integrate some of its functionality into a Leopard update down the road...?
That would be cool. Kudos to the Blacktree team for this welcome addition to the Leopard family.