I'm certainly sympathetic to those ideas, although I'm not quite ready to get into an argument about 'if this or that isn't opened, you can't say open source'. Open source comes in a lot of flavors, and I don't think every company should have to see the dichotomy as being either totally closed or being as open as a place like Sparkfun. I am definitely of the generation that feels opening source early and often can be easy and yield a lot of great things - you just make something and throw it out in the wild and see if it takes root and move on. But the older more experienced business people have a greater appreciation for the fact that, in a normal company, every software release creates added maintenance overhead, often significant overhead to do things right. Since resources are finite, they've been focused on making the QuNeo work well out of the box for the majority of people who are never going to hack or change their code, and then to hopefully go back and try to open things up once they're stable.
I'm not totally familiar with all of Monome's practices or if they've opened all of their controllers or not, but the 40h, which I do know, uses an atmel processor which has excellent free compilers, so releasing the code for that is vey easy. With gcc so ubiquitous and and with the free avr compilers being so good, one often forgets that in the rest of the chip world compilers are not always free, many of them are designed and maintained by companies who need to pay their developers. The compiler for the QuNeo firmware costs thousands of dollars which makes the firmware difficult to open up (unless we expect people to pirate the compiler which would be morally shady on our part, or unless somebody were to port the entire program over to a free compiler which might be too much to expect.) An argument could be made for it, maybe a handful of professional firmware programmers might run with it, it could be awesome, maybe...
Anyway, meanwhile the scripts for Ableton have been opened and are, I believe, frequently modified by users. Unfortunately the open source Max Dev Kit ,which cooks raw data from the Quneo, has received a very tepid response so far so it just seemed better for users and for the company for us to be working on other problems that users cared about.
That's why I really appreciate jrussell's post, because it makes a compelling argument that opening more code is a worthwhile use of resources and can generate consistent long term interest and development. I feel it in my gut that opening code is a good thing to do, but in a small company where focusing on the right problems every hour of the work day is crucial to staying afloat and moving forward, we each have to be able to make those compelling arguments for why the thing that we personally think is important is something the company should be doing right now. I think now is an ideal time to raise the possibility of opening up the editor code, I'm hoping to get it some traction.