> and also how the Linux kernel project works in practice.
I'm sorry, but I don't see that. The functionality of Linux is certainly going up, but I'm convinced that quality is going down (and that observation is from reading code).
You can only scale by delegation when the property delegated is transitive. However taste is not transitive and consistent taste is needed for high quality.
The linux development style tends to promote compromise rather than quality (Linus wont resolve your dispute, he'll just ignore both of you until you resolve it yourself). Compromise is certainly pragmatic and functional, but is unlikely to be elegant.
I'm not meaning to attack Linux here. It's success speaks for itself and I wouldn't try to change anything which would threaten that. But let's not pretend that quality - of the sort that come from a single guiding taste - has anything to do with it.