I wrote this in an e-mail to somebody today:
...competition between open source communities was the absolute core of RailsConf's fundraising effort. Chad Fowler introduced the idea by bringing up the fact that many people in other open source communities perceive people in the Rails community as kind of arrogant, because we all think Rails is so much better than everything else. He was saying, let's show everybody that we're not about being better than other people, we're about making the world a better place. It was very much about answering the question, what do we want the other open source communities to think that the Rails community is about? The reality is, all open source projects are about making the world a better place - they're all driven by volunteers doing work for free which benefits lots of other people - so in a sense a lot of competition between open source communities is already about who's doing the best volunteer work. It's kind of a strange way to look at it, but it's being able to see a new way to look at something that enables you to do something people haven't done before, which is why RailsConf was able to raise such a massive amount for charity. Friendly competition between open source communities was the driver of RailsConf's fundraising success.
Kind of didn't realize it until I wrote it.