At the end of last year, Microsoft launched the Kinect, a motion tracking add-on for the Xbox 360 gaming platform. Adafruit Industries, an open source hobbyist hardware company, announced that they would be offering a bounty to whomever first released an open source driver for the Kinect. The bounty started at $1000, but each time Microsoft complained about it, they raised the bounty. After only a week, the bounty had increased to $3000 and was awarded to a man in Spain. Within a few weeks of that, and having seen all of the interesting things that people were doing with the Kinect (and the large volume of sales they were receiving because of it), Microsoft changed their story, saying that they had originally left the Kinect open for such 3rd party projects.
I followed the story pretty much from the beginning and it was pretty interesting to see how things progressed. However, a few days ago Johnny Lee, a former developer of the Kinect and author of the Procrastineering blog, announced that he had been pushing for Microsoft to release Kinect drivers, but that they were unwilling. As a result, he had sponsored Adafruit to organize the Open Kinect challenge. While it probably would have been in Microsoft’s best interests to release the driver themselves, keeping Kinect development largely done on their platform, the Open Kinect challenge made a cross platform driver available which ends up benefiting everyone.