"I like the fireworks and explosions around a developers name when a commit lands in an open source project... then the explosions soon after when the other branches merge with trunk."
I got totally into visualizing commit histories during the holidays of the Festa of São João in the North East of Brazil
I chose a cool free software project I am involved with and watched it evolving organically over time.
Here is the code swarm for the Autotest project. Autotest is a test framework written in python which I have started using to do some testing on mobile devices.It starts off with just one or two developers 'mbligh' and 'apw' and over time the role of the central node is taken over by others notably 'showard', who wrote the Django frontend.
These patterns are also observed in other key open source projects like python and django where developers cluster around a central developer or team of developers whose quality attracts other developers and so the ball starts rolling . It also shows the qualities needed in a lead developer i.e the ability to love your creation so much that you can let it go.
The fireworks on the project are really starting to pick up as we reach the explosions of the last month. Its one project to watch, that is for sure. :)