Old issue I realise, but does the central commercial “we let this guy get on with it and use what he produces” style of artwork development miss out on an essential part of open development, critiquing by the community.
Typically with Open development one central person will create some code/art/whatever, the community will evaluate this code/art/stuff and critique it, not only by submitting patches, fixes, updates and other things, but by openly discussing the development via mailing lists/IRC and such. When you centralise the development to a single person you miss out on this critiquing, and resulting you may end up with a bad project.
I realise the reason that the artwork for feisty (and maybe beyond) has been outsourced away from the community is because the ‘community’ could not come up with consistent development, with each person wanting to do things a different way. But in the end isn’t that what every project development is like? What I think was really lacking was a strong leader, Maybe Mr Shuttleworth should of invested in developing a strong artwork community with a strong leader instead of giving up.